Quite expectedly, the Krauss vs Meyer debate got off to a poor start. Krauss has a few go-to moves during a debate and most of them were on full display in his opening remarks (one can hardly call them arguments). He opened with an ill-informed and misrepresentative attack on the Discovery Institute and on the person, character and honesty of Stephen Meyer himself.
During his diatribe, Krauss informed the audience that Meyer and his ideas are not worth debating and that Meyer himself is something of a dishonest marketing man for Intelligent Design. And what exactly is Krauss’ justification for this claim? Well, you see, several years ago, at a school board hearing in Ohio, Krauss, having failed to inform himself of the Discovery Institute’s long-standing position with relation to mandating the teaching of Intelligent Design in public schools assumed they would be in favor of such a thing. When he discovered from Meyer’s testimony that they were not advocating the introduction of ID into public schools, Krauss came to the only reasonable conclusion he could imagine: Steve Meyer and the Discovery Institute were lying about their position. After all, the only other alternative was that Krauss had failed to do his due diligence in trying to understand the position of one of his opponents. How unimaginable that would be. No, instead, his opponents were dishonest charlatans making a “brilliant advertising move”.
This is classic Krauss. If you denigrate, misrepresent and discredit your opponent in the eyes of your audience right up front then you don’t have to worry too much about answering their arguments later. You just make silly faces while they’re talking or offer a few snide remarks here and there and hope the audience believes that you know better than your opponent, and that they shouldn’t consider his arguments any more seriously than your mime routine suggests you’re considering them.
If there is any doubt that this was exactly Krauss’ intention, one need only listen to his explicit admission at the 5:30 mark, when he says, “I want to just tell you a bit about this, because Stephen will, I know, you know, come across as a interested scholar and I want to disabuse you of that right away.”  In other words, Krauss is telling the audience that no matter how scholarly Meyer’s arguments may come across during his presentation, they should simply assume that he is being dishonest.
This was an incredible display of intellectual dishonesty on Krauss’ part and is a sign of the weakness of his position, or at least of the weakness of his own ability to effectively advocate his position in debate through an honest exchange and competition of ideas. When you honestly believe you have the better case (and the ability to present that case), you don’t resort to an opening ad hominem salvo in the hopes of preemptively discrediting your opponent. Instead, you attack your opponent’s arguments with better arguments about the actual issues under discussion.
All that having been said, by using such an opening approach, Krauss created an interesting opportunity for us to peer into how these two men viewed the audience they were addressing. How so? Well, consider the fact that by opening with this sort of attack, Krauss forced Stephen into making a decision to either address the misrepresentations that had been levelled at him in order to clear his name before proceeding with his arguments for ID or to simply ignore Krauss and make his presentation. If Stephen chose to address Krauss’ inaccurate attack it would take up a significant portion of his speaking time and almost certainly prevent him from completing his presentation. On the other hand, if he just ignored the personal attack he would clearly risk having his entire presentation undermined in the eyes of the audience by Krauss’ false accusations, in which case having the time to finish his full presentation would be of little use. In order to choose the latter approach, one must have a high degree of confidence in the intellectual capacity of the audience and be willing to trust that they are capable of seeing through sleazy debate tactics and personal attacks in order to focus on the actual arguments and issues. And this was precisely what Meyer did. Instead of wasting time holding the hands of the audience members and guiding them through Krauss’ irrelevant false accusations he simply brushed the whole thing off with a joke and got down to the real issues, thereby showing a respect for the intellectual abilities of his listeners. Conversely, Krauss showed a significant amount of disrespect for the intelligence of the audience members by assuming that they could be persuaded to dismiss Meyer’s actual arguments simply by presenting them with an irrelevant and false attack against his person. In doing this, Krauss showed that he had no more respect for the crowd than he did for Meyer.
Throughout the debate, it became very clear which of these two men truly was behaving as “an interested scholar” and which was trying to make a “brilliant marketing move”. I’ll join Meyer in trusting the audience to discern which was which.
 Krauss may have meant “disinterested scholar”, but the key word here is “scholar”, because Krauss is trying to attack the idea of Meyer as a scholar, period, whether he means to say “disinterested scholar” or something like ‘scholar interested in the truth of the issues’