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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Are you reading?

OK, I did not think too much about what would be my first post about. But I am truly curious:

Would people who just read stuff tell me if it is worth doing this much effort to debunk the same all same, already debunked, and re-debunked crap that the likes of Ray post? I know the fundies do not listen, so who does? Does this help you when confronted with fundies in real life? Do you have any experience confronting fundies and got stuck because you did not know how to answer but now you know better? Did your understanding of evolution get better? Do you learn something new because we make these efforts?

So what do you think guys?



  1. For the most part, I don't think it makes much difference.To Someone like Ray and Vera and Emily and All Fired Up and Mark W. Laine and all the rest, Christianity is the most important think in their lives. They devote everything to it. It simply cannot be wrong. There can be no room for doubt, because that doubt will grow. But then, every so often, there's someone like Dan Barker.Of whom, because he says he's no longer a Christian, Ray and his followers will say he was never a true Christian. If Ray, or Terry Burton, or vera, or Mark W. Laine or any of the others come to the conclusions that Dan Barker did, the rest of them with just say, well he was never a true christian in the first place. So, responding and debunking over and over again is usually like pounding your head against the wall, but maybe someone will at least begin to think, and to see through Ray Comfort's quote mining, and his ego. It doesn't hurt to hope.

  2. I have to agree with Rufus, here, however I have learned a LOT from reading you GE. I also read Steven J, Clos, and all the ones that lay it out in layman's terms, even if I already know what you're talking about. It helps get a fresh perspective every time.

  3. When I started encountering people online who flatly denied what I had learned in science classes, what graduated me from high school, my teenage time love the dinosaurs, I was amazed. How could these people claim that every jot and tittle I'd read, everything I'd learned since I was ten years old, was wrong? So I went and tried to learn why they are wrong. I bought books on evolution and genetics, read scientific articles and sites like talk.origins and so on. It builds my knowledge, which is in itself reward enough, and it boosts my confidence.
    Always think of the lurkers. They are the people who will post on rdnet, ex-christian, or ex-muslim sites one day, confirming that knowledge and truth win, more and more often.
    Think of the middle-aged and older citizens who are surrounded by the indoctrinated, one day set free by finding out why they are different, that it is possible to be different for very good reasons, and to be free and open to the universe.
    For some, pages like this small one and the large ones are the only clear-thinking and communication spaces available.

  4. Good point, Felix.

    Honestly, I've been wondering lately - would I even be an atheist now if it wasn't for the internet? I'm not entirely confident that the answer would be yes. Pretty sure - just not absolutely sure. (Oh crap, that statement is going to attract Sye to this post!)

  5. lance,
    that gave me the lulz. I imagine Sye having a programmed search engine, trawling the web for occurrances of the word 'absolute'. I see him gathering the results in a long list, and then jumps from page to page, pouncing on posters like a toothless tiger-bunny crossbreed.

  6. GE,

    Although commenting at Ray's site may seem like an exercise in futility, most of those type of sites will continue to draw non-believers to challenge them.
    Of course the site owners have a vested interest having traffic to the site, and their vocal minions are so totally deluded by this time, there may seem to be no hope for them.

    It is the people who do not comment that I think you are reaching.
    There are a great deal of closet agnostics out there who, once they find a venue to look at the arguements, become more confident at expressing themselves. To me, that is the way that free speech works. The predominance of the fundy sites are closed memberships or are so closely censored that there is no use trying.

    Speaking of closet agnostics, all one needs to do to be a christian in this country to be accepted as a christian (by most people) is to say they are a christian- bingo- conversation strain avoided.

    Greta Chistina has a new article dealing with this phenomenon.
    Do y'all want to play a game? It's a game with a semi- serious point, about theology and whether people's religious practices line up with what they claim to believe. But for now, let's just start with the game.

    The title is "...Do Believers really Believe what they say they Believe?"

    Fundies like to constantly point out that athiests are the most hated in our society. They want to try to perpetuate this because they know that once the gates to free thinking come open just a bit more, droves of atheists/ agnostics will come out in the open as we see happening on the internet right now.

    Having said all that, I think it is important to keep the message alive and communicated at all levels all the time.
    Much has been accomplished in my life.

    At one time no one in their right mind would send a letter of our local paper criticising religion. They would have got their house burned down. Now, those letter apprear with regularity.

    Thanks for your help and keep writing! /d

  7. Thanks for all your points guys. I have to say that I also learned a hell of a lot. For instance, I never read about presuppositionalism before in my life. Also, Steven J's explanations are so beautiful and simple to understand that, even though I knew about those things, it helps me explain it better to other people, and so on, and so forth.

