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PennyBright



Posts: 78
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2007,19:29   

How do you talk to your neighbors about the EvC debate?     Should we be talking to our neighbors?

The quick background -- My daughter's best friends mother is asking me lots of questions about our homeschooling set-up.      Creationism keeps coming up because they're fundie-religious types, and it's part of why they want to homeschool.   My family - we're not fundy religious types.

SO far I've been gently saying things like "Well,  I really can't help you there - I disagree with your point of view."  and  " Here is (insert good resource name here - talk.origins, etc) - they have a lot of good information about what you're asking about."

Is there anything more I can do  when this comes up?   How do other folks handle the topic when it arises in day to day life?

--------------
Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affectation, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood. - Shakespeare (reputedly)

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2007,19:49   

Let me say upfront that I Do Not advocate doing what I do. It just happens to be what I do in those situations.

I refuse to argue with creationists in real life. I have virtually nothing to gain. I like tutoring and have tutored many subjects, and enjoy it. But essential to the tutoring relationship is that the student must want to learn. Creationists want to believe something which is untrue, and that makes them incredibly resistent to learning, so I don't bother. When I encounter a creationist I generally don't engage them at all. Once in a while I will simply try to think up a comment which conveys that creationism is not merely wrong but an embarrassment. After that comment, I won't say anything more on the subject no matter how much they try to argue.

On the internet, I will pose the occasional question to them, but I still generally don't argue.

As for why I don't do this, it's because years ago (coming up on 5 years now)  I used to have a very negative and unpleasant outlook. Eventually I realized I was keeping myself in that attitude by focusing on unpleasant things all the time and letting my anger get out of control etc. So I learned to focus on things I enjoyed. For instance, instead of having angry 3 hour shouting matches with some dumb YEC, which would leave me angry for days, I just glance through their comments looking for novel stupidities which will leave me momentarily entertained. My mental health is much better now as a result.

   
PennyBright



Posts: 78
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2007,20:05   

I hear you on the "avoid arguing" front --  I quit following PT after Dover for pretty much exactly that reason.

I have been thinking that a position of "I'm sorry,  I really can't help you with that - try these sources."   is probably the best to take.   My hope is that she'll eventually realize I'm really not going to enable her, and she'll quit asking me.

My main concern is manage this without offending her - I like her and her husband well enough, and our kids are friends.

--------------
Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affectation, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood. - Shakespeare (reputedly)

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2007,20:13   

There's no point in your engaging them.  You won't change their minds, and if you try, you almost certainly will lose them as friends, which it sounds like you don't want to do.

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2007,20:16   

With many people, it's really hard to disagree with them on religious and political matters and not have the emotions go out of control. If I wanted to be friends with a creationist neighbor I'd just never ever talk with them about creationism.

But again, that's just me. I can't say I'm very good at giving advice. I tend to be wrong about a lot of stuff.

   
Doc Bill



Posts: 1039
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2007,20:29   

Creationism rarely comes up in conversation, so it's not a problem for me.  If a friend or a colleague wants to make an asinine statement it's no big deal.  I am not the Teacher to send them to the corner.

On the Internet, however, it's different.  I have no respect for any creationist.  Not a single one.  In my experience they are all liars and I cut them them no quarter.  Satire is my weapon of choice and I don't hesitate to use it.  I don't debate creationists;  there's no point.  It's a hobby to poke fun at them.

The one exception that comes to mind, however, and this even I find amazing is David Heddle.  I disagree with him on many points and he drives me crazy but he, too, has been burned by the ID crowd but David's never been dishonest in my experience.  If he flies me to Hawaii I'll buy him a beer.

Heaven help the creationists or the DI if they come to Texas.  I will be on the front line and already contribute to the Texas Freedom Network and the NCSE.  Textbook selection comes up in a year or so and I'll be there watching, contributing and defending.

  
PennyBright



Posts: 78
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2007,20:44   

Steve, Lenny, Bill - thanks for your input.  It sounds pretty much in line with what I was thinking.    In this specific situation it's probably going to best all around to just get the subject off the table....

Though I will keep providing good references to things when she specifically asks about them -- you might not be able to lead the horse to water or make it drink,  but I think I can at least make sure the water is available.

--------------
Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affectation, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood. - Shakespeare (reputedly)

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2007,20:56   

You might just buy her a good used college biology textbook. I've offerered to do that for creationists before, because they seldom know anything about biology.

I had a creationist from Answers in Genesis pestering me, trying to get my address so he could send me a complementary copy of Icons of Evolution. Eventually I asked him for his address so I could send him a copy of The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, and I never heard from him again.

   
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2007,02:22   

I'll tell you what: Get drunk and help them with a potentially hazardous task. Shuts em right up. No more nothin.

Don't argue though. What's the point? Ridicule if you need to but don't engage with a live human on religion. Bad karma in that.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Jim_Wynne



Posts: 1191
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2007,09:52   

I agree with the consensus here that direct engagement is probably futile, but if there's a group involved, sometimes there will be collateral influence.  Here in the Series of Tubes, for every person who posts in a place like this there might be hundreds of lurkers, and many of those people can be influenced.  The same applies to face-to-face conversations; if there is a group of people, most of whom are just listening, there could be some influence even if the person you're speaking to directly is impervious to reason.

I have a born-again sister-in-law, and I had a brief conversation on the subject of evolution with her a while back, but it ended, predictably, in her saying, "Well, we look at the same evidence, but just interpret it differently." I was content to let it go at that in the interest of family harmony, and the subject was never brought up again, and we've lived happily ever after.

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Evolution is not about laws but about randomness on happanchance.--Robert Byers, at PT

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2007,14:38   

Quote (Jim_Wynne @ May 27 2007,09:52)
I agree with the consensus here that direct engagement is probably futile, but if there's a group involved, sometimes there will be collateral influence.  Here in the Series of Tubes, for every person who posts in a place like this there might be hundreds of lurkers, and many of those people can be influenced.  The same applies to face-to-face conversations; if there is a group of people, most of whom are just listening, there could be some influence even if the person you're speaking to directly is impervious to reason.

I have a born-again sister-in-law, and I had a brief conversation on the subject of evolution with her a while back, but it ended, predictably, in her saying, "Well, we look at the same evidence, but just interpret it differently." I was content to let it go at that in the interest of family harmony, and the subject was never brought up again, and we've lived happily ever after.

I have two born again sibs, who have born again spouses (as well as two once-born sibs, and their once-born better valves). We've learned not to go there.  Just not worth it.  

Maybe this will be interesting to some: a conversation by email I had with my born-again brother eight years ago.  It began with his reference to a an article referencing "Darwin's Black Box." I hope you can feel the restraint imposed by the fact that we both share the larger goal of maintaining a relationship. That restrain is usually absent in intertube contests with anonymous others.  Sib is identified as “Brother John,” not his real name.

Brother John:
 
Quote
Here's an article I stumbled across I'd like you to read. You'll like the  references to Carl Sagan's "Contact". I read the other book he  references, "Darwin's Black Box", a couple of years ago (as well as "The  Blind Watchmaker", as you know). The article's author makes a better  argument then I could ever hope to. To me "irreducible complexity" is the most compelling argument for the design of life that one can find. As I quipped to you and Marcia not too long ago, completely out of context I  think, "It's in the details". What I was really saying was, "He's in the  details." The mechanisms of Microbiology to be exact.

Reciprocating Bill:
 
Quote
Hi John,

Thanks for the article - very interesting.  I had only recently heard of Behe's book, which I gather has caused a considerable stir, in part owing to his sound credentials in biochemistry and the tight reasoning of his book.  One of my favorite writers in the field is the philosopher Daniel Dennett (author of "Darwin's Dangerous Idea"), who described Behe's thesis as "unignorable."

The reply of the biological community to Behe's argument regarding irreducible complexity goes as follows:  

"Irreducible complexity" as Behe describes it is real.  In fact, one need not go to the intracellular/biochemical level to find it; the human heart is another example.  The heart consists of a pump and valves - remove either and you're toast.  And there is no way you can evolve a heart by starting with a pump, then adding valves, or starting with valves and adding a pump.  He is also correct in saying that you can't build a complex biochemical machine of irreducible complexity piece by piece by simply adding parts, regardless how small the steps.  Like his mousetrap, or the heart, the intermediate stages will not function.  He is right about all of that.

Natural selection can, nevertheless, build objects that appear to display irreducible complexity.  One pathway looks something like this:  

A biochemical adaptation may have Part A, which serves a function (perhaps not very well).  Eventually Part B (say, an enzyme) is added, enhancing the efficiency of Part A.  At this stage, Part B may be removed, after which Part A will continue to function, just less efficiently (so far, this complexity is not "irreducible" in Behe's sense.)

Some time later, however, *Part A* changes in a way that renders Part B *essential*.  The Part A/Part B assembly is now an irreducibly complex unit that evolved naturally.  And, indeed, it is true that you cannot remove Part B and get anything that functions (because A has now changed to depend on B), and that there is no way that the assembly of Parts A and B could have evolved simply by adding Part B.

Further parts may be folded into the assembly the same way.  Part C evolves, enabling the Part A/B assembly to perform more efficiently.  C can be removed with some loss of efficiency - so far, the addition of C did not add further irreducible complexity.  Later, however, the unit A/B changes in a way that renders C essential (a change that may well have been made possible owing to the presence of C).  And so forth.  

What Behe's mousetrap analogy misses is the fact that natural selection does not simply add new parts in small steps - rather, it constantly, everywhere and always scrutinizes the parts *already in place* and favors improvements.  Hence parts already in place may change - rendering newer parts essential, resulting in interdependent assemblies of irreducible complexity.  Retracing the historical steps of the process does not involve the removal of parts: in essence, one must *first* undo the change in A that rendered B essential, *then* remove B.  Practically speaking, however, it is often impossible to determine which changes were the most recent.  

Thats how the reply goes, FWIW.    

