Pharyngula

This fellow Mike up around Toronto asked me for assistance a while back—he was planning to attend the Bible Skeptics Conference, an event put on by the Institute for Creation Research. I couldn’t say much, but I did suggest he get in touch with Larry Moran at the U Toronto.

Well, he attended and survived. It’s a good summary of the usual combination of drivel and lunacy that comes out of these events. He also attended a second talk by Bruce Malone. Malone, by the way, was the fellow who was speaking in the Twin Cities last week, to whose talk on Mt St Helens as evidence for a young earth I was invited by a creationist. This is the instance where I begged off by saying I wasn’t a geologist…and, amusingly, the creationist admitted that was OK, since the speaker wasn’t, either.

There’s going to be a third write-up soon. I’m pretty sure his sanity survived the harrowing, although I do have one concern. Mike told me in email that Larry Moran was a “nice guy”—I’m suspecting that there might have been some residual impairment of his mental facilities. Everyone knows that Larry is godless curmudgeon.

Comments

  1. #1 Torbjörn Larsson
    February 27, 2007

    Theodore “Vox Day” Beale was so freaked out that a woman dared to make a comment

    At least he recognized a good comment. I noted it too at the time, it is a real possibility creationists fear that we will do as they once did since it is obvious that they project their own thinking on others (‘darwinism’, ‘dogma’, ‘belief’).

    Btw, Beale showed me that religious statistics are uncertain. He claims that “only 23 percent of Swedes believe that there is not “any sort of spirit, god, or life force”.” I got curious and took a very quick peek into sources.

    It turns out that atheism is much more prevalent than I thought. The swedish wikipedia pegs it as the 4th major world view, but the internet project Adherents put atheists as the 3d world view at 16 % of the world population. ( http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html )

    But there are several caveats. Adherents aggregates over many statistics, where for example the swedish statistic goes from polls which gets from 20 to 70 % atheists. ( http://www.ateism.se/faq.html ) So Adherents may have aggregation problems. Allegedly they sociologically group some atheists into religions. Yet about half of the quoted number is still of this type.

    Anyhow, the poll question Beale quoted (“any sort of spirit, god, or life force”) seems to come from European Value Studies. I found a swedish christian nut who obsessively looks at polls to track “political atheism”, and he quotes even smaller numbers for Sweden for the same study, down to 14 %. It is only that the same polls also asks about “not a religious person” and then gets 60-50 % indifferent swedes 1980-2000. (Professed atheists are stable at 7 %.)

    My (not very supported) feeling is that these statistics are next to worthless for atheists since they are specially treated and aggregated. But the number that should concern Beale here is the indifferent, who seems to be more than half the population and double his number.

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