John Lott Debating Evan DeFilippis of “Armed With Reason” in a surprisingly neutral field.
It’s a rough format since both people are heavily citing data, but because of the format can’t actually give live citations. Still I have to call this as a solid win for Lott as he on several occasions gets Devin to backpedal and admit that his initial claims were not true. Also very interesting that every rebuttal Dr. Lott gave really never got a defense from Devin.
Still this doesn’t stop him from claiming victory and calling Dr. Lott a liar on his blog, when even the date he presents doesn’t make the case he’s claiming. More moving of goal posts by the antis.
Still I’m impressed that it was such a balanced forum created by the moderator. I’m not surprised by the end-result.
I am surprised that Mr. DeFilippis agreed to this debate given my personal experience with him. Early this year I was contacted by him because I expressed an interest to debate him. He asked me what topic I’d like to debate. I responded that I was really open to debating a wide scope of topics on the issue and asked for him if he was interested in any particular topic. His response was this:
My co-author and I think three potential topics would be good, and you can choose: “Do guns make us safer?”, “Resolved: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” and, “Criminals don’t obey laws, so gun control won’t work”
I responded as follows:
Ok last and far from least, GREAT topics, and I think we have something to work with. I like your discussion topics but I think they’re not ideally framed. “Do Guns Make Us Safer?” is great, and maybe something to handle at a later date, as my approach to it would be almost exclusively statistical with little philosophy. Strikes me as a bit dry. “Guns Don’t Kill People”, is really a flawed topic. I mean guns are inert objects that are fueled by VERY stable chemical compounds. I think we both know that guns themselves don’t kill anybody. People kill people, and yes indeed they sometimes use guns. That one again might be a better topic if we want to do this again, but I wouldn’t accept it until you rephrased it to better match what your opening comment would be.
So that leaves “Criminals don’t obey laws, so gun control won’t work”. This is the one I’d like to focus on, still it doesn’t frame the debate at all. Any law can be ignored, and those who ignore laws is a criminal by definition. The only way I could play the gun rights side of that is to take the position of an Anarchist. I’m not an Anarchist, far from it. Might I suggest the the topic be moderately changed to “Criminals don’t obey laws, so FURTHER gun control won’t work” (emphasis only added for clarity) Feel free to refine and adapt that, but I think you get the feel for where I’m going. I feel that better fits the angle that both myself and larger groups like the NRA are debating. Also while there is a laundry list of current gun regulations I think should be either repealed or amended, this would limit the discussion to current laws being debated.
He agreed to that topic and we hashed out the format of opening comments with him going first, then a pair of rebuttals with me having the final word. I agreed to everything, and told him I was anxiously awaiting his opening statement, and started research on what studies I’d cite for mine.
And then I waited and waited. I did get an email saying he was writing several articles and would get to our debate. After a month of waiting I stopped contacting him. In the meantime I started reading their twitter feed and decided the honest debate we had agreed to was probably not in their interest.
In the end Dr. Lott is a vastly more qualified expert to debate him. I’m a scientist, but my understanding of various statistical models could have allowed him to sneak some dishonesty past me that Dr. Lott quickly picked off.
Still I must give him credit, he choose an unbiased forum to debate in, and went up against somebody who was vastly more experienced and qualified on the subject than he. The end results were as expected.