The Role of Faith in Society »« Hello world!

Veteran vlogger, but a blogging noob

OK, old guys and technology, right?  Anyway, I’ll just jump in and get started with my first post.

I’ve had an amazing year so far.  In the last 12 months, I’ve been to Ireland, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Missouri, Florida, Washington DC, Maryland, New Zealand, Australia, Illinois, Wisconsin, Louisiana, California (twice) and even Arkansas, to say nothing of the events going on here in Texas.  I’ve been to a lot of skeptic/humanist/secular/atheist conferences, and have consequently fallen a couple months behind in my personal messages.  I spent most of my weekend trying to get half-way caught up.  Otherwise it’s been great fun.  I had to turn down a trip to Germany due to conflicting family commitments, and I’m mad about that, but I have some cool things coming on the horizon too, which I will of course post about in good time.  Now I have this blog and I’m trying to figure out how I have time to squeeze in one more of these type pursuits.  Isn’t that a great thing to complain about?  It’s a helluva lot better than sitting on the sofa wondering what’s on TV, right?  I haven’t turned on a television since I discovered the internet.  That’s when I started posting to Talk.Origins with other internet nerds like P.Z. Myers.  Since then, every year keeps getting better.  Now I feel like I’m actually doing something helpful, and I am proud to be associated with people of such high integrity.  Thank you everyone, but especially Matt, Laura, DPR, and Thunder.  I am sincerely glad just to know you guys.   Now let’s see how productive I can be in the coming year.

My wife also wants to become more active in this sphere.  She is a science teacher, and a good writer who is already a regular contributor to one of our major metro papers, and she has a lot of good points to make.  Now if I could only get my kids to be more active, right?

Anyway, being systematic, let me announce the next date on my roster.  On the national mall, I target=”_blank”>encountered a couple of Christian kids who were protesting the Reason Rally.  These boys were deeply deceived victims of Ray Comfort and the Hovind family of frauds.  One of them, it seems, had no education in logic or science or any aspect of demonstrable reality, or even theology, and had apparently never had his delusion challenged before either.  So I target=”_blank”>convinced him to assist me in an experiment.  I’m going to try a new approach in an attempt to reason with someone who has been conditioned to be unreasonable after lifelong indoctrination.  That will be our second session which will probably take place next week.  First he says he wants to ask me a series of questions.  Doubtless they won’t be sincere inquiries.  I predict they’ll be the usual non-sequitors we always hear asked by those who hope their questions cannot be answered, as if lacking an answer might justify assumptions that would of course still be unwarranted regardless what the answer is.  That part of our conversation will happen this Thursday, June 21st at 6:30pm Central time on my BlogTV channel.  At that time, we will schedule the next session.  I will also present him with a half dozen or so questions for him to mull over in the interim.  Then in our second session, we’ll get more into my interrogation and analysis of his position.  My goal is to show him -and have him acknowledge- that Cameron & Comfort, Ham and the Hovinds have never told him anything he could actually show to be true about either evolution or their religious beliefs, but that they have all lied to him almost constantly.  That will be an important first step.  What I hope will happen after that is that over the next six months or so, his mind will awaken, much like King Theodan’s did after Saruman was drawn out of him.  It could happen.

Comments

  1. Daniel Schealler says

    Heh. This is fantastic!

    It’s like everything in my RSS aggregator is coming together on one site. It’s brilliant!

    Welcome! Glad to see you here.

    • Daniel Schealler says

      Oh: And I think your plan with the experiment is a noble one.

      Even if you fail, it’s a worthy attempt.

      Even if you fail with the young man in question, you might succeed in educating others.

      But pessimism aside: If anyone is going to actually succeed in getting someone to change their minds on an entrenched position in the face relentless argument, you’d be at the top of my list of who I think could achieve it.

      Hope it goes well, and I’ll be tuning in if I can.

  2. joel says

    I am very looking forward to learning new ways to talk with the religious. Thank you FTB for this connection with Vv

  3. 'Tis Himself says

    Welcome, Aaron. For years I’ve enjoyed your videos. If the above is a good example, I’ll be enjoying your blog posts as well.

  4. Rando says

    You’re going to have a hard time with him. If that screaming fit he had in the comments section of your video to him is any indication. I just hope you can get him to at least listen to you. Randy seems like the kind of indoctrinated person who will glaze over all your points and just ignore everything you say until he has a moment to talk. It’s really annoying when they do that, we will actually consider their arguments, but when it comes time for them to do the same, we get the same glazed over expression that says, “I’m not listening, la, la, la.” I for one can’t wait to watch.

