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The First Creationism Confrontation (the first of many…)

September 29th, 2007 · Posted by Who Knows? · 9 Comments

After a nearly six hour session of listening and talking to creationists, I don’t know what to say. I have had ample warning about what it would be like, but did I really believe it? Yes, it was everything they said it would be. All the standard logical fallacies, all the standard tactics, reverse psychology, straw men, the power of suggestion, and caricaturing everything they disagree with, complaining when others caricature them… I could blog about it for months to come, it would mostly be re-hashing stuff that has already been discussed a million times over. Still, for my readers, I will cover some of it later.

So, let’s get to the important stuff. My biggest concern is the demonising and misrepresentation of Humanism. They effectively equated Humanism with mass murderers, and imply it leads to suicide. They even pulled in the Columbine High-School Massacre. Sure, they did not necessarily state it so directly, but there is no doubt that that is the impression a majority of the attendants would walk out with. The word “atheist” used to be the target of such demonising rhetoric.

So how does one dispel this erroneous perspective? The most effective way would be to “live it”, in the open. Humanists need to come out of the closet, and show their friends and family what Humanism really is. This is exactly what Dawkins and the New Atheism movement is calling the atheists out to do. Live in the light, live honestly, the truth sets you free. (If you don’t live in a Bible Belt, of course, where coming out can be quite bad for your well-being.)

There are varying forms of humanism, including “religious humanism”. For example, I would like to argue that Jesus was in effect a humanist, in a certain sense, but let’s leave that for another day. My shortest definition of Humanism, is “reason and compassion”. Humanism is not the same thing as atheism, Humanism is about an ethical life stance. Please see the quote in On Labelling Myself a Humanist for an excellent summary (by Francis Mortyn, who I don’t personally know, unfortunately).

There is one thing I’m very sorry about: I let slip a highly condescending, sarcastic remark, a “joke” that was completely uncalled-for and in bad taste. (It wasn’t a very accurate joke either. If I wanted to make a politically incorrect joke, there were much better ones to make! Hehe…) It happens though… it’s our “sinful nature”, some would say. We all make mistakes, no one is perfect. I’ll do better next time!

One guy said he’d pray for me, complete with a hand-to-the-shoulder gesture. I appreciate it, I really do. People should realise he means it completely sincerely, with the best intentions. He believes it’s the best and the only thing he can do for me, and he will do it. Pity it isn’t my style to respond with “I’ll pray for you too…”

What an experience! It is everything they said it would be.

Upcoming posts: CMI’s (confessed) lack of understanding of what science and the scientific method is, what is science, a book recommendation with regards to understanding the scientific method and UFO’s, a discussion of the logical fallacies used, examples of the numerous absurd arguments given and made, quote mining, and more on the question(s) I asked:

If I accept evolution as a fact, does Christianity no longer hold anything for me? Should that cause someone to give up on being a Christian and head over to Humanism? Is Christianity only about life after death? I.e., according to your perspective of Christianity, if I don’t fear hell, is there nothing of value for me in Christianity?

I have answers to all my questions, and I have specific complaints and disagreements about 9 out of 10 things said in the seminar. Some feedback would go a long way towards helping me prioritise the following posts. I also have a thesis to finish, so I don’t know how often I will post. Please comment! This is supposed to be a conversation, of sorts…

Categories: Religion and Science
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9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dave // Sep 30, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    You are rather brave:-) I have concluded that the creationists of this world are hypocritical morons (language moderated heavily) for whom there is no rescue. The only real option is the one you note. Live in the light and share it with all you know. This light will show up these dark holes of humanity for what they are: stubborn stains of astonishing stupidity, a downright evil denial of the majesty of the world around us. To all you fundamentalist creation “science” types: humanity will shine the light on you

    And Hugo, thanks for standing up.

  • 2 Hugo // Sep 30, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    Thanks for the self-moderation, appreciated. 😉

    In my case, I suffer from a dangerous condition known as “hope”. My optimism is my weakness. We’ll see how it goes. <grin>

    Some creationists are truly just being mislead. I have too much compassion for them. It is the hypocritical bunch that is doing the misleading that bothers me most.

  • 3 Bertus! // Oct 1, 2007 at 9:48 am

    Wat het hulle toe gese^ oor die aliens en die UFO’s?

  • 4 Hugo // Oct 1, 2007 at 9:53 am

    Hehe, I’m getting to that. But here’s a taster, as I will probably only get to it this weekend (I have two posts up my sleeve already, one will be going out tomorrow or Wednesday, the other is unrelated, and will probably go out next week): walk-the-walk Christians don’t get “abducted”, demons lie to you, aliens/extra-terrestrial life doesn’t exist, so the space program and SETI is a waste of tax-payer money. The only reason people think there may be extra-terrestrial intelligence, is because they believe the evil lie that is “evolution”.

    I wish SETI would hurry up and find some intelligence. (‘Cause it certainly seems to be lacking on this planet! <grin>)

  • 5 Johan Swarts // Oct 1, 2007 at 11:55 am

    Bertus! hulle het kort grepe uit bybelversies aangehaal wat remotely lyk of dit miskien iets te doen kan hê met iets van ‘n ander planeet af. dit was hartseer, om die minste te sê.

  • 6 Peter Peiser // Oct 1, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    Ek het ‘n bietjie gewonder oor daardie Creationist stuff, en die woorde “hate speech” het by my opgekom, spesifiek daar waar hulle humanisme en ateisme assosieer met selfmoord en moord. Ek wonder of mens dalk nie iets wetsverband daaraan kan doen nie…

  • 7 Is CMI Scientifically Illiterate? (3 of 12) // Oct 4, 2007 at 10:17 am

    […] Please, please read this Slate article on “The Secret”. It is humorous, a fun read, and something all of us should be able to agree on. Except Oprah worshippers, maybe. Discuss, understand and laugh at the quote-mining in “The Secret” and the silliness of its assertions. Done that? Great. Now, stop looking at the splinters in your neighbours’ eyes. first post in the series […]

  • 8 The Gullible Organ (2 of 12) // Oct 4, 2007 at 10:42 am

    […] | MiniBlog | Comments ← The First Creationism Confrontation (the first of many…) Is CMI Scientifically Illiterate? (3 of 12) […]

  • 9 Fossils of Straw // Dec 17, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    […] of a straw man argument, presented by Gary Bates from Creation Ministries International (CMI) on 29 September in the Neelsie, on Stellenbosch Campus: Fossils take millions of years to […]

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