Over the course of the last few weeks, I have been preparing for an abortion debate at Marquette University. It was supposed to take place in the Alumni Memorial Union (Ballroom E) at 7pm on March 1, 2012. Now, it appears that I will be giving a speech on abortion instead of participating in a debate. Nonetheless, the speech is free and open to the public. Come join us, please.
Earlier this semester, Maggie Gervase, of the Marquette College Republicans, managed to get Professor of Theology Dan Maguire to agree to debate me. Later, she sent him this e-mail to confirm the format of the debate:
Hi Dr Maguire, I just want to touch bases and make sure we’re on the same page for the debate on March 1st. It’s coming up fast and we are very excited to be hosting the event! Your opponent will be Dr. Mike Adams from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. The debate will be a 20-20-10-10 format; each opponent will get twenty minutes to present their argument and ten minutes for a rebuttal followed by a question/answer wrap-up. Please let me know if you will need a room for preparation beforehand and I will see what I can do to get one adjacent to the ballrooms. Also let me know if you will be needing anything else! Thank you again for offering to do this, we really appreciate it and look forward to it!
We were all eager to hear back from Professor Maguire. I was especially eager to get his approval of the format. I wanted to get that out of the way so I could then request to speak first at the debate. That would allow professor Maguire to speak last. The order of presentation is important, by the way. It dictates which of two very different debate tactics I will use against any given opponent. Professor Maguire’s response was, therefore, important. When it arrived it was ultimately disappointing:
Maggie, I just looked up Dr. Mike Adams and found he is a psychology-criminology professor. I am a theologian presenting theological arguments. I would not try to debate Dr. Adams in psychology/criminology since it is not my field. Similarly he would not want to debate me in theology since he is not a theologians [sic] and could not argue a theological position with professional competence. We would be skew lines. So when you find a theologian who wants to debate me, as was done at Notre Dame, get back in touch. Dan Maguire.