  5. Ryan says

    “OK, old guys and technology, right?” (Aron Ra)

    “Anyone who doesn’t believe old dogs can learn new tricks doesn’t know all that many old dogs.” (An old friend)

    Please, let me be the first to welcome you here. I greatly enjoy your videos, and am looking forward to seeing what develops here.

    • Ryan says

      And by “…let me be the first…” I naturally mean let the other comments in moderation be approved just before I hit “Post.”

  6. 1000 Needles says

    I’ve been a silent subscriber to your YouTube channel for at least a year. Great to have you here!

  7. says

    Thrilled to see you at FTB! I will be reading daily. :-)

    I’m looking forward to the conversation with the earnest protester kid.

    I hope that he will be able to engage constructively.

  8. revjimbob says

    “It could happen.”
    Hmmm.
    Welcome AronRa! I have enjoyed your Youtube videos enormously. Look forward to your blog.

  9. quoderatdemonstrandum says

    Aron Ra: what a fantastic addition to FtB! Welcome.

    Making myself comfortable and noting my post number so that in future I can make arguments from antiquity:

    “I was original poster #10 at Ace of Glades when you were still in nappies laddie”

    /Just joking

  10. says

    This is so awesome. I find myself getting a little dyslexic trying to type how wonderful this is. My brain is writing faster than my fingers so I’m gonna have to have a coffee break. BBL to gush some more

  11. christophburschka says

    I only found your new blog due to PZ’s post; will it be featured on the front page soon with the rest?

  12. fort nerd says

    Welcome to the Hive Mind! ;) Great to see another smartass freethinker joining in to strenghten the community.

  13. Janice in Toronto says

    Ohhh! So glad to see you’re here!

    I really hope your scheme will produce an effective way to help those who are religiously deluded.

  14. says

    Oh AronRa I love you, welcome to FtB! And the very best of luck on your mammoth project. I can only claim one creationist turned science-appreciator (though still Christian, which I get given his position) despite the many I’ve talked to, but to get even one on the side of reason is one of the best feelings of accomplishment Ive ever had. Keep up the good work!

  15. says

    Hi Aron,

    I certainly know you’ve had an exceptional year for travel, having seen you recently visiting my home city! I hope you enjoyed the Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne, where I know you similarly tried talking sense into our relatively small collection of deluded God-bothering protestors. I’m simply not brave enough to do confrontational stuff like that (nor was I forward enough to introduce myself… maybe the next time at one of these conferences!) so kudos to you, and best wishes for blogging here at FTB. I look forward to seeing if you manage to unlodge some of the young Christian guy’s unreason, to allow reason, logic, and science some room to take root instead. (Pointing out Saruman being driven out from possessing King Theoden’s will is a nice illustration, and it’s so well depicted in the Peter Jackson film of course.) Cheers!

  16. IslandBrewer says

    Welcome, this is awesome!

    And I love your blog title. Going to have to probe your opinion on paraphyletic nomenclatures sometime.

    Now go make Thunder start blogging!

  17. Roz says

    Hi Aron

    Another YouTube atheist, Todd Allen Gates, has written a book on the ‘Socratic Method’ of debating Christians which is really good. He also has a lot of videos on his channel in which he explains the method. Hope you might find them useful.

    Roz (AuntieDiluvian on YouTube)

  18. Kevin says

    Awesome. I found you on YouTube right at the beginning of the Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism series.

    Good stuff.

    Seems to me the entire Hovind/Ham/et al enterprise is about one thing — replacing scientific uncertainty with religious certainty.

    All of their arguments against evolution boil down to an extended false dichotomy logical fallacy. “If X about evolution is false, therefore Jesus is totally real.”

    Of course that’s nonsense. Evolutionary theory could be totally invalidated (not that anything like that’s going to happen) and the existence of a god is not helped in the least. All the work to prove the truth of bible claims is still ahead of Hovindites.

  19. Vall says

    “The Ace of Clades” is fucking brilliant. Of course now I hear Motorhead playing somewhere, and it’s not low volume.

    • GeoJim says

      Exactly what I was thinking. I believe that I’ve actually seen Aron wearing a Motorhead t-shirt…maybe that should be the profile photo?

  20. timberwoof says

    Welcome, Professor Higgins. ;-)

    You have already realized that your student is going to need an introduction in the philosophy of logic, and that he’s predisposed to not listen to certain people or logical approaches.

    Shredding someone’s logical ignorance in public is satisfying for the audience but demeaning for the subject. Bring him out gently, along a path he will recognize. I’d be tempted to start him off easy, with sources acknowledged by Christian theologists as being correct. The very early Christians looked to Greek philosophers for guidance…

    I’ll cop to being a humanist and thinking that there some spark of “good” in every person. I hope this turns out well. I look forward to reading this blog!

