OK, Joe, we had a million laughs and all, but seriously, it’s over now.
For those who don’t follow my twitter feed, I should explain. I probably stepped out of line a little with Joe back there, in an attempt to get him to crack under the pressure. The fact is, Joe, you’re either crazy or happy or both, so good luck to ya! Seriously. Whatever gets you through the day.
Truth is, we know you’re sincere in some of the things you say about science and religion. But you need to realise there are thousands of people, religious and non-religious alike, who’ve heard all your one-way arguments before. You need to find a more sophisticated tract than reiterating a few Ken Ham bullet points from some YouTube seminar if you’re going to stand a hope of selling any books.
This shouldn’t read as an attack, by the way, I’m genuinely sorry if the whole thing of changing my Avatar to a sign of the cross pissed you off. You are, I’m sure, a perfectly personable chap so long as you’re not asked about your views on evolution and if you weren’t a billion miles away I’d pop round and buy you a beer, even if just because you tried at least to give as good as you got—which you totally didn’t manage to achieve—but if you’ll swallow your pride for a second and take some honest advice, I think I might be able to help you figure out a few ways in which you might do better with another twitter atheist sometime in the future.
First up, when you say to someone you can irrefutably prove something and then tout your book, it sends the exact opposite message I think you think it does. What you need to do instead is formulate a series of stock answers, to generic questions, publish them on your blog and ask for comments from a wide variety of people. Then, when you get a bit of push-back from some loud-mouth godless, burn in hell heathen like me, all you have to do is send them a link to the topic you’ve covered in the past, so they can see where you are in your understanding of the given subject.
Also, a general tip on blogging, always turn comment approval off. If someone wants to post hate speech or you’re frightened someone might say something you don’t like, stop blogging and do something else. This is the internet, not real life.
So, for example, if you want to engage someone on, say, Ernst Haeckel’s embryo drawings, don’t immediately presume whoever you’re telling doesn’t already know what you’re referring to, just because you’ve only just found out about it yourself. Truth is, Ernst Haeckel is in the top 5 most commonly used arguments we hear every day. It’s also one of the most throughly well debunked stories in the history of science.
Haeckel didn’t fake the drawings, he sketched predictions of what he thought the embryo might look like when the technology to view them in-vitro would be eventually invented. But every time he gets used as an example of ‘frauds in evolution’ in the anti-evolution textbooks you’ve been reading, this is only ever mentioned in response to the sheer number of times creationists have had this fact explained to them, despite that they continually bring it up.
Furthermore, the assertion which usually follows, that Darwin therefore used ‘false embryo drawings’ is also complete nonsense, because Darwin published both his books before Haeckel and used only two drawings of an embryo in each one—none of which were drawn by Haeckel.
Then there’s the presumption you make, in common with every other creationist on the block, that non-theists are completely in the dark as to what you believe—and if we only knew what you believed we too would be saved just like you. This is rarely the case. Most atheists either used to be religious too or have thought about Christian scripture in the historical context far more than most Christians. That’s also why many of the twitter people you encounter with negative comments know exactly from whence the realm you believe numinous experiences do stem.
It is a fact, no doubt, that millions of people have transformational experiences they can’t explain all the time. But not being able to explain something means just that. You don’t explain the unexplainable with your beliefs, you explain them with empiricism and by the principal of Occam’s razor.
500 years before the sermon on the mount, Confucius said, “do unto others as you would have them do to you” and that remains as true today as it was then—so once again I do apologies if my attempts to goad you into submission went too far. But hopefully you’re beginning to learn that twitter isn’t a dumping ground for your opinions, it’s a jumping off point to lots of other kinds of information and interests and I think if you allow yourself to read some of the following links, you might have a better appreciation of why so many of us find it just as insulting as you do, when our world-views are brought into question by people who appear to misunderstand them as profoundly as you do of mine.
On the evidence for evolution:
Clair Patterson: Radiometric dating
Observations of evolution
Lines of evidence: The science of evolution:
Various biological taxonomies:
Why I Am Not A Christian, by Bertrand Russell:
God the Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist, by Victor Stenger
And one for luck:
In God’s Name: An Investigation into the Murder of Pope John Paul I, by David Yallop
Sir David Attenborough, Evolution explained In 5½ Minutes: