Lewis Black has a formula for addressing creationists. You carry around a fossil. Then, when someone starts talking about creationism, you pull it out and hold it up in plain view and say “Fossil!” Then, if they keep arguing, you throw it over their head. That makes me laugh.

Despite the fact that I am a raging secularist and activist atheist, not all of my friends are. And, I have a friend for whom I have nothing but love and respect who happens to be a fundamentalist evangelical Christian. Personally, I’m sure that down inside she is also an atheist, and I know she knows I think that of her, and it is sometimes a matter of discussion. Here’s the thing: She’s very very smart, knows a lot of stuff, and is on my personal top ten list of Most Thoughtful People. (Thoughtfulness is actually a characteristic of the regular non-Troll readers of this blog, so you know what I mean.) Anyway, she totally gets science even though she is not a scientist nor does she have a lot of training or education in science. (Rather, she can read numerous dead languages and has all sorts of other smarts.) She understand that science is real, it is a process of thinking and discovery, that it is important, and that it should shape much of our policy as a society. And all that is by way of introduction for the following video, which she has recommended. I’d like to know what you think of it:

So, if you don’t want to carry around a fossil, you can just carry around this video.

Comments

  1. #1 John Moeller
    United States
    July 26, 2012

    I particularly liked the section on radiometric dating. First, the narrator avoided the term “carbon dating,” which is good, because a lot of people who argue against dating methods extrapolate a lot of arguments based on the fallacious assumption that it’s the only dating method used. Second, she breaks down the fallacious arguments against dating methods by countering with actual practice, such as independent verification. Last, it covers the fact that radiometric dating is usually aligned with other non-radiometric dating practices.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    July 26, 2012

    It is actually one of the better overviews of radiometric dating (as an introduction) I’ve seen.

  3. #3 Graham Lyons
    Yorkshire
    July 26, 2012

    Up to roughly 14:00 the argument is reasoned and well evidenced. From there on, the video is an assertion of personal faith with no inevitable—or even arguable—connection to what had gone before.

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    July 26, 2012

    Graham, exactly. That’s why it works. Separation of church and science works! If some of the theological discourse tries to wrestle with science, that’s OK, even if for someone outside that religion it makes no sense.

  5. #5 Jeffrey Hicksen
    July 26, 2012

    Well to be perfectly honest a TRUE conservative christian does not believe in evolution. It gets in the way of Christ’s death on the cross.

    Christ dies on the cross becuase of what? SIN. He came here and chose to die for the sins of man that started in the Garden of Eden with ONE MAN and ONE WOMAN. Becuase of what happened in genesis, Chrost gave His life.

    Now if a christian professes faith in evolution, how can he/she believe in what Christ done and the reason it was done?

  6. #6 Drivebyposter
    July 26, 2012

    I have been carrying a fossil around for years…

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    July 26, 2012

    Of what?

  8. #8 Drivebyposter
    July 26, 2012

    It’s an ammonite.

  9. #9 Marion Delgado
    July 27, 2012

    Filthy accomodationist! We’ll strip you of your memes for this!

    I dated a girl like that for a while. A very good artist who was part of a church fellowship that did Spirtual Warfare and tongues and God knows what. When I met her she was waitressing at a cafe run by a lesbian couple and she’d already had an Atlantic (I think) cover to her credit at a fairly young age. So it goes.

    It’s good you can discuss things with your friend, however. We just didn’t discuss certain things.

  10. #10 Chip Camden
    July 29, 2012

    Interesting.

    The phrase “living being” in Genesis 2:7 (Hebrew nephesh chaiyah) is only used elsewhere of animals. I think the whole distinction of humans having souls and animals not is manufactured by later theology.

    @Jeffrey Hickson: it’s possible to take the whole Adam and Eve story as metaphorical and yet still admit a reality of sin behind the metaphor that needs redemption. The degree to which that redemption itself is a metaphor is left as an exercise for the reader.

  11. #11 Greg Laden
    July 29, 2012

    I do know what an awful lot of late 17th cen(?) through late 18th century European theology was about who and what had souls. There seems, my general impression here only corrections welcome, that there was a contraction of who could be on the list followed by a long and arduous adding to the list just within humans. Christian children are told, of course, that their dogs and cats and possibly goldfish will be in heaven waiting for them. Is somebody just making that up?

  12. #12 ron
    July 31, 2012
  13. #13 Al
    Canada
    June 27, 2013

    All I can say is anything is possible. Regardless of evidence, there are times where new discoveries are found and an entire chain of species evolution gets changed. I think all and everything on both sides are theories. And even with evidence should be treated as theories…. We only have so much of an understanding and perspectives. Its important to keep it in mind that anything is possible and that we each have the right to believe what ever belief we choose to belief. Instead of focusing on what divides us its important to remember what we have in common. Such as we are all living beings that have a drive to help and do whats right. Whatever someone believes in the way in how we came to be, its not what matters, what the true important thing to keep in focus is how can we keep this species continuing……First off, being tolerant and accepting regardless of difference in opinion. We dont know all the answers and we are not going to. Its too complicated a series of intertwined systems as to how we exist both in the physical and to those who believe it , the spiritual. I personally believe in the spiritual due to way to hard to put together experiences to brush off as coincidences.

    Fools argue, Wise men share ideas…

    Alia
    Christian believer of both theories… we just are not there yet on how they link

  14. #14 Politicalguineapig
    June 28, 2013

    Al: Such as we are all living beings that have a drive to help and do whats right.

    What species are you talking about? Not humans, certainly.

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