By the way, no one denies the awesome, breathtaking complexity of intracellular functioning, a great deal of which remains to be understood.  In fact, the evolution of the modern cell was a process that required thirty million centuries - far longer than the period required to go from single celled creatures to human beings.  The standard interpretation of that fact is that it is much more difficult to evolve a cell than a human being (once you have that cell.)  

I agree that it is often difficult to believe that such complexity could have arisen in an unguided fashion.  But that disbelief underestimates the sheer power of selectionist causation, the discovery of which is probably the most significant human intellectual attainment of recent centuries.  It is *not* a random process - simply an unguided one.  

The best treatment of this topic is Daniel Dennett's book, "Darwin's Dangerous Idea."

(Sorry to be so predictable.)

Brother John:
 
Quote
Sorry, but I just don't have enough faith to believe the ABC-type  explanations.  

Predictably yours,  

John

Reciprocating Bill:
 
Quote
Well, your reply seems intense and a wee bit sarcastic, and I guess I've sort of lost my stomach for debate that I know from the outset is unlikely to get the participants anything but hard feelings.

I've attached a lengthy (and often sympathetic) review of Behe's book for another perspective.

Brother John:
 
Quote
Thanks,

I spent several hours yesterday reading various articles and responses to those aritcles re' Behe's book, including those at the Boston Review's site, and have saved many of them in a folder for future reference. I also don't have much stomach for the debate between ourselves, which is why I didn't mention the book 2 years ago. I'll let those who really know the field continue the debate, and maybe occasionally listen in.

Reciprocating Bill:
 
Quote
One thing that has surprised me about all this is Behe's apparent endorsement of many conventional facets of evolution: he apparently embraces an earth that is billions of years old, accepts the evolutionary significance of the fossil record, acknowledges the efficacy of natural selection in at least some spheres, acknowledges the common ancestry of species (hence descent with modification), etc.

Do you share these views?  If not, where and how do you draw the line *within* his argument?  

One of several passages I encountered:  “Perhaps the single most stunning thing about Darwin's Black Box, Michael  Behe's "biochemical challenge to evolution," is the amount of territory  that its author concedes to Darwinism. As tempted as they might be to pick  up this book in their own defense, "scientific creationists" should think  twice about enlisting an ally who has concluded that the earth is several  billion years old, that evolutionary biology has had "much success in  accounting for the patterns of life we see around us" (p.4), that evolution  accounts for the appearance of new organisms including  antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and who is convinced that all organisms  share a "common ancestor." In plain language, this means that Michael Behe  and I share an evolutionary view of the natural history of the earth and  the meaning of the fossil record; namely, that present-day organisms have  been produced by a process of descent with modification from their ancient  ancestors. Behe is clear, firm, and consistent on this point. For example,  when he and I engaged in debate at the 1995 meeting of the American  Scientific Affiliation, I argued that the 100% match of DNA sequences in  the pseudogene region of beta-globin was proof that humans and gorillas  shared a recent common ancestor. To my surprise, Behe said that he shared  that view and had no problem with the notion of common ancestry.  Creationists who believe that Behe is on their side should proceed with  caution: he states very clearly that evolution can produce new species and  that human beings are one of those species.”

(http://www.korrnet.org/reality/miller_review.html)

Brother John:
 
Quote
Hi Bill,

I agree more with the views of  Christian Astronomer Hugh Ross. (http://www.reasons.org/aboutRTB/staff/ross.html -for his C.V.)

I have read 4 of his 5 books. 3 of those discuss the universe and evidence for its creation (& design). In "The Fingerprint Of God" and "Creation And Time" he also discusses his views about the Earth's age (he's an old earth creationist, and rather unpopular among young earth creationists), and the creation of life. Basically, he finds the scientific evidence, and Scripture, consistent with creation of life occurring over millions of years in 6 stages (or, billions of years if you start from the Big Bang), by God, and not by (macro) evolution. He runs a web site that explores all of these issues, and more at:

http://www.reasons.org/resources/books/index.html

John

(This is as far is it went.  Best to leave well enough alone.)

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2007,15:31   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ May 27 2007,14:38)
I agree more with the views of  Christian Astronomer Hugh Ross. (http://www.reasons.org/aboutRTB/staff/ross.html -for his C.V.)

I have read 4 of his 5 books.

Ask of he's read THIS one:

Ross's recent book (co-authored with two other fundie kooks) is
entitled "Lights In the Sky and Little Green Men: A Rational
Christian Look at UFO's and Extraterrestrials" (NavPress, Colorado
Springs CO, 2002).

Over several chapters, Ross dismisses, on scientific and Biblical
grounds, the existence of any life other than terrestrial. But, he
declares, there are so many reliable UFO reports that they can't all
be mistakes or hoaxes (he calls the remaining reliable reports
(Residual UFO's"). His "rational Christian" conclusion is something
he calls the "trans-dimensional hypothesis"---flying sacuers are
actually entities that come from "beyond out space and time
dimensions" and which, although real entities, are not physical
beings. OK, so what ARE the flying saucers, then? Hear the
gospel according to Ross: "It can now be determined who is
behind the RUFO experiences. Only one kind of being favors the
dead of night and lonely roads. Only one is real but nonphysical,
animate, powerful, deceptive, ubiquitous throughout human history,
culture, and geography, and bent on wreaking psychological and
physical harm. Only one entity selectively approaches those
humans involved in cultic, occultic or New Age activities. It seems
apparent that residual UFO's, in one or more ways, must be
associated with the activities of demons." (pages 122-123).

Want to see how Ross's "UFO's come from the Devil" hypothesis
can be scientifically tested? Well, we flip to page 124 and find:
"The conlcusion that demons are behind the residual UFO
phenomenon is a testible one." Ross points out that "according to
the Bible" demons only can attack people who dip into the occult
and make themsleves vulnerable. Ross declares, "All that is
necessary to further prove the conclusions of demonic involvement,
therefore, is to continue surveying people to ascertain who has
encounters with residual UFO's and who does not. If the demonic
idenficiation of the RUFO phenomenon is correct, researchers
should continue to observe a correlation between the degree of
invitations in a person's life to demonic attacks (for example,
participation inseances, Uija games, astrology, spiritualism,
witchcraft, palm reading, and psychicreading) and the proximity of
their residual UFO encounters." (Ross of course neglects to
mention another possible reason for these "correlations" --- people
who believe one goofy thing are more prone to believe other goofy
things as well.)

And why is that scientists and other researchers decline to study
Ross's, uh, "theory"? Why, because they're all ATHEISTS, silly:
"One reason why research scientists and others may be reluctant to
say that demons exist behind residual UFO's is because such an
answer points too directly to a Christian interpretation of the
problem." (page 125)

(Does this sound familiar to anybody? Is there some other topic
that Ross thinks involves the supernatural, but nobody takes
seriously because they are all atheists . . . . ?)


Believe it or not, though, Ross isn't the first creationut to yammer
about flying saucers and the Devil. Creationist theologian Norman
Geisler was one of the witnesses at the Arkansas creationism trial
back in 1982. During his pre-trial deposition, Geisler was asked if
he believed in a real Devil. Yes, he replied, he did, and cited some
Biblical verses as confirmation. The conversation then went:

"Q. Are there, sir, any other evidences for that belief besides
certain passages of Scripture?

GEISLER: Oh, yes. I have known personally at least 12 persons
who were clearly possessed by the Devil. And then there are the
UFOs.

Q. The UFOs? Why are they relevant to the existence of the Devil?

GEISLER: Well, you see, they represent the Devil's major, in fact,
final attack on the earth.

Q. Oh. And sir, may I ask how you know, as you seem to know, that
there are UFOs?

GEISLER: I read it in the Readers Digest."

At trial, Geisler testified under oath (apparently with a straight
face) that flying saucers were "Satanic manifestations for the purposes of
deception".

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2007,16:08   

Quote
Just not worth it.  


I keep seeing this, and wondering if there is really a logical argument behind it.

Not worth it...

how many times here and on any science blog anyone can name has it been proven how dangerous to rationality and science education the prevalence of irrationality in the US is?

How often the comparison between the mindset of the creationists and cults have been drawn?

how often the irrational adherence to the creationist standpoint tends to reflect other, underlying issues that should be dealt with?

If those who are considered to be peers of creationists do nothing to try to disavow them of their irrational notions, and they then proceed to indoctrinate their kids, how is this a service to your community at large, or to yourself?

At what point does it become "worth it" to risk your friendship with someone who is sick?

I wonder just how much the "not worth it" attitude allows creationism to flourish in this country.

If ALL your friends and neighbors are creationists, and you are afraid of having no friends if you challenge them on their beliefs, then isn't the obvious response to move somewhere where you are in company more consistent to your own beliefs?  Not surpress them out of fear for your own well being.  

so yeah, go ahead and make an issue of it.  Try to control the emotional aspects of it, but don't back down on the evidence.  It will be the creationist that chooses not to engage you, but it won't be becuase you intended to lose their friendship, it will be because they are not rational, and simply don't want to face that.  In fact they so much DON'T want to face that, that it is THEY who will be willing to push you away, and give up your friendship in order to maintain their delusions.

To take it to a more extreme example, if you have a friend with schizophrenia, but they get agitated and try to push you away every time you tell them the bugs they see crawling up the walls aren't real, who are you doing a favor by not pushing them on the issue?

that said, the only thing i have ever tried to do with friends that have fallen under the creobot's spell is to ask them to pick a topic, a single issue of contention, like "the flud" for example, and then walk through all of the evidence with them, step by step.  As tangential questions arise, like how sedimentary rocks form, then we can explore that question as well, and they can see exactly how these things happen.

If, after all that, they say, "I still don't accept it".  there is simply nothing that can be done.  If they themselves find it to be an important enough issue that they no longer wish to be associated with your company because you disagree with them, that's then their decision, not yours.

bottom line, there is a reason marginalization is called what it is, and it's also an extremely effective social tool.

Think of how the issue of racism has been affected by marginalization.

how many risks have been taken by people deciding, finally, that racism was intolerable and those that practice it should be shunned?

The issue has busted up family, friends, entire communities.

but was it "worth it"?

--------------
"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2007,18:11   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 27 2007,16:08)
 
Quote
Just not worth it.  


