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Author Topic:   Do we talk up or down to fundies?
jar
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Posts: 31760
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 16 of 73 (396693)
04-21-2007 6:55 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by obvious Child
04-21-2007 6:19 PM


Re: Learning is a "Learned skill"
So how do you fix this? Can it be fixed?

Perhaps it can be fixed but it will not be either easy or fast. As long as the Televangelists and the Pastors and the folk at AIG and ICR and Discovery Institute have the bucks rolling in they won't change.

We as in this site or we as the education system of America?

Mostly the US education system.

How do you do this when their previous education has failed them and they have turned to something that is the anti-thesis of testing, discrimination, challenge and critical thinking?

Slowly and the same way you eat an elephant, one bite at a time.

The thing to remember is that even though you fail almost every time every once in a while you do get through. And once someone learns how to learn, unless they are dishonest they will never go back to the Christian Cult of Ignorance.

What we can do is keep pointing to small basics. Try to stick to one point until it is clear, do not let them do a Gish Gallop or Palm the Pea, do not let them misdirect attention so they can move the dancin goalposts.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion

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ringo
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Posts: 17653
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 17 of 73 (396715)
04-21-2007 8:22 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by obvious Child
04-21-2007 6:16 PM


obvious child writes:

For us to do what you intend would require us to follow them around. I don't see that as a feasible proposal given that many creationists go on many different boards.

Eradicating creationism isn't feasible - fighting it is.

Essentially, it's a fight where only the audience counts. If an evo destroys a creo argument with Ph.D. level science, the audience has to be able to understand it or nothing is accomplished. It doesn't matter if the creo understands it.

Only the audience wins or loses.


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Taz
Member (Idle past 1629 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 18 of 73 (396723)
04-21-2007 9:03 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by ringo
04-21-2007 8:22 PM


Ringo writes:

Essentially, it's a fight where only the audience counts. If an evo destroys a creo argument with Ph.D. level science, the audience has to be able to understand it or nothing is accomplished. It doesn't matter if the creo understands it.

Only the audience wins or loses.


I completely agree. I've watched many many many debates between Ph.D. people and preachers who earned their degrees in fundy-land. What you said is essentially what I've observed.

For example, there was one particular debate between an astronomer and a creationist that I went to. I can't remember their names. The topic was something like scientific evidence that supports old earth/young earth... or something like that. Since I have a background in physics, I knew exactly what the astronomer was talking about. The problem I saw with the astronomer's presentation was that most of his stuff were Ph.D. stuff, and most of the audience members came on buses from local parishes. He presented graphs and mathematical equations that even I had trouble keeping up with. Essentially, I got the feeling that he tried to treat the debate like a college mini-semester class... too much information in too little time. He concluded his presentation and hardly anyone applauded because most people didn't understand a thing he said.

On the other hand, the creationist presented typical fundy bullshits and he got big applauses every other minute. He was also a much better public speaker than the astronomer.

It's been my belief for a while that such public debate actually hurts our cause more than helps it. First of all, us science nerds don't organize buses to take people to the debate, they do... with whole congregations. When it comes to information, they have the advantage because they can throw out any bullshit they want and get applauses while anything we present that is more complicated than 2+2=4 will only result in silence of confusion among the audience. Heck, they can even lie outright and there's nothing we can do about it.

Take the 2nd law of thermodynamics argument from the creo side, for example. All they have to say is the 2nd law states that chaos will only increase while order will only decrease, disproving evolution, which states that simpler organisms "evolve" into more complex organism over time. Any child can hear that statement, understand it, and agree with it wholeheartedly. I honestly can't refute that statement without giving a whole lecture on the laws of thermodynamics, how a cell make uses of these laws, and how evolution doesn't state that simple organisms "evolve" into more complex organisms over time. But in a public debate, one is only given like 2 minutes to refute that statement. How the flying fuck can one make it clear to the audience that that statement is an outright strawman, not to mention a lie?


Disclaimer:

Occasionally, owing to the deficiency of the English language, I have used he/him/his meaning he or she/him or her/his or her in order to avoid awkwardness of style.

