No, I haven't gone completely mad.

 

I've been reading Dale Carnegie's seminal work, "How to convince your publisher that a really long title is a good idea, honestly"

 

OK, jokes aside - the summary is here on Wikipedia and makes for interesting reading:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_to_Win_Friends_and_Influence_People

 

Crucially, Carneigie (through his own, painful experience over a quote from Shakespeare wrongly attributed to the Bile) observes that you should never correct someone else's argument - even when they are painfully and obviously wrong.

 

Literal creationists (call them what we will) have suffered a terrible education - and a dishonest one, in our view. Yes, they are wrong, but telling them as much only actually strengthens their belief in their own error!

 

To make it doubly hard for us, if this obstacle wasn't enough, the truth is perhaps the most painful of all. They have been told that they will live forever, ya-de-ya and we're telling them:

 

a) They do not matter one iota in the grand scheme of things

b) No ethereal being gives a fuck - because the ethereal being is a figment of their imagination.

c) They are animals - little different from the apes in the zoo.

d) They are going to die - quite soon in real terms and for most of them, a in very short time, there will be nothing left save for the replicated strands of a complex chemical and perhaps a few memories.

 

So, the reason for this discussion is to find other ways - perhaps based on Carnegie's advice (it's good, but you should read the book) - of convincing these poor, terrified creatures that:

a) Life is actually worth something;

b) Science is like a fractal - the deeper you look, the more you see.

c) Death is part of a natural order and they have nothing to fear, save for the fear of death itself. The will live on in the memories of the people they touch (in a good way).

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hahaha man I'm using this.
In a lot of respects I have to wonder; why bother trying to teach these people anything in the first place?  Who really gives a shit about winning an argument with them?  They're steeped in fallacy and quite frankly you cannot prove something wrong which has no foothold in reality -- the tricky part if getting someone to believe that foofaraw, and after you've accomplished that, it almost becomes a function of the hypothalamus.  It becomes a case of "born to lose, live to win."

 

Of course, it is their children we need to get at---by having well-prepared atheists teach at their schools.

But that's just a dream at present. 

 

When I was young I thought that the population percentage of atheists would rise steadily as the years passed and religious inanities get increasingly exposed in the face of science with all its wonders and discoveries. 

 

But I was wrong. Religious belief has a terrifyingly tenacious hold on certain sorts of people---christians and muslims alike. Their children are indoctrinated when young into the fear and lies of religion. The selected better parts of the 'holy' books get endlessly repeated, while the many horrifying bits (killings, retributions, genocides etc) are largely overlooked. 

 

This is so awfully true. I watched from the sidelines yesterday, as a group of "evolutionists" (as the lame-brains call us) argued with Eric Hovind on the Dr Dino site.

 

Science geeks like us (for the most part) rely on evidence and specific example; Hovind and his supporters relied on fallacy and bluff - believing every word he said. In one exchange (which is still open) they discussed what creationist scientists have done for us.

 

The usual suspects were lined up including Issac Newton plus a number from current or recent science. Not one had anything to add to biology; and only one had any sort of qualification in a related topic: a PhD in paleontology under Stephen J Gould in fact. Gould will be spinning in his grave.

 

While several commentators did go to some pain to explain this and other fallacy, I felt that they were only preaching to the altar.

 

I've been asked to teach but refuse to on the grounds that if any student of mine claims they don't believe in evolution or that it's just a "theory" I fear they would be a physical exchange.

From what I've read recently most people don't even think about this stuff - it just doesn't matter to them - I suppose they are just getting on with living their lives - day to day and don't much think about their world view - as they don't perhaps see it as making much difference -
I think it's important to make people think about this stuff so they're more informed when they vote. Vote for things like school vouchers that give tax dollars to private religious schools (Scott Walker, WI), teaching creationism in public schools, or limit access to abortions.

Damn right.

 

It may be worthwhile to examine our culture outside of religion too - exploding some of the vestigial teachings of recent times (clean your plate, etc.) might help to open the debate on what is relevant today; and religion is not.

A long time ago, I had a cardboard plaque with the following printed on it:

 

It is impossible to debate a person who will not handicap himself with a knowledge of the facts.

-- Anon

 

By the same token, it is equally impossible to hold a sensible discussion which attempts to bridge the gap between rationality and determined and sometimes purposeful irrationality.  The fundamentalist theist knows what he or she believes and has no interest in facts, however well documented or proven they may be.  To admit to a fact which contravenes their belief would be to deny their belief, an action they will not consciously consider.

Even as many if not most of us came to the conclusion on our own that god and religion were non-working concepts, they will have to come to the same conclusion on their own, if they come to it at all.  Certainly, we serve a purpose by countering their irrationality and maintaining our position, but until they GET IT THEMSELVES, arguing with them will in most cases prove fruitless.

It is impossible to debate a person who will not handicap himself with a knowledge of the facts.

-- Anon

 

I'm going to have that put on a car sticker and a tee-shirt.

I've been looking for plushy squid toys at rummage sales to throw at people who make stupid remarks like "I've never been a big fan of evolution" (true comment).

So far I haven't found any though.

 

For me it's not about fighting the teachers of this bull, its about the fence-riders. Those that instinctively feel something is amiss and they can not put their finger on it. The videos I make are for that person. Just enough to make them ask a couple critical questions about their own belief. I have never had someone tell me they were convinced by a vid I made, and I don't think I ever will. But somewhere, out there, is a soul crying out for reason but not knowing where to look. If by happenstance he watches one of my videos and is posed a question he cannot answer within his scripture, every thing I have ever done in my life will have been worth it to be a part of someone recognizing their own ability to question, and not be satisfied with a biblical answer. You Can win! Although you may never know it, and that is fine.
1. debating creationists (for the most part) is not to convince them but to inform the people watching/listening/reading.
1a. kent hovind is best ignored but his ignorance helps push any people who are on the fence.
1b. people who are as bad as hovind though need to be dealt with carefully; so only people who are good at debating creationists
1c. i have won several unofficial debates and they need to be handled VERY CAREFULLY.

2. http://www.thegreatcourses.com/tgc/courses/course_detail.aspx?cid=4691
2a. this does an amazing job at deconstructing creation movements
2b. tells why in a clear and concise manner why ID is BS using primary and secondary causation to answer why methodological naturalism is required

3. your a,b,c,d are poor arguments against creationism because those are atheistic positions not scientific positions (by necessity science cannot address primary causation as mentioned in 2b)
3a. creationism is not to hard to get around as it is used to back up their believe in god
http://www.youtube.com/user/Evid3nc3#grid/user/A0C3C1D163BE880A
Evid3nc3 has put it best in my opinion setting up a web where all nodes are only there to prop up the main believe in god.
if i didn't write it clear enough you can scientifically prove evolution to the creationists satisfaction and that will not affect their believe in god. William lane Craig put it bluntly that even if someone took him back in time and he watch jesus' body rot he would still believe

for the last part i think most christians accept a,c

i hope this added to the conversation

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