I keep seeing this, and wondering if there is really a logical argument behind it.

Not worth it...

[snip]

...how many risks have been taken by people deciding, finally, that racism was intolerable and those that practice it should be shunned?

The issue has busted up family, friends, entire communities.

but was it "worth it"?

I hear you.  But in the context of my family and these specific relationships, regarding this particular issue, I've made the calculation that it is, in fact, not worth the conflict that would ensue. This is somewhat empirical, in that in years gone by (we've been in these relative positions for 3+ decades) we have had these debates and indeed nothing but hard feelings and increased polarization ensued. I don't want that to happen in an otherwise very functional sibship, which I value. And probabilistic: in my estimation there is exactly zero probability that minds will be changed. We do find ourselves able to tease one another around these differences, with a wink and a nod, and there may one day come a time when the topics can be broached and something interesting accomplished.  

In other relationships I might make another calculation.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2007,18:18   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 27 2007,15:31)
     
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ May 27 2007,14:38)
I agree more with the views of  Christian Astronomer Hugh Ross. (http://www.reasons.org/aboutRTB/staff/ross.html -for his C.V.)

I have read 4 of his 5 books.

Ask of he's read THIS one:

Ross's recent book (co-authored with two other fundie kooks) is
entitled "Lights In the Sky and Little Green Men: A Rational
Christian Look at UFO's and Extraterrestrials" (NavPress, Colorado
Springs CO, 2002)...

Now that you mention it, IIRC I followed my brother's link and there declared, "Holy shit." At that point I re-ran the calculation described in the post above, obtained a divide by zero error, and let the conversation drop.

Vis this general topic, I also take this position.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,12:35   

IMO: If I wanted to keep them as friends I would not pester them.

OTOH: If they was trying to force their religious views onto me or my family I would engage and argue with them.

  
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,13:09   

Quote (Stephen Elliott @ May 28 2007,12:35)
IMO: If I wanted to keep them as friends I would not pester them.

OTOH: If they was trying to force their religious views onto me or my family I would engage and argue with them.

what if they were trying to actively convince the rest of your community of their position, and succeeding?

Creationism is predatory.  that's why it's successful.

--------------
"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,13:42   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 28 2007,13:09)
Quote (Stephen Elliott @ May 28 2007,12:35)
IMO: If I wanted to keep them as friends I would not pester them.

OTOH: If they was trying to force their religious views onto me or my family I would engage and argue with them.

what if they were trying to actively convince the rest of your community of their position, and succeeding?

Creationism is predatory.  that's why it's successful.

I don't really know how to answer that question as it is a bit too broad.

If you mean they was actively trying to recruit then I would do as I did when I had some at my doorstep. I would argue my POV as hard as i could without trying to offend them. If it became neccessary then I would offend.

However, if they just wanted to explain then I would reciprocate.

If they wanted their POV taught as science in a local school I would go on the offensive.

I believe that they are entitled to their POV. I don't believe that they have the right to force it upon others.

  
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,13:46   

are Jehova's witnesses "forcing" their religion on you when they knock on your door to witness to you?

isn't that just free speech?

after all, you can just close the door, right?

the word evangelical comes from evangelism.

these people believe it their sacred duty to convince as many as possible that the only way to salvation is through their particular ideology.

so is there any case where a creationist would not essentially be "forcing" their religion on those around them, given your apparent usage of the term?

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Stephen Elliott



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,13:52   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 28 2007,13:46)
are Jehova's witnesses "forcing" their religion on you when they knock on your door to witness to you?

isn't that just free speech?

after all, you can just close the door, right?

No and Yes. They are not forcing their views upon me when I answer the door and yes it is free speech.

It is also my free speech when I argue against them.

I do not want their right to speak/preach to be ilegal, nor do I want my right to argue back to be ilegal.

Yes, i can just close the door, I normally choose to argue though.

  
Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,14:09   

and if the Jehova's witness was someone you knew personally?

how close would the relationship have to be before you felt compelled NOT to argue with them?

my point is, that it is an ESSENTIAL part of their ideology that they convince as many as possible of the "truth" of their position.

it's not just that some creationists are content to sit on their hands and do nothing; it's part of their religion that to be saved themselves, they must convince others.

that's what makes it so predatory; many who hadn't thought aboout the issues before are often convinced by dog and pony shows like AIG present.  If it isn't fought against in all times and all places, it spreads kinda like zombies in a bad horror flick.

My feeling is that to stamp out this mindless mindlessness, it takes personal sacrifice and responsibility to be willing to  pressure those who are convinced by the "evidence" of creationism of its falsity, regardless of who they are.

again, this is exactly like the fight to stamp out racism.  If those wanting to see the disappearence of this particular nasty meme aren't willing to take the risk of vehement argument against it, ESPECIALLY with those considered close peers, the battle to marginalize it will be (and IS) that much harder.

to be trite, i guess, It's easy to argue with strangers... much harder to argue with friends, but no less necessary if one wants to effect change.

which, by the way, is the exact attitude the evangelists take, because they know that social change is affected one person at a time.

Now just to be clear, I never argue for or against atheism with a creationist (or someone convinced of their arguments).  only for them to abandon their irrational view of science and scientific evidence.  If that in the process causes them to become an atheist, that's their personal decision.  If it causes them to realize faith has nothing to do with words in a book, that's fine too.

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Stephen Elliott



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,14:22   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 28 2007,14:09)
and if the Jehova's witness was someone you knew personally?

how close would the relationship have to be before you felt compelled NOT to argue with them?

my point is, that it is an ESSENTIAL part of their ideology that they convince as many as possible of the "truth" of their position.

it's not just that some creationists are content to sit on their hands and do nothing; it's part of their religion that to be saved themselves, they must convince others.

that's what makes it so predatory; many who hadn't thought aboout the issues before are often convinced by dog and pony shows like AIG present.  If it isn't fought against in all times and all places, it spreads kinda like zombies in a bad horror flick.

My feeling is that to stamp out this mindless mindlessness, it takes personal sacrifice and responsibility to be willing to  pressure those who are convinced by the "evidence" of creationism of its falsity, regardless of who they are.

again, this is exactly like the fight to stamp out racism.  If those wanting to see the disappearence of this particular nasty meme aren't willing to take the risk of vehement argument against it, ESPECIALLY with those considered close peers, the battle to marginalize it will be (and IS) that much harder.

to be trite, i guess, It's easy to argue with strangers... much harder to argue with friends, but no less necessary if one wants to effect change.

which, by the way, is the exact attitude the evangelists take, because they know that social change is affected one person at a time.

Now just to be clear, I never argue for or against atheism with a creationist (or someone convinced of their arguments).  only for them to abandon their irrational view of science and scientific evidence.  If that in the process causes them to become an atheist, that's their personal decision.  If it causes them to realize faith has nothing to do with words in a book, that's fine too.

I mentioned a Jehovas witness that came to my door a few months ago.I argued against him quite efffectively due to stuff I learned here and at PT.

Now at work I am with 3 muslims and 2 hindu/sikhs. Do you think that I should start to abuse their religious POV willy nilly? There would be every chance that I could get fired for racisim if I did that.

Do I believe their religious POV? No! Should I call it rediculous? Not according to UK employment laws.

WTF would you require of me? Daamned if I know.

  
Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,14:25   

did i say you should argue with coworkers AT work?

did is say you should trash their FAITH?

nope; just the anti-science bits.

Is it part of their particular religion to evangelize?

do they evangelize to YOU at work?

why are you pulling in these examples, exactly?

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Stephen Elliott



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,14:38   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 28 2007,14:25)
1}did i say you should argue with coworkers AT work?

2}did is say you should trash their FAITH?

nope; just the anti-science bits.

3}Is it part of their particular religion to evangelize?

4}do they evangelize to YOU at work?

5}why are you pulling in these examples, exactly?

1] No
2]no
3]yes
4]yes
5]: Because of the way the conversation was going.

EDIT: WRT to evangalising. It is the muslims at work that do this, The Sikhs don't seem to care about converting.

  
Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,14:41   

Quote (Stephen Elliott @ May 28 2007,14:38)
Quote (Ichthyic @ May 28 2007,14:25)
1}did i say you should argue with coworkers AT work?

2}did is say you should trash their FAITH?

nope; just the anti-science bits.

3}Is it part of their particular religion to evangelize?

4}do they evangelize to YOU at work?

5}why are you pulling in these examples, exactly?

1] No
2]no
3]yes
4]yes
5]: Because of the way the conversation was going.

if: 4 is correct, then why aren't you protected in the same fashion with the laws you just quoted?

shouldn't they be afraid of evangelizing in the workplace?

why not?

[btw, I'm going for a swim, so I won't be back for a couple of hours.]

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Stephen Elliott



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,14:49   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 28 2007,14:41)
 
Quote (Stephen Elliott @ May 28 2007,14:38)
   
Quote (Ichthyic @ May 28 2007,14:25)
1}did i say you should argue with coworkers AT work?

2}did is say you should trash their FAITH?

nope; just the anti-science bits.

3}Is it part of their particular religion to evangelize?

4}do they evangelize to YOU at work?

5}why are you pulling in these examples, exactly?

1] No
2]no
3]yes
4]yes
5]: Because of the way the conversation was going.

if: 4 is correct, then why aren't you protected in the same fashion with the laws you just quoted?

shouldn't they be afraid of evangelizing in the workplace?

why not?

[btw, I'm going for a swim, so I won't be back for a couple of hours.]

4 is correct. Muslims evangelise to me on an almost (not quite) daily occurence. You do understand that the laws are different in the UK than the USA? Should I mock them I would probably be able to be sued as a racist.

EDIT: It is also probably legal over here for Christians to "evangalise". I realise that I sound as though I am being persecuted. I am not. Any religion is free to try to get more members due to "evangalising". I don't think this is a bad thing.

  
guthrie



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,15:00   

Unless its part of your job, having moslems trying to evangelise you daily, at work, is something that should be entirely dealt with by the internal disciplinary process, after you have already told them to politely get lost.  