He, him, and his are not intended as exclusively masculine pronouns. They may refer to either sex or to both sexes!


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obvious Child
Member (Idle past 2453 days)
Posts: 661
Joined: 08-17-2006


Message 19 of 73 (396737)
04-21-2007 9:42 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by ringo
04-21-2007 8:22 PM


quote:
Only the audience wins or loses.

Therefore we need to follow these creationists around. I don't see this as a feasible plan.


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obvious Child
Member (Idle past 2453 days)
Posts: 661
Joined: 08-17-2006


Message 20 of 73 (396740)
04-21-2007 9:45 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by jar
04-21-2007 6:55 PM


Re: Learning is a "Learned skill"
quote:
And once someone learns how to learn, unless they are dishonest they will never go back to the Christian Cult of Ignorance.

Perhaps, but they aren't the big problems. It is the rampant shotgun wash rinse repeat creationists that are the problem. How do we deal with them?

quote:
do not let them do a Gish Gallop or Palm the Pea, do not let them misdirect attention so they can move the dancin goalposts.

Ah, but you won't be discussing anything then as 99% of creationists when denied those tactics flee.


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Minnemooseus
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Posts: 3779
From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
Member Rating: 5.3


Message 21 of 73 (396745)
04-21-2007 9:56 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by Taz
04-21-2007 9:03 PM


Why not to debate with creationists, and how to do it if you must
It's been my belief for a while that such public debate actually hurts our cause more than helps it.

Recently I did a fair amount of reading on the subtitles theme. Unfortunately, at the moment I can't find the prime webpage I liked so much.

A couple of (Talk Origins) pages I did track down are:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/debating/globetrotters.html and
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/debating/gish.html

The site I liked so much contained something along the lines of:

"Be prepared for a "Gish gallop" presentation from the creationist. Then DON'T try to refute every point of the gallop. Instead, point out to the audience that the creationist is doing a gallop, presenting more erroneous arguments than it is practical to refute in a short time period. Then select one or two of the creationists points and demolish them".

Moose

Edited by Minnemooseus, : Fixed a "in in" to "in a".


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jar
Member
Posts: 31760
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 22 of 73 (396753)
04-21-2007 10:11 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by obvious Child
04-21-2007 9:45 PM


Re: Learning is a "Learned skill"
Perhaps, but they aren't the big problems. It is the rampant shotgun wash rinse repeat creationists that are the problem. How do we deal with them?

Patiently. Hopefully with understanding.

Ah, but you won't be discussing anything then as 99% of creationists when denied those tactics flee.

True. They usually do run away. But remember that it is folk like that who give you the opportunity to present reasonable and rational material. Don't try to convince the person you are holding the conversation with. Present the best possible argument for your position regardless.

Most folk are not dumb and the far larger audience is not the person you are posting with, but the many many lurkers who read but never post.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion

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Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 1935 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006


Message 23 of 73 (396765)
04-21-2007 10:59 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by Taz
04-21-2007 9:03 PM


illustrations
Taz:

Take the 2nd law of thermodynamics argument from the creo side, for example. All they have to say is the 2nd law states that chaos will only increase while order will only decrease, disproving evolution, which states that simpler organisms "evolve" into more complex organism over time. Any child can hear that statement, understand it, and agree with it wholeheartedly. I honestly can't refute that statement without giving a whole lecture on the laws of thermodynamics[...] But in a public debate, one is only given like 2 minutes to refute that statement. How the flying fuck can one make it clear to the audience that that statement is an outright strawman, not to mention a lie?

Stop trying to 'expose' your opponent. Just take anything from that side of the stage as raw material. Be a teacher.

Two everyday examples.

1. Notebook Computer

Plug it into the wall and you have a constant power supply. The effect of entropy is indefinitely forestalled.

Unplug the computer and run it on the battery. You can see the law of entropy do its work in a matter of hours.

The earth is like that notebook computer. As long as the sun burns, the earth has more than enough energy coming from outside it to fuel all its life processes.

Let the sun go dark and the world would be running on its own power reserves. The effects of entropy on our planet would become evident very quickly.

