November 25, 2008


At some point in the comments on the previous post, Fred said, "I don't see why you bother." He meant by that statement, why do I bother with these posts about skepticism, about critical thinking, about atheism? The irony in the question is that Fred is a perfect example of why I bother.

Here we have Fred, not uneducated, clearly intelligent, worldly and experienced, a self-professed agnostic verging on atheist, a believer in evolution, and yet... And yet, there he is in the comments section of my blog, repeating every anti-science talking point in the Answers In Genesis debunk-the-Darwinists playbook. Now, I'm pretty sure Fred doesn't even know who Answers In Genesis is, but he knows how to parrot all of their dishonest arguments. I mean, we could start a drinking game here. Take a drink of your beer every time Fred repeats another AIG anti-science canard. Hey, here's the "evolution is just a theory" angle ::slurp:: Oh, look, it's the "where are the transitional fossils" rebuttal ::gulp:: Whoops, did he just say, "belief in evolution requires faith?" ::guzzle:: Whoa, we've been playing for, what, thirty seconds? I'm already tipsy. I hope he doesn't bring up the 'crocoduck.' Rules say I gotta down a whole bottle in one go for that one.

Fred is an illustration of just how successful the propaganda machine of the evangelical Christian right is in America. They have been able to reach right into his psyche and supplant any kind of science knowledge Fred may have once had with their own mis-information. And he isn't even the slightest bit aware of what is wrong with the points he has been raising here. Why, in his most recent comment to date, he says that evolution "isn't the most solid theory science has going." Yet, all he'd have to do is read the link I suggested in my very first reply to him to find that statement is inaacurate. Evolution, as a scientific "theory," is more solidly supported by concrete evidence than any other scientific theory in existence. We are more sure of evolution than we are of how gravity works. But the religious right would have him deny that truth, in favour of their own 'truth.' They would have us all deny any evidence that seems to contradict their slap-dash collection of 3000 year-old folk tales.

And they're winning. Fred is the evidence of that. They are slowly, but surely chipping away at the foundations of right and reason the founding fathers of the United States used as the basis for their vision of a new country. They are creating a nation of Freds; a nation of people who just don't care; a nation of people who think science is something that never touches their lives.

Why do I bother? Why don't you bother? I cannot understand why every single person with a basic understanding of science isn't standing up in the public square and calling out The Discovery Institute, and Answers In Genesis, and all their ilk for the liars and deceivers they are.

Come on, point and laugh. It's what they deserve.


Anonymous said...

Admit it.
You've been standing back and watching me dash myself to pieces on the rocks of his ignorance haven't you?
Was it amusing?
Please tell it was amusing.
At least then I can take solace in the fact that it did some good!

Kate said...

Well said Paul - I've come in on this a bit late - it took me a while to read your posts and the comments. I absolutely 100% agree with you. But it is so difficult to reason with people who refuse to use the reason that they were born with. Keep putting you clear, logical, rational reasoning out there. If only one person listens, and decides to think and investigate for themselves you have done a great job (even if they reach conclusions different to yours, then at least they have thought things through for themselves). Having said that, the evidence for evolution is overwhelming and it is truly anachronistic to argue against it.


natalie said...

tisk tisk
your "level playing field" has been reduced to
"level stoning fields"
and hey Paul
if you're stoning people who aren't reading this, who volunteer at their church to feed the homeless and house them, who provide free daycare to families in need and who truly care about the needs of their communities who are you helping?
I might add that there are many Christian churches that are far more inclusive of many different groups, beliefs and races than your comments here are.
I might add that many Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu and others are too
I'm sad now

Alec said...

Paul is certainly more...blunt with some of his phrasings than I tend to be, but I'm curious which specific comments in the above post you found not inclusive and objectionable.

From my reading, it seems Paul was commenting on specific actions of a specific segment of a religion, a segment whose problems are recognized by many religious people.

I'm not sure what feeding the homeless or providing free daycare have to do with any point raised here. I don't recall Paul or others ever denying that religious people and institutions often do good works, but such works don't excuse everything.