As for calling you racist, they could only do that if you started reeling off the standard racist stuff about the prophet, (You know what i mean, if youve been on the internet long enough) and try and apply it to the person your talking to.

  
Stephen Elliott



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,15:19   

Quote (guthrie @ May 28 2007,15:00)
Unless its part of your job, having moslems trying to evangelise you daily, at work, is something that should be entirely dealt with by the internal disciplinary process, after you have already told them to politely get lost.  

As for calling you racist, they could only do that if you started reeling off the standard racist stuff about the prophet, (You know what i mean, if youve been on the internet long enough) and try and apply it to the person your talking to.

To be honest, I don't realy care. The 2 guys that try to convert me are quite alright and don't particularly mind me refuting them. We basically all get on pretty well. The sikhs are not really religious and the Muslims although far more strict in their own beliefs only slightly try to convert the rest of us. All in all I guesss I exagerated. We tend to get on OK and any call for a legal intervention would be rediculous.

  
Reciprocating Bill



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,15:39   

I wonder.  The only time in recent years that I've been "evangelized" person to person has been by the occasional Jehova's Witnesses who fan through my neighborhood.  I either don't answer the door, or, when I'm in a good mood, listen politely, really tune into the person speaking and ask direct questions about themselves (how they became Witnesses, where they live, what they do). I ask those questions because they seem like nice people and I really want to know. I also direct questions to the younger silent "apprentice" Witness who is typically one of the pair.  Unresisted, their spiel is typically quite brief, and because they have no idea what to do with the genuine personal contact they quickly hand me my Watchtower and Awake! and flee as quickly as they can. I always say "yes" when they ask if they can return to discuss the material further, but no one EVER has.  

My fantasy has been to have my own tracts printed and prepared, waiting by my door, which I'll exchange for their publications.  But I'm too lazy for that.

--------------
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"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
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Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,16:05   

Quote
You do understand that the laws are different in the UK than the USA?


I guess i don't.

explain.

here, maybe this will help me:

If a Muslim evangelizes an Anglican at work, would that count as harrasment under this law?

if not, it sounds like the law is set up in a way that doesn't even protect the state religion, which would be rather ironic, I think.

earlier, you asked me what i want...

well, I guess I'm asking for a direct counter argument to the idea that we should try to dismantle creationism at all times and with all people, and that it is worth the risk to personal relationships to do so; and then equating the argument to the attempt to marginalize racism, and asking what the differences would be.

 
Quote
Any religion is free to try to get more members due to "evangalising". I don't think this is a bad thing.


I'm confused again.  so is a creationist converting your neighborhood to creationism also not a bad thing?

or do you mean that you think a creationist has every right to tell kids that dinosaurs lived with humans, the earth is 6k years old, and all scientists are evil atheist materialists.

I understand the "will to fairness" in thinking this is simply an issue of free speech, and they have every right to speak as they please...

but in many instances, they work hard to make sure the deck is stacked in their favor... like with the groups of sequestered kids, for example, or even simply by lying through their teeth.

In the US we have "hate" laws, that are meant to discourage ultra-racist propaganda, and are usually applied in the "incite to violence" fashion.

so, if this really were an issue of free speech, would there need to be "hate laws"?

my point is that I understand and sympathize with the "fairness" issue, and the right to free speech, but shouldn't we draw the line when the speaker's intent is to incite violence?

and, if the speaker's intent is to incite stupidity, couldn't that be just as dangerous?

another analogy:

say someone is fomenting open rebellion against the UK government, and goes on speeches around the country where they present a stream of lies to make the goverment look bad and try to create chaos and rebellion wherever they go.

do they still have a right to free speech?

should any citizen who knows better call them on their BS as soon as they see it, regardless of who the person is?

tough questions.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,17:55   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 28 2007,16:05)
well, I guess I'm asking for a direct counter argument to the idea that we should try to dismantle creationism at all times and with all people, and that it is worth the risk to personal relationships to do so

Why stop with creationism?  Why not go on to Republicans? Or theists?  Or even people who are just plain ignorant about science?

Surely friendships can mean nothing when compared to that . . . . ?

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www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,18:03   

because, Lenny, those aren't direct counter arguments.

especially the just plain ignorant example.

the just plain ignorant often DO change their minds after well -reasoned evidentiary arguments are presented.

which of course is good for us all, as I'm sure ALL of us have been in that boat at one time or another.

I certainly was ignorant of the damage the fundies were causing in the US until the early 90's.

I'm currently ignorant of how religious discrimination laws actually work in the UK.

you're extrapolating too far, so whittle it down some and then make your point.

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ScaryFacts



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,18:48   

I guess I would look at things slightly differently.

You all need to know that AtBC “converted” me.  While I had been in the process for quite some time, until I came here I pretty much accepted there was a harmony between science and the Bible.  While I couldn’t have articulated the harmony, like most evangelicals I ass-u-me-d guys like Behe had it figured out.

After all, while I knew some Christians would lie and mislead to make a point, certainly someone with the prominence of a Behe would be honest.

I came here after reading a book on evolution of the brain.  I was fascinated with how evolutionary processes could create the brain we have today.  It made me curious about how other processes evolved and even how scientists like Behe put together science and the Bible.

When I came here I expected a few things:  I expected Christianity would likely not be really popular, but I was cool with that.  I expected there would be a number of Christians here who were able to reconcile conservative Christian thought with science.  I expected to find people like Behe would be respected as honest scientists even though I expected some to disagree with them.

Of course I was surprised at what I did find.

I watched as intelligent design was painstakingly demonstrated to be based on poor science.  I saw the obvious lies being parroted and even created by leading "Christians."  

I was also treated with a HUGE amount of respect even when I would ask basic questions or talked about my faith.

All of the things I would expect “good Christians” to do when trying to reach the “unconverted” were demonstrated to me, mostly by the non-Christians here.  I found the people here to be willing to listen to new ideas, debate kindly and even change their minds if their conclusions were demonstrably in error.

Should you share science with the unconverted?  I would say “yes” if they actually are seeking answers.

Oh yeah, to everyone here, “A BIG THANKS!”

   
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,19:00   

It seems like there's a moral argument being made here. Aren't you ethically required to fight the creationists at every turn. Here's a thought experiment. What would you say to someone who came along and said, you're morally reprehensible. How can you devote so much time to fighting some silly ideas when people are dying of genocide in Darfur, or fistulas in India, or etc etc? In short, given all the thousands of things one could do with one's time, why should we pick arguing with creationists?

   
Wesley R. Elsberry



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,19:06   

I have the argument that I made back in 2002 at the 4th World Skeptics Conference: because science education makes a difference, and the antievolution movement is a clear and present danger to science education.

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"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,19:46   

That's all fine and good, says the person, but Ken Ham isn't going to kill 687 people on Wednesday, and the Janjaweed are, so how can you sit there and discuss protein sequences?

   
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,19:46   

Quote
when people are dying of genocide in Darfur, or fistulas in India, or etc etc?


don't forget AIDS, Steve.

and while we're on that subject, remember that creobots like Paul Nelson are also HIV deniers, and often using similar reasoning and arguments to arrive at that conclusion.  

and do their damndest to convince others they are right, too.

and that causes considerable damage to the cause of fighting this disease.

heh, funny you use protein sequences in your latest response, as the evidence from some "protein sequence" could indeed be used in the fight against HIV denial, for example.

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Albatrossity2



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,19:46   

Quote (ScaryFacts @ May 28 2007,18:48)
Should you share science with the unconverted?  I would say “yes” if they actually are seeking answers.

But that's a tough diagnosis. How do you tell if they are

1) "seeking answers"
2) trying to convert you
or
3) unable to reject the years of Xtian indoctrination to which they have been subjected?

Some of these folks (e.g. Dembski) seem incapable of listening. Others (e.g. FtK) seem incapable of understanding, even if they could listen. Almost all of them seem quite willing to believe things that are demonstrably and obviously wrong, due to some sort of hard-wired acceptance of the bizarre statements that they have heard since childhood...

If someone is determined to believe something that is obviously bogus, it is a waste of time to try to even make conversation about it. How do you figure that out in advance, and avoid wasting the time? I have never been able to do that!

--------------
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Has been obligated from the beginning
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As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
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stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,19:56   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 28 2007,20:46)
Quote
when people are dying of genocide in Darfur, or fistulas in India, or etc etc?


don't forget AIDS, Steve.

and while we're on that subject, remember that creobots like Paul Nelson are also HIV deniers, and often using similar reasoning and arguments to arrive at that conclusion.  

and do their damndest to convince others they are right, too.

and that causes considerable damage to the cause of fighting this disease.

heh, funny you use protein sequences in your latest response, as the evidence from some "protein sequence" could indeed be used in the fight against HIV denial, for example.

Sure, yeah, but you're still arguing that fighting creationists is a good thing. No disagreement there. But there are other good things you could do. What makes fighting creationists the best option?

   
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,20:00   

to be precise about what I'm saying, here's the statement I'm taking issue with:

Quote
well, I guess I'm asking for a direct counter argument to the idea that we should try to dismantle creationism at all times and with all people, and that it is worth the risk to personal relationships to do so


if you're asking people to try to dismantle creationism at all times and with all people, you're asking them to forgo 1,000 other things they could do instead. How do we know that we shouldn't rather be doing one of the many other things?

   
Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,20:03   

Quote
How do you tell


as you are starting to see, you will get a feel for the ones that wish to learn by the way they approach the subject matter.

if they come in saying things like:

"the bible is infallible"

"evolution is materialistic and is destroying morality in the US!"

or

"I've read ALL the arguments and I'm just not convinced Darwinism is anything more than a religion of blind faith"

you can bet that the person saying these things (if honest) is projecting far too heavily for you to ever break through (unless, you are perhaps a close peer, which is one reason why i keep dragging this argument out).

