The Debate Summit series exists as a forum designed to explain, test and defend various aspects of the Christian worldview by interacting with qualified representatives of non-Christian worldviews in moderated public debates. Our goal is to create and maintain an atmosphere of civility, mutual respect and the open exchange of ideas.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Word From Dr. Ed Buckner

I'm delighted that I'll be a part of "The Debate Summit" in March and I urge everyone--Christians, Atheists, and everyone else--to attend and to come prepared to learn and to be stimulated, to see things from a different perspective. Jay Lucas has noted on this site that he'd love to see me as "the first Christian President of American Atheists," and I'm flattered and honored at his goal. Mine, of course, is to develop Jay--clearly a good speaker and a fine guy--as "the first Atheist Senior Pastor of Grace Community Church." I fear our expectations may be mutually frustrated, but I hope your expectations are to learn, to think, to enjoy seeing and participating in a mutually respectful, good-natured exchange about matters that all of us think are profoundly important, deeply worth our time and contemplation.

And I hope that your expectations will fare far better than Jay's or mine are likely to.

And if anyone knows some good arguments I can use (or maybe some good dirt on Jay--what the hey, it couldn't hurt, right?), please e-mail come to our website, or post your wisdom on our blog-- (The No God Blog).

See everyone in March!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Meet Dr. Andy McIntosh

1st Class Hons. in Applied Mathematics , University of Wales (1973), PhD “Unsteady Premixed Laminar Flames” Cranfield (1981), DSc “Mathematical modelling of unsteady combustion processes within gases, fluids and solids”, University of Wales (1998).

Professor Andrew C. McIntosh DSc, FIMA, C.Math, FInstE, CEng FInstP, MIGEM, FRAeS holds a chair in Thermodynamics and Combustion Theory in the Energy and Resources Research Institute at the University of Leeds, where he lectures and researches in the field of Combustion and Explosions. His research has included investigations involving fluids (the interaction of pressure waves with flames) as well as solids. In the area of heterogeneous combustion he is interested in the safety of reactive substances, which can include traditional fuels such as coal, but also may include agrochemicals some of which are now being used widely to increase crop yields, but in bulk can have unusual ignition properties. At present he is investigating the ignition of explosives where a double combustion wave phenomenon is apparent. This work is in collaboration with Orica Ltd (ex ICI company based in Canada and Australia). He has over 150 publications in Journals and Conferences on these subjects.

In the last few years he has been involved in research in the area of biomimetics where the minute combustion chamber of the bombardier beetle is being studied. This has led to research first sponsored by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council followed by extensive funding from industry to apply the technology discovered to a number of aerospace and pharmaceutical uses. He is a trained mathematician and has worked in aerodynamics at Cranfield University and the Royal Aircraft Establishment (Bedford) before coming to Leeds where he gained a DSc in 1998 and a personal chair in 2000. He became a Fellow of the Institute of Physics in 2002 and in 2003 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

*Dr. McIntosh is Speaking in Personal Capacity at Debate Summit 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Meet Dr. Will Provine

Will Provine has been a professor at Cornell since 1969. His Graduate Fields include the homefield of EEB, History, Science and Technology Studies, Zoology, and Education, spanning three colleges. He earned a Ph.D. in the History of Science at the University of Chicago in 1970. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is the author of The Origins of Theoretical Population Genetics (1970) and Sewall Wright and Evolutionary Biology (1986), both published by The University of Chicago Press. He is currently writing a book on the implications of evolution and another book on random genetic drift in evolution. His huge library on evolution and genetics is being moved gradually to the Cornell Library.

In 1986, he began an evolution course for non-majors in biology and has taught that every year, along with a seminar course on the implications of evolution. Both courses have changed much over the years. He has lectured in many countries, including China, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Norway, France, England, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Canada, Ecuador, and widely over the USA. His greatest interests outside of academia include the rehabilitation of persons harmed by the myth of free will, rebuilding farm tractors and bulldozers, growing gardens (especially garlic), cooking, and country living.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Meet Dr. Dennis Sullivan

Dr. Dennis Sullivan is professor of biology at Cedarville University, Cedarville, Ohio, where he teaches human biology and bioethics. After undergraduate training in chemistry, Dr. Sullivan received his M.D. from Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. He then completed five years of training in general surgery, after which he served in the U.S. Army as a surgeon in the U.S. Army at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Dr. Sullivan and his family worked for twelve years as missionaries with Baptist Mid-Missions, first in the country of Haiti, West Indies, then in the Central African Republic. A major civil conflict in C.A.R. in 1996 forced a return to the United States. Dr. Sullivan then joined the biology faculty at Cedarville University, where he developed courses in human anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, developmental biology, and bioethics. He has been a full professor at Cedarville since 2003. In 2004, He completed his M.A. in bioethics from Trinity Graduate School. He now directs the university’s Center for Bioethics.

Dr. Sullivan is a diplomate of the American Board of Surgery and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He is a member of the American Medical Association, the Christian Medical Association, and the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity. He has authored numerous articles in Ethics and Medicine and other journals, especially in the area of human personhood.

He continues to travel, and has conducted two short-term medical mission trips to Africa, as well as two teaching tours of medical schools in the Republic of Vietnam. Dr. Sullivan volunteers at a local women’s center and is a frequent speaker on bioethics issues in churches, bioethics forums, universities, and medical schools.

Dr. Sullivan enjoys racquetball, biking, and woodworking. He and his wife Barbara live in Beavercreek, Ohio. They have three daughters.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Word From Jay Lucas


Why would a church host the Debate Summit and allow non-Christian beliefs to be explained and defended within the walls of the church building? That’s a fair question and it deserves an answer, and I hope my answer will encourage more churches to host similar events.