That would be like saying that because one of my uncles volunteers his time to charity we should ignore my other uncle that likes to exercise by beating cats over the head with a toddler. The good on one hand doesn't mean we shouldn't discuss and sometimes--yes, if severe enough--even criticize and condemn problems or unfair behavior on the other hand.

You say:
"I might add that there are many Christian churches that are far more inclusive of many different groups, beliefs and races than your comments here are."

Again, just to clarify, I have to ask which comment of Paul's was being exclusionary of a particular 'race'?

Also, while I grant it is extremely tricky to know where to draw the line, do you recognize that sometimes there are beliefs which we *shouldn't* be inclusive about? Sure, I may not believe in god and am willing to discuss why, but I think I'm accepting of most religions, even if I happen to disagree with their main precept. But when certain parts of a religion willfully and dishonestly try to undercut education with half-truths and outright lies, then no, I'm not going to be "inclusive."

Call me Paul said...

Thank you to Alex for his able defence of my writing here. Natalie, do you understand what Alex is saying? I did not, in either of my two most recent blog articles, say that ALL Christians think one way, or another, or behave one way, or another. I simply talk about statements and behaviours that are visibly present in our society. If you think I am talking about you, that is you transferring that meaning to yourself, because I am not pointing at anyone but those who are explicitly and publicly spreading the misinformation I have been talking about.

As a moderate Christian, I would expect you to be even more outraged about people like Ken Hamm because he is lying to people about you. He is presenting himself and his views as representative of Christianity in general, and you should be upset about that even more than I am.

natalie said...

I expect you and Alex to be smarter than you position yourself in this entry.
Nota Bene: You both know that for the most parts people who take the time to worship in a church or a temple and do volunteer work do not cast out the rest of humanity.
You even have family who believe in God Paul

Alec said...

Natalie, I have to admit I really wish you'd answered some of my questions because it might help me understand where you are coming from with any of this.

You say you expect me to be smarter than I'm positioning myself. That obviously isn't working because to my eye your latest response seems to either completely miss or simply ignore our attempts to clarify what Paul *is* saying. Maybe instead of expecting me to be smarter you could for the moment assume I'm foolish and help me out here.

What exactly do *you* think our position is?

And how does this position in ANY way relate to those churchgoers that aren't exclusionary or misleading, or to Paul having family that believes in a god?

Help me out here! I don't know as much Latin as you, so I'll have to settle for quoting the great Inigo Montoya: "I do not think it means what you think it means."

natalie said...

I did go back and visit the original post you were commenting on Paul.
Actually many children are now feeling the brunt edge of discrimination in schools and rec centers.
The government has seen to it that children of different religions including Christianity, Judaism, Sheiks, Hindus who wish to pray may not> it is encouraged that these children are made fun of.
It is encouraged that these children are laughed at in class.
It is not true that we can have a say on whether or not we as Americans may have a historical bronze copy of the Ten Commandments near government buildings as a historical monument.
This offends Jews Christians and can offend anyone who cares about history in this country, for that is how we started out.
It is not true that we can have any say on whether the Eye of God, historical drawn up by Washington , Adams and Jefferson, may appear on our money.
Do you see where I am going with this?
Why may we not as private citizens uphold our own history as a nation? yes we have grown a good deal and now we are way more multicultural and broad in religion.Good Heavens, that does not mean we drop our Jude o Christian roots in the trash can .
I respectfully submit this for your consideration Paulo.
I know that you only mean the best

Cathy said...

Paul tell me this isn't your first experience with the "Prevaricating Majority" they've been lying for eons most likely to keep the sheeple in their proper pens. I sometimes think they're winning too, but this particular fight can't be a right or wrong equation, surely someone will always pop out with "Yeah but what about..." ad naus., and you'll have to re-think all you thought was researched in stone. If we're to keep evolving, as I hope, the answers won't be as important because the questions will become moot. Perfect example: a craft lands in Times Square and the alien who walks out is an old man with a long white beard and robe, carrying a book. Irony of ironies.