As someone who purports to educate others about science, Dave Farina has strengths and weaknesses. With 2.48 million subscribers on YouTube, Mr. Farina of “Professor Dave Explains” has a style that many find gratifying. As Professor James Tour said in their debate on the origin of life, Professor Dave has “tremendous reading skills” — he can read from a script, on YouTube or in a debate, with fluency and confidence. What Farina apparently can’t do, as Tour also noted, is “speak chemistry” on his own, when challenged and not using a script as a crutch. It also seems he can’t write chemical formulas, relevant to abiogenesis, on a blackboard with ease. Weak professional training may have something to do with his reliance on mindless sneering and insults. That’s my take.
“Do Better Next Time, Dave”
Of those who enjoy Farina’s style of juvenile personal abuse, I guess that most are atheists — by which I mean no disrespect to thoughtful atheists or agnostics! So I was curious what atheists made of his performance against Dr. Tour. In the comments section below the debate on YouTube, we find:
Keith Williams: “I’m an atheist, however, Farina’s smug and snide attacks on Tour throughout this debate, disgusted me. I may disagree with Tour’s mission, however, no one can ignore his considerable contribution to science.”
Artha Peterson: “I wonder why an actual abiogenesist won’t debate him [meaning, Tour]? That’s a serious question. Someone who actually can do the chemistry, unlike Dave. That would be the way to silence Tour on that topic forever. And yes, I am an atheist and yes I believe in abiogenesis.”
Lars Cade: “I’m an atheist and am already quite aware of the many ways in which Tour ignores or misrepresents data in his futile attacks on abiogenesis research, but he did far better in this debate than Farina. He laid out his definitions and stuck to the data and the topic. Because this is a very technical field, that’s all he needed to ‘win’ the debate. Do better next time, Dave.”
CaseAgainstFaith1: “Hi. I’m an atheist and I attended in person. Now I have not the slightest clue about the relevance of many things brought up during the debate. Like I have no clue about the 2,5 vs 3,5. I can say that Dave’s constantly calling Dr. Tour a liar and also insulting the audience was not helpful. Dr. Tour’s screaming wasn’t helpful either. But if I had to pick a winner I am afraid I would give it to Dr. Tour.”
thatwmckid: “I’m an atheist and I actually agree with James Tour.”
Transitioning to Professor?
Atheists shouldn’t feel too bad, though. It’s no surprise that Farina was outgunned intellectually by Tour. As Casey Luskin points out, “Unlike Dr. Tour, Farina isn’t a real professor. I suppose in today’s manner of speaking, we could say that he identifies as one, while lacking a PhD, a faculty position, or as it seems now, anything like the needed chemistry expertise to explain how life arose.” That’s true. Perhaps he is in the process of transitioning to being a professor; you’d have to ask him.