In 1992Mar23.080410.25688@marlin.jcu.edu.au, cpsa@marlin.jcu.edu.au (Stefan Aeberhard) wri

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In <1992Mar23.080410.25688@marlin.jcu.edu.au>, cpsa@marlin.jcu.edu.au (Stefan Aeberhard) writes: [stuff about asking questions of a creationist on his own ground deleted] >... I am looking for some suggestions ... [more stuff deleted] Yeah. I have some suggestions. Keep quiet. Better yet, don't go - unless you have a burning desire to learn about religious fervor and propagandist techniques by direct observation (see "keep quiet", above). IMO, you fail to understand the fundamental :-) nature of these meetings. [That's OK, I did too.] Both the speaker -and his audience- have made a "spiritual" decision that God created the world in the manner described in Genesis. The experience [and it is a powerful one at the most intimate personal level] is known as a "leap of faith", and once such a leap is made no amount of logic can reverse it. The consequences [fatal] of such a "leap" to a person's ability to think in a truly scientific way, in disciplines where the science and the faith intersect, have been thoroughly discussed here and elsewhere. But, Mr [sic] Weiland and his ilk are extremely competent speakers, able and more than willing to use their gifts of gab to their advantage. They are just waiting for an innocent sap like you to come along and give them a chance to demonstrate their superior mastery of and committment to the cause. If the question does not have an answer that fits dogma, they will not answer it, but assault your right to ask it, in so doing making you look and feel like a fool and them looking like masters of the universe. They may say they're scientists, and are playing by the rules of scientific discourse, but if you take that assertion at face value you are begging for the kick in the privates that you will get. Their rules are those of the political or ecclesiastical demagogue. Therefore, there are IMO only two ways to challenge these people to their face in a meaningful way: 1) stack the audience in your favour (ie with real scientists), so that you, not they, define the rules of the game; 2) attack not the creationist's science, but his faith, eg "how dare you limit the majesty of God to the words put down by puny man in a book 2,000 years old - just whom are you worshipping anyway, god or Man?". Fat chance for the former, the creationists plan too well for that. And as for the second, most scientists are too ignorant of the facts and the emotions associated with religious faith, and are too inadequately blessed with personal charisma, to be able to pull off such a coup. Charley O'Kelly ------------------------------------------------------------------------ >Yeah. I have some suggestions. Keep quiet. Better yet, don't go - >unless you have a burning desire to learn about religious fervor and >propagandist techniques by direct observation (see "keep quiet", above). If I recall correctly, the original request was in reference to a meeting of "Campus Crusade for Christ". If I'm right about that, then I disagree with the above sentiments. I went to such a meeting here at Penn two years ago. I was actually quite glad to find that the majority of the crowd was fairly hostile to the viewpoints that were expressed (and I don't mean that they called the speaker names, I just mean that they recognized his bullshit for what it was, and called him on it). Not only did I learn a bit about what creationist presentations are like, but I also was heartened by the fact that the same objections to the arguments that are raised here were raised there. The talk.origins irregulars (tm) aren't the only people in the world who know the right answers :-) :-) :-) >Therefore, there are IMO only two ways to challenge these people to >their face in a meaningful way: > >1) stack the audience in your favour (ie with real scientists), so that >you, not they, define the rules of the game; I don't know whether or not anybody did that on purpose in the meeting that I went to, but I agree that this is a good technique. Of course by encouraging a person not to attend (as you did above) you're working against this solution :-) >2) attack not the creationist's science, but his faith, eg "how dare you >limit the majesty of God to the words put down by puny man in a book >2,000 years old - just whom are you worshipping anyway, god or Man?". I'm not so sure about this one. It seems to me that you'll run the risk of encouraging the idiocy that Lionel Tun recently evidenced here in the "evolution denies God" bit. The distinctions may be clear to those of us outside of the one true faith (tm), but not to the others. For some people it seems that questioning *their* beliefs in God == questioning *all* beliefs (or at least all correct beliefs) in God. >Fat chance for the former, the creationists plan too well for that. And >as for the second, most scientists are too ignorant of the facts and the >emotions associated with religious faith, and are too inadequately >blessed with personal charisma, to be able to pull off such a coup. It helps to have close family members who have been born more than once :-)

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