OTOH, if they approach the issue by asking questions FIRST, like:

"I have been reading the material on AIG's website, and want to know what's wrong with it."

or

"I've been a creationist all my life, but I've never really seen the scientific evidence for evolution presented in a readable fashion."

you got a live one.

you can start to make predictions to yourself as creationists appear here, or on PT, or on some other science blog by looking at the nature of their very first post.  Eventually, you'll start to see the pattern as to who came to preach vs. who came to learn.

sometimes, you'll be wrong, but not often.

In face to face conversation, you can tell more easily when someone is open to new ideas, vs. when someone will shut down as soon as you mention the "E" word.

the rest is up to personal technique.

If they totally close down, there's little one can do, but if they want to trade jabs, at least, there's the opportunity to at the very least show any others hanging about how silly their ideas are.

However, you have to be prepared if you want to really have an impact.  It's exactly like being a teacher; in order to convince your students you are a good teacher, you have to be well prepared to present the material at hand and discuss it.

pick small chunks at a time, and dissect them thoroghly.  don't let the creobot move the goalposts on you, or run you off on wild tangents.  tangents can be explored only with people who genuinely want to learn, and if you get too far off of your main point in a group, you'll start to lose the rest of the audience.

but hey, the master is here.  Wes can detail how to converse with creationists in a group setting far better than I ever could.  He11, I've learned a ton just from looking at the Q&A's from some of Wes' debates over the last few years.

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Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,20:05   

Quote
if you're asking people to try to dismantle creationism at all times and with all people, you're asking them to forgo 1,000 other things they could do instead.


true, I should back off the "all times and all places", and replace it with "as opportunity presents itself".

better?

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ScaryFacts



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Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,20:15   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ May 28 2007,20:46)
But that's a tough diagnosis. How do you tell if they are

1) "seeking answers"
2) trying to convert you
or
3) unable to reject the years of Xtian indoctrination to which they have been subjected?

Some of these folks (e.g. Dembski) seem incapable of listening. Others (e.g. FtK) seem incapable of understanding, even if they could listen. Almost all of them seem quite willing to believe things that are demonstrably and obviously wrong, due to some sort of hard-wired acceptance of the bizarre statements that they have heard since childhood...

If someone is determined to believe something that is obviously bogus, it is a waste of time to try to even make conversation about it. How do you figure that out in advance, and avoid wasting the time? I have never been able to do that!


It's not as difficult as you may think.

When you point out an obvious problem with their understanding, so they respond with a reasoned argument supporting their understanding, a recantation and acceptance or parroted rhetoric?

The first two indicate someone who is possibly able to learn.  The last indicates someone who will not be persuaded no matter what you demonstrate.

I have the same frustration when I have gone to Christian boards and asked hard questions.  It becomes pretty obvious who is interested in learning and who is not.

There is a belief among some of us Christians that we ought only to share our faith when we are asked.  I do understand trolls will "ask" when what they really want to do is "teach," but there are those who are sincere.

   
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,20:17   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 28 2007,21:05)
Quote
if you're asking people to try to dismantle creationism at all times and with all people, you're asking them to forgo 1,000 other things they could do instead.


true, I should back off the "all times and all places", and replace it with "as opportunity presents itself".

better?

Does your answer explain why we shouldn't instead be doing any of the 1,000 other things?

(For anybody worried I'm being a little too diaboli in my advocatus, Icky is a tough guy. He can take it.)

   
ScaryFacts



Posts: 337
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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,20:23   

The premise of the argument "why should you be doing 'A' when you could be doing 'B'" is a fallacious one.

Imagine applying that to other issues:

"You shouldn't be trying to cure breast cancer when you could be working on AIDS."

"You shouldn't be protesting the war in Iraq when you could be protesting for justice in Darfur."

My thought is this:  Do what you feel you can do, what you have passion and energy for.  That's where you can make a difference.

My undereducated 2 cents.

   
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,20:31   

Quote (ScaryFacts @ May 28 2007,21:23)
The premise of the argument "why should you be doing 'A' when you could be doing 'B'" is a fallacious one.

Imagine applying that to other issues:

"You shouldn't be trying to cure breast cancer when you could be working on AIDS."

"You shouldn't be working for McDonalds for $6/hr when you could work for Microsoft for $25/hr."

It's not fallacious at all. The economists call it Opportunity Cost. You have to be careful when applying it, but it is very important sometimes.

By the way Scary, I think you understand this notion without being aware of it. That's why you picked similar things to choose from. One deadly disease vs another, and one protest vs another. Choosing between roughly equal options is a special case where the Opportunity Cost is at a minumum.

   
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,20:44   

Quote
"You shouldn't be working for McDonalds for $6/hr when you could work for Microsoft for $25/hr."


nope, but it is a red herring to your original argument, which he addressed correctly, IMO.

"as opportunity presents itself" doesn't usually translate into a situation where you could both be working for McDonalds and Microsoft at the same time.

overqualified for MickeyD's, if qualified for MS, and likely underqualified for MS if qualified for MickeyD's.

but say, somehow, you are qualified for both.

if both are offered at the same time, in the same area, with the same requirements, the only question would be personal preference, I guess.

ever see "American Beauty"?

bottom line, the reason i changed it to "as opportunity presents itself", is that obviously on an absolute scale, there are things that are more important than the defeat of creationism specifically (though, one could argue that there is little of less importance at this time than the defeat of irrationality).  However, one can't deal in absolute scales, as the opportunity to deal with putatively "more important" issues directly is not always at hand.

example:

If i was arguing with a creationist on the street, and saw an opportunity out of the corner of my eye to save a kid from being run over by a car, I certainly would drop the argument in favor of saving the kid.

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"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

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stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,21:00   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 28 2007,21:44)
Quote
"You shouldn't be working for McDonalds for $6/hr when you could work for Microsoft for $25/hr."


nope, but it is a red herring to your original argument, which he addressed correctly, IMO.

"as opportunity presents itself" doesn't usually translate into a situation where you could both be working for McDonalds and Microsoft at the same time.

overqualified for MickeyD's, if qualified for MS, and likely underqualified for MS if qualified for MickeyD's.

but say, somehow, you are qualified for both.

if both are offered at the same time, in the same area, with the same requirements, the only question would be personal preference, I guess.

ever see "American Beauty"?

bottom line, the reason i changed it to "as opportunity presents itself", is that obviously on an absolute scale, there are things that are more important than the defeat of creationism specifically (though, one could argue that there is little of less importance at this time than the defeat of irrationality).  However, one can't deal in absolute scales, as the opportunity to deal with putatively "more important" issues directly is not always at hand.

example:

If i was arguing with a creationist on the street, and saw an opportunity out of the corner of my eye to save a kid from being run over by a car, I certainly would drop the argument in favor of saving the kid.

Good argument. But in American Beauty, he deliberately chose what was the better job for his needs. He did not keep the old job simply because it gave him a paycheck. Similarly, we have to make choices based on what is best, not simply what has a positive benefit. Arguing with creationists may have a positive benefit--opposing the tide of ignorance--but it may not be the right choice given the other possibilities. I'm asking what makes arguing with creationists the best choice. And with the example of the kid in jeopardy, you showed us that arguing with them isn't always the best choice. That's an extreme example. But why is it the best choice under normal circumstances?

   
Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,21:03   

Quote
But why is it the best choice under normal circumstances?


pardon me, but it would seem that 4 years of PT and ATBC and Pharyngula have already MADE the positive argument as to the dangers of creationism and why it needs to be combatted at every opportunity.

that, and my bag of ebola and flamethrower.

I think the ball's in your court to show why we SHOULDN'T be taking proverbial baseball bats to the creationist argument.

here, I'll start with an easy one, since he's been all over the news and blogs this week:

Ken Ham

Rip or ignore?

important to rip or not?

if he was a close personal friend, or even a family member, would you attack or desist?

--------------
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ScaryFacts



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,21:04   

Quote (stevestory @ May 28 2007,21:31)
"You shouldn't be working for McDonalds for $6/hr when you could work for Microsoft for $25/hr."

It's not fallacious at all. The economists call it Opportunity Cost. You have to be careful when applying it, but it is very important sometimes.

By the way Scary, I think you understand this notion without being aware of it. That's why you picked similar things to choose from. One deadly disease vs another, and one protest vs another. Choosing between roughly equal options is a special case where the Opportunity Cost is at a minumum.


I didn't make my point well:

I have taught business courses on opportunity cost and understand the concept fully.  The fallacy of opportunity cost is we rarely weigh the actual cost and benefit.  Rather, we look only to one criteria rather than the entire realm of factors.

Why does someone with the ability to earn $25 per hour choose to take a job for $6?  Because he sees a bigger payoff for his time in peace of mind.  The “real” goal might be peace of mind rather than income.

When we ask “should I cure cancer—which I have a passion for—or devote myself to AIDS—which I don’t?”  The answer is obvious.  Both are important and the one you have the best chance of accomplishing is the one that stirs your passion.

What do you have passion for?  Even if it is not the objectively most important "cause" in the world, it is the one where you will be most successful.

There are hundreds of thousands of boards you could moderate Steve, yet you choose this one.  I could argue your time could be much better spent moderating boards on "bigger" issues, maybe global warming or to encourage nuclear power, but you wouldn't have the passion to do it well.

Passion, IM(not so)HO, is the key to effective advocacy in any area.

   
ScaryFacts



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,21:07   

Plus I must be right because Lou says I'm write (see my siggy.)  You can't overlook my clear endorsement from Lou.

   
Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,21:09   

Quote

What do you have passion for?


nice addition.

hadn't even considered that yet.

--------------
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stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,21:11   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 28 2007,22:03)
Quote
But why is it the best choice under normal circumstances?


pardon me, but it would seem that 4 years of PT and ATBC and Pharyngula have already MADE the positive argument as to the dangers of creationism and why it needs to be combatted at every opportunity.

that, and my bag of ebola and flamethrower.

I think the ball's in your court to show why we SHOULDN'T be taking proverbial baseball bats to the creationist argument.

here, I'll start with an easy one, since he's been all over the news and blogs this week:

Ken Ham

Rip or ignore?

important to rip or not?

if he was a close personal friend, or even a family member, would you attack or desist?

