I've debated Matthew, a Jehovah's Witness (JW), on two occasions over the past year. I'd guess he's in his early twenties and has come by with a different female JW on both occasions. They canvas the neighborhood in a few teams of two.
Matthew was very pleasant to talk to and had an optimism about his religion that I could not shake. I got the impression from Matthew that he was genuinely curious that Rajvee and I do not believe in god and that we were so confident and ready with answers to defend our convictions.
Matthew pointed out that god's name is Jehovah and that through studying the bible he's come to believe in god and the bible. I explained to Matthew that I did not believe in god and that there is no evidence for god and that science provides a more plausible explanation of the origin of life. I let him know that I studied computer science and physics in university and I've done a lot of reading on evolution. Matthew asked how I explain life if I do not believe in god. I gave a brief explanation that science believes the universe started with a big bang which there is evidence for and that created the particles that eventually formed into atoms. I explained that after a few million years stars and galaxies formed and all the chemical elements (atoms) that are in the periodic table are the pieces that form all matter. Then I explained that 4 billion years ago the Earth formed around our Sun and after millions of years of atoms interacting to form molecules and molecules interacting to form complex molecules, that a molecule that could replicate was formed and that all life shares it's ancestry with a cell that formed 100 million years after the formation of Earth. I explained that evolution over almost 4 billion years has produced animals as refined as human beings.
Matthew then asked me how science can explain something as complex as the brain. I responded that we do not know everything about the brain but that brain research is an active field of study. I explained that we do know it's made up of trillions of neuron cells which act as a decentralized computer processor which produces a stream of thoughts and we experience 5 thoughts per second and the process of evolution has produced our brain which is the best in the animal kingdom. I said other animals have brains of varying degrees of complexity and that is evidence that our brain is decedent from a simpler brain, the brain of an ape.
Matthew had a curiosity about science but from the questions he was asking he clearly did not give scientists an authority above his religious teachings. He felt that humans were different from animals because of art and language. He believes human life began 6,000 years ago with Adam and Eve, although he believes that the Earth was around geologically as long as scientists claim but without human beings. I asked who Adam and Eve's children married to further the human species. Matthew informed me that it was a case of incest. I had never previously got a clear answer from anyone about that and have read different Christian interpretations at Skeptics Annotated Bible.
Matthew did not even bring up Jesus (I was surprised) his arguments focused mainly on the concept of God and he was prepared to defend the whole bible. None of my knowledge of the 4 canonical new testament gospels was of any use. If ever there was a question he could not answer he said he would research the answer.
On the second visit from Matthew we again debated (for a shorter time) and Matthew brought a text with him titled "Life How Did It Get Here? By evolution or by creation?" on the "binded" side of the book it says "Creation". It was published in 1985 and is clearly out of date, but it is an art work of propaganda. I may create a separate post to elaborate on the critical notes I've made throughout the pages of that book.
I did share a nugget of wisdom with Matthew from Richard Dawkins - The Selfish Gene (2nd Chapter, first paragraph):
In the beginning was simplicity. It is difficult enough explaining how even a simple universe began. I take it as agreed that it would be even harder to explain the sudden springing up, fully armed, of complex order-- life, or a being capable of creating life. Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection is satisfying because it shows us a way in which simplicity could change into complexity, how unordered atoms could group themselves into ever more complex patterns until they ended up manufacturing people. Darwin provides a solution, the only feasible one so far suggested, to the deep problem of our existence.