2. Evolution of Child to Adult

This illustration may be stated very quickly. But if you have time, I recommend a bit of dialogue even if it burns most of your turn. People will remember the point and the interaction helps you develop some rapport with the audience.

Find a gregarious young adult in the room and ask that person a series of questions. Where do you go to school? To church? Can you say your name? Do you understand the words 'entropy'? 'trinity'? 'atonement'? 'thermodynamics'? How tall are you? What languages do you know? Do you go to the bathroom by yourself?

Then ask how many of these things were true of the person at age three months. None of them, of course.

Feign disbelief. 'I am shocked, shocked, to hear of such a thing!' you say. 'Do you seriously expect me to believe that once you were shorter than you are today, couldn't speak any languages at all, couldn't even go to the bathroom by yourself--and now, here you are?'

Everyone enjoys a chuckle. Sure, says the person.

Object. This cannot be so, you say. This person has just asserted that a complex form of life (adult) evolved over time from a simpler form of life (infant). This is impossible because--according to the logic the creo debater just used--it violates the second law of thermodynamics.

The only realistic thing to believe is that once this person was a genius who stood 24 feet tall and spoke seventeen world languages. The individual we see today who is shorter and only speaks 1-4 languages is the product of entropy.

If time permits, point to children in the audience. 'Are they growing as you did?' you ask. Yes, of course they are. 'Then why can't I see them growing?'

Then drop the persona. Your objection, of course, is fallacious. There's nothing strange about babies growing up to become adults. There's no one day when it all happens, either. It's a process. But we know it happens. It's normal.

Then draw the conclusion: yes, ultimately--in this universe--entropy gets everything. But as long as the sun offers light and heat to drive all earth's life processes, growth and development can take place. Even change from simple to complex life forms. This young adult you have been talking to is living proof.

____

Edited by Archer Opterix, : typo repair.

Edited by Archer Opterix, : clarity.

Edited by Archer Opterix, : ongoing typo repair.

Edited by Archer Opterix, : html.


Archer

All species are transitional.


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obvious Child
Member (Idle past 2453 days)
Posts: 661
Joined: 08-17-2006


Message 24 of 73 (396787)
04-22-2007 1:44 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by jar
04-21-2007 10:11 PM


Re: Learning is a "Learned skill"
quote:
Patiently. Hopefully with understanding.

I doubt it. There's a creationist on one board I go to that keeps repeating the same soft tissue argument after being refuted. It's gotten to the point where everyone knows he's a giant liar. However, he goes on a bunch of other forums where he likely has tricked some people. Other then stalking that person every board he goes to and even worse in life, I don't see how to deal with that kind of person.

quote:
True. They usually do run away. But remember that it is folk like that who give you the opportunity to present reasonable and rational material. Don't try to convince the person you are holding the conversation with. Present the best possible argument for your position regardless.

But when they flee your arguments then are rather narrow as the opposition has left the building.

IMO, the creationists have the upper hand here. They are not bound by facts and false arguments when it comes to science, misrepresentation and outright lies are easier to produce then studied, factual, evidence based arguments. For every 1 minute they spend coping lies, it takes us 10 to refute. With that kind of time attrition war, we're at a serious disadvantage.


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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 315 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 25 of 73 (396792)
04-22-2007 2:41 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Nuggin
04-17-2007 2:21 PM


If a child asked about basic addition and subtraction, you wouldn't present them with a 400 page proof. You wouldn't make them sit through an arguement between two mathematicians about calc vs trig and the implications of sine.

the mathematical proof that "1+1=2" is some 280 pages long. it's easier to accept it on faith, sure. but the proof is there, and if we don't point it out, the fundies will just stand up and shout "BUT HOW YOU DO YOU ACTUALLY KNOW THAT 1+1=2? ISN'T MATH JUST A RELIGION?!?!?!!~~~~ONE"

The question here:
Should we treat fundamentalists as though they've completely missed out on their education or should we treat them as though they were part way through their masters degree in bio-engineering?

there is no right answer.

case in point. once faith asked for a place she could look up things in the fossil record. she wanted every piece of information about every fossil ever found, regarding what kind of sediments and depth from the surface and geographic location.