That's kind of like you're saying, "I've got my god, and I want you to disprove him." whereas I'm asking you to show why I should believe in him instead of 1,000 other gods.

Quote

Ken Ham

Rip or ignore?

important to rip or not?


The Janjaweed. Rip or ignore?

Infant dehydration in the 3rd world. Rip or ignore?

Is attacking Ken Ham more or less important than babies dying for want of fifty cents worth of formula?

By the way, Scary, yes, that's a much better explanation of your position. Your position is much more solid than I thought.

   
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,21:14   

The issues here have gotten fleshed out in a more sophisticated way and I don't think I have much left to argue.

   
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,21:16   

Quote (stevestory @ May 28 2007,22:14)
The issues here have gotten fleshed out in a more sophisticated way and I don't think I have much left to argue.

And I can't argue much more on this topic anyway. The philosophical issues behind the basic question of why should we do x instead of y is the subject of 1000 books by people much more sophisticated than I am in these matters, and I have no easy answers, and am quite confused on the matter myself.

   
Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,21:17   

Quote
Is attacking Ken Ham more or less important than babies dying for want of fifty cents worth of formula?


Is there somebody presenting an argument in favor of babies dying that we could rip on?

--------------
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stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,21:23   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 28 2007,22:17)
Quote
Is attacking Ken Ham more or less important than babies dying for want of fifty cents worth of formula?


Is there somebody presenting an argument in favor of babies dying that we could rip on?

LOL. Maybe over at Reason Magazine.

:D

   
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,21:29   

I've posted 3800 comments. At 5 minutes a comment, that's over 300 hours of work. How many dehydrated babies could my friend Kelli, who lives in Mali and works for the Peace Corps, save in 300 hours? Let's say 10. Should the AtBC software send me a message, every 380th comment, which said, "Congratulations, Steve! You just stuck it to Davetard, and by the way killed another baby. Really great work there, you're a hell of a guy."

   
ScaryFacts



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,21:34   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 28 2007,22:09)
 
Quote

What do you have passion for?


nice addition.

hadn't even considered that yet.


It's because it's on the front burner of my brain-top range.  (It's one of those Jenn-aire jobs where I can grill as well as--oh, never mind...)

I am in a distressing yet perfect position.  The proverbial Chinese "dangerous opportunity":

At 43 I need to choose what I will do with the next section of my life, and I have absolutely no idea.

So when I talk about following your passion it's really just parroting the advice I keep reading, hearing, etc.

Funny thing is, I can't seem to find anyone who is willing to pay me to schtupp my wife.  Off camera of course.

   
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,21:38   

Quote (ScaryFacts @ May 28 2007,22:34)
Funny thing is, I can't seem to find anyone who is willing to pay me to schtupp my wife.

Actually, give me a call, and...

Quote
Off camera of course.


...oh. Nevermind.

   
Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,21:47   

Quote
At 43 I need to choose what I will do with the next section of my life, and I have absolutely no idea.


get out in the world, and something will inevitably present itself that will interest you.

barring that, volunteer work is a good filler.

ever volunteered your services to help out at your local school?  either in teaching, or maybe with the school board itself?  I tried substitute teaching for a while, which was kinda interesting, if a bit on the low pay side.

volunteer to help clear brush around the neighboorhood if you live in the boonies.

volunteer in habitat restoration projects.

volunteer to help out with NGO's like the national center for science education.

or just laze here with us on the couch until an idea pops in your head.

that last one actually worked for me.  I've got a couple of things on the burner based on private conversations I've had with people I met right here in this very bar.

just some luck and I'm off.

btw, only one year younger and in was in the exact same position as you a couple years back.

may be again if neither of the things I'm working on pan out.

:)

--------------
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Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,22:00   

Quote (ScaryFacts @ May 28 2007,21:07)
Plus I must be right because Lou says I'm write (see my siggy.)  You can't overlook my clear endorsement from Lou.

"Lou said it, Scary believes it, that settles it."

:D

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
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stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,22:06   

JanieBelle said it, Corporal Kate spanked her for it, that settles it.

   
ScaryFacts



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,22:07   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 28 2007,22:47)
Quote
At 43 I need to choose what I will do with the next section of my life, and I have absolutely no idea.


get out in the world, and something will inevitably present itself that will interest you.

barring that, volunteer work is a good filler.

ever volunteered your services to help out at your local school?  either in teaching, or maybe with the school board itself?  I tried substitute teaching for a while, which was kinda interesting, if a bit on the low pay side.

volunteer to help clear brush around the neighboorhood if you live in the boonies.

volunteer in habitat restoration projects.

volunteer to help out with NGO's like the national center for science education.

or just laze here with us on the couch until an idea pops in your head.

that last one actually worked for me.  I've got a couple of things on the burner based on private conversations I've had with people I met right here in this very bar.

just some luck and I'm off.

btw, only one year younger and in was in the exact same position as you a couple years back.

may be again if neither of the things I'm working on pan out.

:)

My redhead has the same opinion--mostly the laying on the couch until something comes up--but I am more of a planner (good or bad) and I want to have a PLAN dammit.

I have done just about every kind of volunteer stuff one can do, so my psyche is meta-aware of the possibilities there.

Leaving ministry was tough and finding a replacement is tough.  I was working for the "Eternal God of the Universe", it's tough to give that up and feel good just being normal.  I know that sounds egotistical, please understand that's not how I mean it--I accomplished viritually nothing (by anyone's standards) as a pastor, and being normal is a goal of mine.

Just not always sure how to be normal.

   
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,22:09   

Quote (stevestory @ May 28 2007,22:06)
JanieBelle said it, Corporal Kate spanked her for it, that settles it.

Y'know the girls haven't had a good spankin' post in a while, I think they're due...

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,22:10   

How you managed to pull off a hoax involving an underage bisexual girl cohabitating with a bisexual marine girl and obsessed with Intelligent Design, and actually fool many people, I'll never know. Your skills at inhabiting fictional characters is impressive, that's for damn sure.

   
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,22:17   

Quote (stevestory @ May 28 2007,22:10)
How you managed to pull off a hoax involving an underage bisexual girl cohabitating with a bisexual marine girl and obsessed with Intelligent Design, and actually fool many people, I'll never know. Your skills at inhabiting fictional characters is impressive, that's for damn sure.

I dunno either, Steve.  If you could have seen the (quite literally) thousands of emails that flew between me and my Karl Rove over the course of that, and how much planning went into every little thing, and how much went totally wrong, and how much scrambling to deal with that there was, you'd have to just shake your head and be as baffled as I am.

What's even more amazing is that I can still suck in the odd idiot from time to time.

Oh, and I believe I still owe you a beer on my next trip up yonder.  I haven't forgotten, I just haven't been up that way.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
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stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,22:18   

Quote (ScaryFacts @ May 28 2007,23:07)
Quote (Ichthyic @ May 28 2007,22:47)
 
Quote
At 43 I need to choose what I will do with the next section of my life, and I have absolutely no idea.


get out in the world, and something will inevitably present itself that will interest you.

barring that, volunteer work is a good filler.

ever volunteered your services to help out at your local school?  either in teaching, or maybe with the school board itself?  I tried substitute teaching for a while, which was kinda interesting, if a bit on the low pay side.

volunteer to help clear brush around the neighboorhood if you live in the boonies.

volunteer in habitat restoration projects.

volunteer to help out with NGO's like the national center for science education.

or just laze here with us on the couch until an idea pops in your head.

that last one actually worked for me.  I've got a couple of things on the burner based on private conversations I've had with people I met right here in this very bar.

just some luck and I'm off.

btw, only one year younger and in was in the exact same position as you a couple years back.

may be again if neither of the things I'm working on pan out.

:)

My redhead has the same opinion--mostly the laying on the couch until something comes up--but I am more of a planner (good or bad) and I want to have a PLAN dammit.

I have done just about every kind of volunteer stuff one can do, so my psyche is meta-aware of the possibilities there.

Leaving ministry was tough and finding a replacement is tough.  I was working for the "Eternal God of the Universe", it's tough to give that up and feel good just being normal.  I know that sounds egotistical, please understand that's not how I mean it--I accomplished viritually nothing (by anyone's standards) as a pastor, and being normal is a goal of mine.

Just not always sure how to be normal.

Ah, it appears you're married to a redhead. That's your problem right there.

I grew up in Florida. That's basically a license to be crazy. There's a reason Florida gets its own Fark tag. But on top of that, my first girlfriend, when I was 16, was a redhead. I haven't been right since.

   
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,22:20   

Quote (Lou FCD @ May 28 2007,23:17)
Oh, and I believe I still owe you a beer on my next trip up yonder.  I haven't forgotten, I just haven't been up that way.

Owed beers are important. I told KE I owed him a beer, but I haven't seen him lately. Probably passed out in the intertidal zone somewhere, the waves tossing his mullett hither and yon.

   
Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,23:14   

Quote
Just not always sure how to be normal.


I'm not even sure what it means.

...and be patient.  it took me about 3 years to shift gears from being a full-time shark researcher, to someone who did websites for rockstars, and it's taken another 3 to shift back from that to gear up to do research again.

This place (the US) is a bit jarring to try and create a career in anymore.

I'm gonna try my luck in KE's neck of the woods...(he's till in NZ, isn't he?)

patiently waiting for various wheels to move.

--------------
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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,23:16   

I guess I just don't think that resolutely and heroically stamping out every single creationist everywhere in the United States is all that much a priority anymore.  Particularly since creationism/ID is dead, dead, dead, as any sort of effective political movement.

Stamping out creationists simply doesn't strike me as being any more urgent now than stamping out alien-abduction fans, pyramid-power believers, or geocentrists.

There appear to me to be much more pressing matters at hand.

--------------
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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,23:24   

Quote (ScaryFacts @ May 28 2007,20:23)
The premise of the argument "why should you be doing 'A' when you could be doing 'B'" is a fallacious one.

Imagine applying that to other issues:

"You shouldn't be trying to cure breast cancer when you could be working on AIDS."

"You shouldn't be protesting the war in Iraq when you could be protesting for justice in Darfur."