American culture (whatever that is) has changed dramatically in the last two centuries and certainly over the last several decades. Back in 1810 America resembled Jerusalem of the New Testament in this important regard: The vast majority of the population shared a common worldview which reflected a scriptural foundation. There were several varieties of beliefs when it came to secondary matters, but there was a general consensus of core beliefs.

Christianity began in Jerusalem with a controversial claim that Jesus of Nazareth was the eternal Son of God, that He was Israel’s Messiah, and that Jesus had been bodily resurrected three days after having been crucified. Many Jews in Jerusalem rejected these truth claims being made by the early Christians (who were fellow Jews). However, both sides shared a common belief in Jehovah and in the authority of the Scriptures (our Old Testament). In this sense we can say that America of 1810 was similar to the Jerusalem where Christianity was born.

The New Testament Book of Acts is a record of the spread of Christianity. What began in Jerusalem (Acts 2) where there existed a common worldview, eventually spread to parts of the Roman Empire where the biblical worldview existed as a very small minority or was completely unknown. A prime example of this was Paul’s visit to Athens which is recorded in Acts 17:15-34. Paul engaged the Athenians and sought to proclaim and explain Christianity to them. Paul’s beliefs sounded extremely foreign and strange to most Athenians. His beliefs struck them as being foolish. Paul had anticipated this, but he was still willing to engage the Athenian culture. He did not retreat from its non-Christian mindset, and he was not about to be assimilated into it. But he was willing to engage it. In many ways, American culture today resembles Athens of Paul’s day, just as America of 1810 resembled Jerusalem. The Debate Summit is intended to imitate Paul’s willingness to respectfully engage the Athenians by explaining and defending key aspects of the Christian worldview. We live in Athens, not Jerusalem.

But to use a church building and allow men with non-Christian beliefs to use it as a platform to promote those beliefs … doesn’t that violate something sacred? No. The true church is not a building, it is a community of believers. That which unites the community (a common faith in Jesus Christ) is sacred, but the building is simply a place where we gather. Besides, if what we believe is true (it is!), then there is nothing to fear in examining those beliefs.

Finally, a few words about my non-Christian friends Dr. Ed Buckner and Dr. Will Provine. I have thoroughly enjoyed exchanging dozens (hundreds?) of emails with them in recent months. The tone has been pleasant and mutually respectful. I know that during the Debate Summit they will not be pulling their punches, for they are passionate about what they believe and they intend to present the strongest case possible. Much of what they say will make Christians uncomfortable. But if what Ed and Will say is offensive to Christians, I don’t think it will be because they seek to offend. Besides, if Will and Ed listen carefully to what I say they will surely find some of it to be offensive. However, I think they know I have no desire to offend them. Offend them? I want to convert them! I think Ed Buckner would do a great job as the first Christian President of American Atheists! (Ed, you know I say that with a smile, right?).

As far as the other Christian debaters, my friends Andy McIntosh and Dennis Sullivan, they have been a delight to work with and I think they have enjoyed their interaction with Will Provine as much as I have enjoyed mine with both Will and Ed. But make no mistake: During the debates, the debaters will be there as opponents. Nevertheless, I believe the debates will be conducted honestly and with appropriate decorum.

I hope to see you there. -Jay Lucas

Meet Jay Lucas

Jay Lucas has served on the staff of Grace Community Church (Washington Court House, Ohio) since 1999. Prior to coming to Ohio he had the privilege of serving as the Pastor of Penn Yan Bible Church of Penn Yan, New York (1988 – 99). In 1983 Jay received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Bible from Baptist Bible College of Clarks Summit, PA. He also earned a Master of Arts Degree in History from the University of Scranton (1988). In addition, he has taken extensive graduate studies in theology at Baptist Bible Seminary (PA) and in history at State University of New York – Binghamton.

Jay served as an adjunct instructor in history at Baptist Bible College (1997-1998) and at Cedarville University of Cedarville, Ohio (2001- 2002). He is also a visiting lecturer in apologetics and church history at Cornerstone Seminary (Vallejo, CA). His book, Ask Them Why: How to Help Unbelievers Find the Truth, was published by Regular Baptist Press in 2007.

Jay is 48 years old and has been married to his best friend, Becky, since 1983. They have been blessed with six children (Sharayah, Courtney, Jonathan, Trinity, Rebekah and Kirsten) and a wonderful son-in-law (Christopher). Jay and Becky reside in New Holland, Ohio.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Meet Dr. Ed Buckner

Each week we will be introducing a debater who will be participating in this years Debate Summit. Today we would like to introduce Dr. Ed Buckner.

Ed Buckner has been President of American Atheists since September 2008.

He has been married since 1968 to Diane; their son, Michael E. Buckner, was born in 1970. Buckner earned a B.A. at Rice University in 1967, and a Ph.D. in 1983 at Georgia State University.

He has been a professor, a technical school administrator, and Executive Director of the Council for Secular Humanism (2001-2003). He and his wife have edited several books and published Oliver Halle's Taking the Harder Right (2006).

Ed wrote the concluding chapter of Kimberly Blaker's Fundamentals of Extremism (2003). He co-edited, with son, Quotations that Support the Separation of State and Church (second edition, 1995). The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief (Tom Flynn, ed., 2007) contained several of his entries. Also, he is the author or co-author of "Secular Schooling" in Parenting Beyond Belief, 2007, ed. by Dale McGowan, and, "This is a Free Country, Not A Christian Nation" (with Michael E. Buckner) in Everything You Know About God is Wrong, 2007, ed. by Russ Kick.

Buckner has debated and spoken across the US, often about the Treaty of Tripoli and "This Is a Free Country, Not a Christian Nation." His “No More Lies!" talk was featured at the Godless Americans March on Washington in 2002. He serves on several national advisory boards and committees.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Basic Info

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