In this video, street preacher Jesse Morrell shares some life lessons from his 10 years of street preaching. Jesse is an expert in dealing with human beings (especially belligerent ones). Although the video is geared towards relations with the police, he highlights key attributes of human nature.
The prime theme of this video is that people respond to incentives. One such way is that people become instantly nicer when they know they are being recorded (skip to the 12:40 mark for this observation and 13:40 for a funny story). When people are recorded, they begin to think about how their actions might affect them in the future. They also will not try to lie at a later date about the events in question. In other words, they become more honest. Recordings inspire honesty.
A written debate is a written recording to which the same principle applies. It makes a lot of sense why some people refuse written debates. They are scarred of being recorded and not being able to respond to legitimate questions. A recording lasts forever. Recently I have been dealing with an arrogant Calvinist pastor who is scared to death of a written debate. This is because he knows that if his words are in writing, they can be examined and questioned. He knows I would call him out on the parts of the Bible he would just like to ignore. If there existed a conversation in which he was called out with specific criticisms, his inability to respond would not fare well for his image in the church. One indicator of his intellectual prowess is that his prime evidence for his Platonistic view of God is the “eyes of the Lord” being everywhere. Do the members of his church know that “eyes of the Lord” refer to angels elsewhere? The pastor knows, but I doubt the members of his church ever will. Why would he volunteer to record himself being called out?