My thought is this:  Do what you feel you can do, what you have passion and energy for.  That's where you can make a difference.

My undereducated 2 cents.

I quite agree with your two-pence.

Over the years, I've watched countless "progressives" and "radicals" arguing bitterly with each other over "whose oppression is the most oppressive".  It's always struck me as an absurdly silly argument.  And one, it seems to me, with an awfully obvious answer -- the oppression that is the most oppressive, is, uh, the one YOU feel most oppressed by, and can DO the most about.

Of course, every single-minded fanatic nutjob in history has ALWAYS tried to convince everyone else that HIS fight is the only one that is worth fighting, and that anything else is just a distraction that steers people away from the Real Important Fight.  (shrug)

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Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,23:25   

the next time I see a UFOite trying to pass laws to change how science is even defined, let alone taught, in the classroom, I'll lend equal weight to the idea that they are equal in effect.

as long as the creobots are still trying to pass laws to change how education works in the US, and still able to easily garner 27 million to build monuments to stupidity, I still see something that needs fixing.

the moment the media decides it no longer needs to do a story on something like Hamm's museum, I'll agreet might no longer be an issue.

when no less than 3 potential presidential nominees claim evolution is false, I think we still have a problem.

Of course, every single-minded fanatic nutjob in history has ALWAYS tried to convince everyone else that HIS fight is the only one that is worth fighting, and that anything else is just a distraction that steers people away from the Real Important Fight.

you mean the one where just a couple of months back you talked about crushing the creobots beneath your bootheel?

"kick em when they're down, and keep kicking em", or words to that effect.

all forgotten now, eh?

hmm.

--------------
"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

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Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: May 29 2007,12:19   

{Louis legs it in late, keeping his head down so as not to disturb the other punters}

Going back a teensy bit, I'm even more intolerant in person than on line. I'll let you absorb that scary little fact before I explain. I really am more intolerant of idiocy (be it mine, someone else's, religious, irreligious, whatever) in real life than it is physically possible to be on line. And before you ask, yes I have plenty of friends and can hold down a good job for more than six seconds! Now the explanation:

If my neighbour was to discuss their creationist homeschooling ideas with me, I would in no uncertain (but very polite) terms point out to them that such an "education" was at odds not merely with the vast majority of scientific consensus, but the uncontroversial facts of observed reality. With references, of which I just so happen to have many sitting in my house!*

Yes of course I would be nice and gentle (at least to start with! ;-) ) and yes of course if a street war was going to erupt were I to continue I would politely refuse to discuss the subject further.

The co-worker thing is even easier. If some guy/girl proselytises to you at work and you don't like it, tell him/her to shut up in the most professional and polite manner you can (i.e. not the words chosen above! ). Explain to them that you are currently a bit busy and not really interested, or at least not really interested. If they persist, delicately mention that, while you support their right to believe as they wish (even if you don't) the work environment/this specific situation is not the right place to discuss these matters. You are at work after all to...erm...work. If you really want to discuss things with the colleague in question then an after work public venue for a statedly off the record chat is a great place to do so.

If the bozo has not yet got the hint: repeat "Not interested" "Busy" "Not suitable" a few times with ever increasing degrees of bluntness. 99.9999% of people get the hint very early on. Actually going to your or their line manager early on is a bad idea. Give it some time, start documenting their attempts to proselytise, keep any literature they give you and so on. Build a reasonable and reasoned case. If they keep coming at you, i.e. they initiate these "discussions" at work, then after a few weeks you'll have a case to take to a manager. Trust me, no manager likes team problems, bringing this to them too early is going to be a pain in his or her arse he or she does not want. This basically falls under harassment in the workplace, and it's never good to be too sensitive about these things, a little tolerance and politeness goes a long way.

So we've had the nice.....

I have chased a street evangelist in London down the westbound Victoria line Underground platform at Victoria Station whilst whacking him with a copy of "The Selfish Gene" at rush hour. He was my second public proselytiser of the day and he was being bloody rude. I've made a bishop literally splutter off stage in a formal public debate at university, and I am on about every black list the Mormons, JWs and other door to door proselytisers can find (although this was at my old, recently sold, address.....hmmmm NEW FUN! ). I have in my day, harangued the street preachers at Speakers Corner. When sober too!

A personal favourite was when I was travelling from Kent (where I was working) via London to Bath (where my wife was doing her PhD) by train and all on all 3 sections of the journey was accosted by different members of the "Jesus Army" (google to find these odious cretins). The final chappie accosted me about 30 minutes into my train ride from London to Bath (the final leg of the journey) as I was quietly reading a book (coincidentally another Dawkins book "The Extended Phenotype"). He sat down opposite at the otherwise empty table booth I had secured for myself (as a regular train user there are ways to guarantee an undisturbed journey in a good seat**) and crooked a finger into the spine of my book and pulled it down whilst grinning at me.

Let THAT sink in.

I was reading. He pulled the book I was reading down without asking in advance. He then proselytised at me.

The English have gone to war for less.

I cocked a quizzical eyebrow at his grinning fizzog and spaketh he:

"Have you heard the glorious word of our Lord Jesus Christ?"

To which I began to grin in a feral way. You'd have thought this gave him some pause but no. He thought I was being nice and repeated the question in a more unctuous tone with an even bigger grin.

Still smiling, I asked in a nice, calm, quiet tone:

"You believe in god don't you?"

"Yes" he replied.

"You believe in heaven don't you?"

"Yes" he replied.

"You believe that god is in heaven don't you?"

He beamed at me, "Yes".

"You believe that when you die, you're going to heaven don't you?"

"Oh yes. I've been saved." was his response.

"And you'll meet god when you're there?"

"But of course" he said.

At this point I leant across the table, got my face as close to his as I could without touching it, and still grinning asked in a calm, quiet voice:

"How soon would you like this to happen?"

He ran.

So lots of words, most of them irrelevant, because the answer is this: one does what the situation demands. If some twat in a pub is harassing you and won't go away, you delicately take him outside an beat the piss out of him. If the old dear from across the street hands you a pamphlet every sunday, you smile sweetly at her and perhaps surreptitiously kill one of her cats. If you're in a public debate, you demolish them, if you're of a mind lobby your government and get involved with secular activism. If you're conscience pricks you and starving kids in Africa is your thing then give money, volunteer, lobby government. Better still, try to do as much as you can. Give regularly to well checked out charities, join Amnesty International and Liberty (or the ACLU etc). Get out there and volunteer.

Some of those suggestions are not entirely serious. Some are.

Louis

*I'd even offer to take kids on trips to museums etc and present at schools/churches etc, whatever they wanted basically. That's part of my role in society. I've been lucky enough to be born into a good family who could educate me well, I've enjoyed and taken those opportunities as and when I could,  the UK taxpayer has made some contribution to my education and I should, where appropriate give something back. As it stands I can only do this in my "free" time due to the reasons Wes and others so accurately expressed on a different thread. Sorry boys, girls and others, as a scientist, community outreach/education is part of our social responsibility. How we exercise this, i.e. in what specific manner we do it, is obviously up to us. Some people hate public speaking or schools outreach, some people hate writing letters to government or the media etc, some people just want to be on telly and consult on big name TV documentaries, some people just want to argue with their parents! Whatever way we choose, it's our duty to get the scientific method advertised.

** Volcanic coughing as anyone passes is a good one, although the most successful gambit to date is soft core pornography. A copy of playboy, preferably open but not too indelicately so, angled towards anyone who might wish to sit down works wonders. Women will avoid it, and men avoid it because they don't want to be associated with it. You, however, can be engrossed in another tome or publication and if questioned plead plausible deniablity. It does require some balls to pull it off however, no puns intended.

--------------
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Stephen Elliott



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(Permalink) Posted: May 29 2007,13:26   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 28 2007,16:05)
 
Quote
You do understand that the laws are different in the UK than the USA?


I guess i don't.

explain.

here, maybe this will help me:

If a Muslim evangelizes an Anglican at work, would that count as harrasment under this law?

if not, it sounds like the law is set up in a way that doesn't even protect the state religion, which would be rather ironic, I think.

earlier, you asked me what i want...

well, I guess I'm asking for a direct counter argument to the idea that we should try to dismantle creationism at all times and with all people, and that it is worth the risk to personal relationships to do so; and then equating the argument to the attempt to marginalize racism, and asking what the differences would be.

     
Quote
Any religion is free to try to get more members due to "evangalising". I don't think this is a bad thing.


I'm confused again.  so is a creationist converting your neighborhood to creationism also not a bad thing?

or do you mean that you think a creationist has every right to tell kids that dinosaurs lived with humans, the earth is 6k years old, and all scientists are evil atheist materialists.

I understand the "will to fairness" in thinking this is simply an issue of free speech, and they have every right to speak as they please...

but in many instances, they work hard to make sure the deck is stacked in their favor... like with the groups of sequestered kids, for example, or even simply by lying through their teeth.

In the US we have "hate" laws, that are meant to discourage ultra-racist propaganda, and are usually applied in the "incite to violence" fashion.

so, if this really were an issue of free speech, would there need to be "hate laws"?

my point is that I understand and sympathize with the "fairness" issue, and the right to free speech, but shouldn't we draw the line when the speaker's intent is to incite violence?

and, if the speaker's intent is to incite stupidity, couldn't that be just as dangerous?

another analogy:

say someone is fomenting open rebellion against the UK government, and goes on speeches around the country where they present a stream of lies to make the goverment look bad and try to create chaos and rebellion wherever they go.

do they still have a right to free speech?

should any citizen who knows better call them on their BS as soon as they see it, regardless of who the person is?

tough questions.

Holy shit! So many questions. I will try to answer.

Quote

If a Muslim evangelizes an Anglican at work, would that count as harrasment under this law?

I am not certain TBH. I doubt that it would providing the procrastinator was not too abusive. That would probably require a law case to define.

Quote

well, I guess I'm asking for a direct counter argument to the idea that we should try to dismantle creationism at all times and with all people, and that it is worth the risk to personal relationships to do so; and then equating the argument to the attempt to marginalize racism, and asking what the differences would be.


