1. Question Restatement:
Why should atheists [scientists] bother debating theists?
A False Presupposition:
"Atheists base their thinking on reason and logic." So, theists don't??? I am supposing that the original question is actually addressing
"Scientists debating with Theists".
2. Addressing Confirmation Biases:
2.1. A Source for Creativity, Inspiration, Abductive Reasoning:
Theism and Mysticism have incredibly expanded what we have thought possible / plausible, (this is abductive logic, not inductive nor deductive).
For example: We aren't living in the Dark Ages any more, and we know the plausibility of gods is certain - especially given: we are already creating artificial worlds, intelligences, toying with nano-technology, quantum mechanics, biological engineering, terra-forming, etc.
2.2. Evolving Definitions and Perceptions:
Deism, Atheism, and Mysticism, in their various forms, throughout history, are relative constructs, and have changed over time.
It is absolutely certain that our concepts of theism/mysticism will mature further.
Consider: Justin Martyr defended Christianity against accusations of atheism.
2.4. A Brief Note of some Standards of Validating Truth, and their vulnerabilities:
- Logic: That which is true, because it must be. (Vulnerable to Creative, Cleverer, Thinking.)
- Empirical Evidence: What is physically observable. (Vulnerable to full awareness of a Causal Domain.)
- Moral Veracity: What is equanimitable, (Limited by Entropy).
- Wisdom: What brings fulness of life - in the context of eternity, (Limited by lack of transcendent awareness.)
- etc., etc. - Tradition, et al.
Regardless of the "Validity" of standards of truth, or what their true vulnerabilities are ... scientists, throughout history, have shown general biases towards one standard - or another.
For example, a "Wisdom" Bias: True Justice always injects life, never death or toxicity. So, justice will be merciful to those who show mercy, and will judge those who condemn, according to their own condemnations. Mercy triumphs over condemnation, (c.f., Every narrative in Judeo-Christian texts). The validity of this bias is subject to its internal consistency, (logic), empiricism, (textual evidence), and Morality.
2.5. A Good Faith Effort to Address Confirmation Biases:
Yes, there are "Logic" and "Science" biases too. (The historical debate over the exact nature of mankind's evolution is a great example, the Scriptural account being one of the first examples of genetic engineering.)
Mankind, still in its infancy, cannot rationally assert which bias is more valid than others, let alone argue that each bias doesn't have some validity in their own right.
The Scientific method, at the very least, requires an assessment of rival hypotheses. Accordingly, it is often observed that when rival hypotheses are rejected - those hypotheses often evolve, and even the de-facto hypotheses mature too.
It is prima-facie apparent that each different confirmation bias has led to hypotheses that have challenged and refined other hypotheses under different biases.
This mechanic of intra-accountability between standards of truth has added, and still adds value, to the scientific method - is not too burdensome, and risks can be reasonably mitigated.
Regardless, this mechanic of intra-accountability can only be dismissed according to the same exact principles that other mechanics in scientific development could be dismissed.
Until that burden of proof is met - then it is not reasonable to dismiss the "dialectic" between "Theism" and "Science". (Whether that burden of proof has already been met, or how it could be met, is a great question, tbh.)