i gave her a database of about 6% of that, and then had to walk her through basic biology and geology, along the lines of "what's a taxon?" and some examples of various taxa in the linnean heirarchy. then she became overwhelmed, and gave up. i think i even got a potm nomination for chewing her out over her double standard:

fundies want scores of technical scholarly articles and information one does not see until after grad school, and they want it ALL. but they want it all simplified so a 5 year old could understand it, and compressed so that they can read it one sitting.

i don't mean to be insulting to our fundamentalists here, but it is an issue. and we will never provide them with what they want, because what they want is not realistic, or possible.


אָרַח

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ringo
Member
Posts: 17653
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 26 of 73 (396794)
04-22-2007 3:26 AM
Reply to: Message 19 by obvious Child
04-21-2007 9:42 PM


obvious child writes:

Therefore we need to follow these creationists around. I don't see this as a feasible plan.

Who said it was a "plan" for world domination? The question is: How do we approach the debate here?

I'm just saying that we need to talk to people on a lay-understandable level. The Ph.Ds. are already on "our side".

The way to approach education is to start with what they do understand and work your way up until they can't understand any more. There's no point in going higher than that.

And there's no point in starting at the eyes-glaze-over point either.


Help scientific research in your spare time. No cost. No obligation.
Join the World Community Grid with Team EvC

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Trae
Member (Idle past 2644 days)
Posts: 442
From: Fremont, CA, USA
Joined: 06-18-2004


Message 27 of 73 (396797)
04-22-2007 3:50 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by jar
04-21-2007 10:32 AM


Re: Talking Bout My G-G-Generalization
Am I missing the point? Isn’t that exactly what is happening when the religious turn to ‘revelation’ or make comments about the Bible calling for believers to be like children?

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Nuggin
Member (Idle past 830 days)
Posts: 2965
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 28 of 73 (396800)
04-22-2007 4:09 AM
Reply to: Message 25 by arachnophilia
04-22-2007 2:41 AM


I remember that
once faith asked for a place she could look up things in the fossil record. she wanted every piece of information about every fossil ever found, regarding what kind of sediments and depth from the surface and geographic location.

Haha, I remember that. I pointed out that just that day I had found a fossilized shell while on a hike and asked exactly how the scientist would know that I had found it.

She, as always, got mad.


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jar
Member
Posts: 31760
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 29 of 73 (396815)
04-22-2007 9:01 AM
Reply to: Message 27 by Trae
04-22-2007 3:50 AM


Re: Talking Bout My G-G-Generalization
Am I missing the point? Isn’t that exactly what is happening when the religious turn to ‘revelation’ or make comments about the Bible calling for believers to be like children?

You are or I are.

I think for the most part "Revelation" is a crock and con game and to become like a child means to be open to learning.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion

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jar
Member
Posts: 31760
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 30 of 73 (396816)
04-22-2007 9:09 AM
Reply to: Message 24 by obvious Child
04-22-2007 1:44 AM


Re: Learning is a "Learned skill"
jar said:

Patiently. Hopefully with understanding.

to which OC replied:

quote:
I doubt it. There's a creationist on one board I go to that keeps repeating the same soft tissue argument after being refuted. It's gotten to the point where everyone knows he's a giant liar. However, he goes on a bunch of other forums where he likely has tricked some people. Other then stalking that person every board he goes to and even worse in life, I don't see how to deal with that kind of person.

I am talking about understanding on our part. You very likely cannot deal with such a person. The best you can do is present your best case for your position on those boards where you participate.

But when they flee your arguments then are rather narrow as the opposition has left the building.

Sure, but the Christian Cult of Ignorance pushes new graduates out the door daily.

IMO, the creationists have the upper hand here. They are not bound by facts and false arguments when it comes to science, misrepresentation and outright lies are easier to produce then studied, factual, evidence based arguments. For every 1 minute they spend coping lies, it takes us 10 to refute. With that kind of time attrition war, we're at a serious disadvantage.

Yes. we certainly are at a disadvantage.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion

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