I don't really agree with that. IMO it is fine to have a creationist POV. It should be against the law to teach that as science though.

Quote


I'm confused again.  so is a creationist converting your neighborhood to creationism also not a bad thing?

or do you mean that you think a creationist has every right to tell kids that dinosaurs lived with humans, the earth is 6k years old, and all scientists are evil atheist materialists.

I think that it is OK for a creationist to speak that POV. I don't think it is OK to teach it as science. However should that said creationist be trying to encourage others to commit a crime for the good of God, that person should be thrown into jail.

Quote

my point is that I understand and sympathize with the "fairness" issue, and the right to free speech, but shouldn't we draw the line when the speaker's intent is to incite violence?

I think I have just covered that.

Quote

and, if the speaker's intent is to incite stupidity, couldn't that be just as dangerous?

another analogy:

say someone is fomenting open rebellion against the UK government, and goes on speeches around the country where they present a stream of lies to make the goverment look bad and try to create chaos and rebellion wherever they go.

do they still have a right to free speech?

Again. i think that is also covered.

I have probably missed a few. Sorry about that but feel free to point out my negligence.

  
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 29 2007,14:32   

Quote
I have chased a street evangelist in London down the westbound Victoria line Underground platform at Victoria Station whilst whacking him with a copy of "The Selfish Gene" at rush hour.


LOL

It's like i can see the whole thing.

marvelous.

--------------
"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 29 2007,14:39   

Quote
IMO it is fine to have a creationist POV.


so it's fine to be a racist, too, so long as one never tries to convince anybody else to be a racist?  how do you separate one from the other?  Have you ever met a real creationist that wasn't trying their damndest to convince you they're right?  It comes with the territory.

Quote
I doubt that it would providing the procrastinator was not too abusive.


now, I realize you aren't an extreme xian anymore, but what if you were, and a muslim started trying to tell you that Jesus simply wasn't divine.  I know a lot of xians who would find that more than abusive.

Quote
It should be against the law to teach that as science though.


Quote
However should that said creationist be trying to encourage others to commit a crime for the good of God, that person should be thrown into jail.


hmm.

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"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 29 2007,19:07   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 28 2007,23:25)
"kick em when they're down, and keep kicking em", or words to that effect.

all forgotten now, eh?

Not much point kicking a dead horse, though.  (shrug)

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Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
Richard Simons



Posts: 425
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 29 2007,20:17   

Quote
as a regular train user there are ways to guarantee an undisturbed journey in a good seat

My uncle recommended keeping people away by leering at them, beckoning and saying 'Come here' in an evil tone.

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All sweeping statements are wrong.

  
ScaryFacts



Posts: 337
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 29 2007,21:52   

Quote (Richard Simons @ May 29 2007,21:17)
Quote
as a regular train user there are ways to guarantee an undisturbed journey in a good seat

My uncle recommended keeping people away by leering at them, beckoning and saying 'Come here' in an evil tone.

Annual or even semi-annual bathing, talking (loudly) to yourself and sleeping at the convention center beneath the enterance veranda awning seems to do wonders for me.

At least with the tourists.

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 30 2007,04:01   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ May 30 2007,02:07)
Quote (Ichthyic @ May 28 2007,23:25)
"kick em when they're down, and keep kicking em", or words to that effect.

all forgotten now, eh?

Not much point kicking a dead horse, though.  (shrug)

I'm into sadomasochism, bestiality and necrophilia.*

Am I flogging a dead horse?**

Louis

*In real life, this is not true, I merely making teh funni.

**The old ones are the best.***

***This is also not true.

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Bye.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 30 2007,11:08   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 29 2007,14:39)
Quote
IMO it is fine to have a creationist POV.


so it's fine to be a racist, too, so long as one never tries to convince anybody else to be a racist?  how do you separate one from the other?  Have you ever met a real creationist that wasn't trying their damndest to convince you they're right?  It comes with the territory.

Quote
I doubt that it would providing the procrastinator was not too abusive.


now, I realize you aren't an extreme xian anymore, but what if you were, and a muslim started trying to tell you that Jesus simply wasn't divine.  I know a lot of xians who would find that more than abusive.

Your first question seems somewhat extreme to me. I wouldn't class creationism as being anywhere near equivalent to racism. But to answer that question, I do not consider being a racist as ok but it isn't ilegal either (and should remain that way) until someone starts to act upon it.

I have only ever met/spoken with 2 people (as far as I can remember) that self-identified themselves as creationists. Neither was unpleasant and neither tried to convert anyone that I am aware of.

Your last question sounds a tad loaded by including the word anymore. I have never (to my knowledge) been an extreme Christian although I suppose that would depend upon your idea of what construes extreme. Now I can't answer how I would feel if I held different views but as I am then I would be unlikely to be offended if a muslim (or anyone else) told me that Jesus wasn't devine (one caveat here:- It would depend upon how it was said). TBH I can't hold my hand upon my heart and say that I 100% believe Jesus even existed let alone was divine.

For me, the most offensive things said to me over the last 3 days by muslims at work are
Monday: "The government of the USA destroyed the twin towers."
And.
Today: "The US troops are blowing up the Mosques in Iraq. That is a fact because Muslims would never do such a thing."

They both resulted in lively dialogue.

  
ScaryFacts



Posts: 337
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 30 2007,15:49   

Quote (Stephen Elliott @ May 30 2007,12:08)
They both resulted in lively dialogue.


I wrote an article last year starting with the sentence "I hate a lesbian."

The premise was not that I hate lesbians, but that I hate just one in particular, not because she is a lesbian but because she is a jerk.

I suspect it's the same with every religion, or non-religion, or academic discipline:  There are great people and jerks everywhere.

When we start saying a particular belief system should be illegal--or "converting" people to or from that belief should be illegal--we are typically picturing the jerks who hold that belief.

But jerks make the world go round.  Without extremism we might just forget how imporant liberties are.  We need Nazi protestors to remind us everyone--even inbred white a55 holes--has a voice and we do too.

It's a very short walk from permantly giving up the liberties the Patriot Act took away and theocracy.

[/soapbox]

Oh and I wouldn't be in the least offended or even surprised if someone told me they didn't believe Jesus was divine or even existed.  I also wouldn't feel a need to "convert" them or argue with them.

Most non-Fundy Christian sects don't place the premium on "salvation by pleasing the manic-depressive Daddy God who is ready to smite them any instant" that fundy sects do.  Personal peace in my own faith is not bought by your agreement with me.

   
PennyBright



Posts: 78
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 31 2007,19:40   

*noting the thread is alive and kicking*

Louis - I love the feral smile and "How soon would you like this to happen?"  - I am so stealing that tactic.

Ichthyic (your nic sounds like something I'd be horrified to find in my aquarium) --  I appreciate your POV -- it's very much what I've been wondering myself - whether the issue is worth losing the friendship over,  whether the friendship is worth being quiet on the issue over.

The larger sticking point here is that this isn't my friendship - it's my daughters.   She and the daughter of these folks are best friends.   I like them well enough personally - I'd be happy to bbq across the backyards with them, or trade kids to take to the pool.   But that's not exactly the same as being friends with them myself.

  What I have decided to do is this -- talk normally about things when they arise,  and offer good resources if asked.   I won't bring the topic up, and I won't be rude or insulting about it if it does come up.   And I'm not going to censor myself -- if I'd make a comment about evolution in a conversation that comes up,  I'm still going to make it.  (This actually happened this evening - we got to talking about disease processes and historical diseases.  The kids were playing with a dead bird.)

  I do agree with Ich here, in general terms -- it's just as important to be carrying the message "science is good - it works"  across the backyard fences, as it is to be carrying it in the public fora.

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Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affectation, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood. - Shakespeare (reputedly)

  
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 31 2007,20:00   

good luck, penny.

btw:

http://www.yourdictionary.com/ahd/i/i0013500.html

not to be confused with:

http://freshaquarium.about.com/cs/disease/p/ich.htm

cheers

--------------
"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
PennyBright



Posts: 78
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 31 2007,20:11   

Thanks for the good wishes!

I love that the picture illustrating ich shows a white cloud minnow - I've got a shoal of em in my tank  *rofl*.

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Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affectation, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood. - Shakespeare (reputedly)

  
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 31 2007,20:18   

yeah, it might be the single most common parasite afflicting aquarium fishes.

it's not usually the parasite that kills the fish, but the secondary bacterial and fungal infections that result from the tissue damage the critters cause.

OTOH, occasionally with a bad gill infection, the parasites themselves can end up killing the fish.

nasty little buggers, no matter how you look at it.

pretty easy to treat, though.

good luck with your fish, too.

:)

--------------
"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 01 2007,03:38   

Quote
I do agree with Ich here, in general terms -- it's just as important to be carrying the message "science is good - it works"  across the backyard fences, as it is to be carrying it in the public fora.


Given our (as a species) very social primate-like proclivities, I'd say it was more important! We receive much of our "opinion" from our immediate social environment, perhaps more than it is comfortable to admit sometimes. The conversation rarely has to get more technical than the "you'd buy a second hand car on faith alone? Wow! I have this Ferrari for sale, yeah I know it looks like a Fiat, but it's really a Ferrari" type tongue in cheek, matey banter.

I have VERY rarely encountered someone who is genuinely antiscience in person. I'm including all sorts of hippy pot smoking beach buddies in this (and I have many!) as well as our usual chums the middle class pseudo relativist and the freaky religious loon bag. Oh they hold a few antiscience views, but cut their leg off and they don't rub a mixture of aloe vera and echinacea on it whilst praying to shiva under an oak tree at a cross roads on the third sunday after pentacost at midnight, they run (well, hop) to the nearest hospital for some of that good old fashion science based medicine that at least works most of the time as opposed to none of it. We get crises of faith from Jehovah's Witlesses needing blood tranfusions, creationists who have problems with fundamental physics working as engineers etc etc etc but they all use and know reason and scientific methodology to do their basic day to day stuff. Making that link for them, with them, is at least as valuable as a massive public outreach campaign.

Louis

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Bye.

  
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