    FD, I am glad I was able to be clear. I have this feeling that once we become scientists we make it more obscure than necessary to the layperson. We inadvertently mystify things that should not be mystifies at all in the first place.


  8. I agree with what others have said and yeah, there are people that read that don't comment and definitely there's someone out there in internet land thats being prodded into critically examining their faith.

    I was thinking, we have a diverse spectrum of expertise in this group. Maybe it would be a good idea to have like an open question thread. Not just to confront fundies but to increase our own knowledege. As in, people could pose questions in areas they are curious about and if someone has knowledge in that area they could give the answer or recommend a book or something. It doesn't just have to be about evolution, but anything...physics, geology, history, literature or whatever.

    Does anybody else think this is a good idea? Is there a way to make a 'sticky' blog post?

  9. I haven't been updating my own blog much lately, with posting here and with the nice weather and all... what I like here and certain other blogs is the exchange of information through discussion and especially the sharing of links to viable and pertinent sites.

    Of course you get none of that over at Raytard's site.

    I'll take advantage of this as much as I can because you are a bunch of pretty smart cookies, in my book, and I love an environment of exchange.

    Refuting Ray and his minions is also rather fun and infinitely better than reading the comics in the Sunday Times.

    I see things have come to a crawl over "there" but, I think it was Ed Brayton at "Culture Wars" that had a screen shot from Google up a couple weeks ago that show that traffic to religious sites dropped by almost two thirds in the last of July and August, which I suppose is natural since people are vacationing and such. Especially up in this neck of the woods we don't get enough summer to begin with.

  10. Does anybody else think this is a good idea? Is there a way to make a 'sticky' blog post?

    We could make a link at the top of the page. I think it's a good idea, so long as the experts are willing.

    I'm not sure if I could be one. I mean, unless you want to ask questions about Hamlet, beer or Batman I guess.

  11. It's easy to place text (with html) at the top of the page, though I'm pretty limited with being the 2nd Batman reference, computers (Mac, *nix, & Winders), Pens, and 80s/90s cartoons

  12. We could all get drunk and talk about Batman. That sounds good to me, too
    Anybody seen the Dark Knight? I heard that is supposed to be really good. I don't know though...Adam West will always be the real Batman to me.

  13. GE,

    It's worth it. You've no idea how much moral support I get from knowing that there are intelligent people out there who aren't willing to let ignorance stand unquestioned, I'm sure there are plenty of others who feel the same way.

    It doesn't have to be for the purpose of deconverting believers (though garret seemed to benefit from that), it can just be for the purpose of silencing that little voice in the back of your head that starts screaming when it hears someone say those dreaded words; "...just a theory."


    Great idea, I think there's a lot of expert knowledge and experience that could be tapped into around here (Lance: who doesn't want to learn about Hamlet, Beer and Batman?). I think one sticky for that and one to welcome new contributors/commentators would do us just fine.

  14. ***Warning***
    ***Opinion and Conjecture contained within***

    The Dark Knight is AMAZINGLY good. Heath Ledger's Joker will be (in my opinion) THE Joker that people think of when they refer to him. He's scary. He also has one of the best introductions and character defining moments in a long time in a movie with his "magic trick". The rest of the cast was good. Eckhart was excellent as Two Face, but Ledger was so good, that he overshadows the rest by a mile.

  15. Guys,

    Thanks again. I agree that having sticky posts with questions is a good idea. I do not know properly what my expertise would be, because my interests are varied, and have varied. In any event I can argue about Batman very little, but might help with other things. It is a matter of asking and then whomever takes it is fine. :-)


  16. Lance: who doesn't want to learn about Hamlet, Beer and Batman

    Assholes, that's who.

    Heh. Oh, and my thoughts on The Dark Knight are on my blog.

  17. I think this blog and others like it are great. Some may say its just "preaching to the choir" but usually that's because the only people that comment are either similar thinking people or the people like sye etc who will never change their minds.

    As mostly all of you have said, there are probably plenty of fence sitting readers who may cross over to the rational side after reading the posts and comments.

    Personally this blog does help me somewhat when I encounter fundies. I've been an atheist as long as I can remember but I never put much thought into it til recently. I feel that I have learned quite a bit from blogs such as this one and books that I heard about through blogs, so when people I know say ridiculous things about their god, and about science they obviously know nothing about, I can counter their claims with actual evidence.

    Though my mom thinks I'm brainwashed for this... go figure.


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