  21. neXus says

    The mighty Texas Tank on FTB? Just when you think this site can’t get any more awesome… =D

  22. says

    Met you in Dublin and Melbourne, and ’twas fun. Very surprised that you and Wilkins had known each other since like the beginning of the internet ! Catch up sometime, and will keep an eye on the new blog, cheers mate !

  23. otrame says

    Welcome. I’m excited you are here. I’m always sending people to your YouTube channel. Now I can send them here too.

  24. Rizzy says

    Welcome to FtB, Aron. I witnessed the shouting match at DC firsthand, as well as the follow up on the LoR forum. I look forward to seeing how this all turns out.

  25. skepticallydenpa says

    I might have to quit my job just to keep track of all he blogs on ftb #firstworldproblems

    Welcome, Aron. Looks like you’re off to a good start.

  26. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    omgomgomgomgomgomgomgomgomg This. Is. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!

    Welcome!

  27. Aniota says

    Great to see you on FtB, Aron.
    Looking forward to the outcome of your approach with that poor kid, hope you succeed in planting a seed of doubt in his still young mind that will grow and eventually allow him to break loose from irrationality.

  28. jimi3001 says

    Looking forward to reading your posts! I expected more axes* adorning the blog page though…

    * either weapons or guitars – either would have met my expectations!

  29. Rachel says

    Oh man, I am excited to see you here. (Like many others, it seems!)
    Your ‘Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism’ series was a huge factor in sending me down the path of atheism, skepticism, and learning about evolution.
    I haven’t seen any of your videos in a while for various reasons, but I can’t wait to see what you get up to here on FTB.

  30. Kees says

    Aron, can you upload the conversation to Youtube or somewhere else when it is done. The time is pretty impossible for us Europeans.

  31. Cry4turtles says

    I’m thrilled you’re here Aronra! Saw you in DC too, but not the debate. My hubby declined the reason rally this year. When I came home we combed through youtube and watched you school the poor young sap. My hubby was very intrigued by your knowledge and debate style. Since then he has become more passionate about this fight of our lifetime. He is fully among our ranks now and will be by my side at next year’s rally. Many thanks Aronra. You have succeeded where I failed.

  32. Besomyka says

    Welcome to FtB! Been watching your video since, oh.. 2006, maybe? You always manager to put things in an engaging way. Glad to see you here!

  33. says

    Welcome (sorry for gushing)

    I read your title as “Ace of Clades”
    What’s a ‘glade?’ Other than a meadow or an air freshener?

  34. shockna says

    Welcome to FtB AronRa!

    You and thunderf00t were the two major catalysts in my change from apathetic deism to open atheism! I look forward to reading more.

  35. Gralgrathor says

    I can’t help but feel that I’ve heard of such an attempt before. Of course chances are good that it will turn out that this lad thinks Hamm and Hovind are telling the truth for the same reason he believes the bible is true: no (good) reason at all. In which case I guess it’ll still be an amusing and informative session. I’ll put it in my agenda, that’s for sure.

  36. maethor says

    Welcome, AronRa. I’m from Grapevine, TX in the DFW area. Might I ask where you live in our fair state of open and freethinking individuals?

  37. Evader, the parasite-infested branch on the evolutionary tree says

    Welcome Mighty Aron Ra!

    Thanks for dropping logic, look forward to your contribution(s).

  38. says

    Allow me to add my voice to the raucous chorus of “huzzahs”. I’ve been a long time ‘Tube subscriber and I look forward to your blogoliciousness.

    I just got the red underscore of confusion from spell-check, but I stand by it:

    Blogoliciousness!! Fuck, yeah!

  39. echidna says

    Hey, glad to have you on FtB. I even got to say Hi to you in Melbourne.

    I’m looking forward to your experiment. My ingoing thought is that if he values truth, and believes that what he says is true, then you have a chance to show him that he has been believing things that are demonstrably false.

    If he values faith over truth, then you are unlikely to change his mind, but will probably reach others. Whatever the outcome, I’ll be following.

    Have fun!

  40. says

    Awesome to see you here, and to discover that the Melbourne guy is still engaging with you in some capacity. Best of luck with your experimental approach.

  41. petejohn says

    Aron Ra with a FT Blog? Whoa… I like that.

    I like the title too.

    Big fan of your YT stuff, Aron. I’m sure you’re explanatory skills and knowledge will translate well to print. I think that your little experiment is a good one, or at least a noble one. Hopefully, for your subject’s sake, it is an effective one.

  42. Tyro says

    Great to see you writing in addition to vlogging. I still fondly remember your excellent posts back back in the old Christian Forums days and no doubt many people remember you from well before that. You’ve taught me a lot and changed my mind on many things.

    Good luck and welcome to FtB.

  43. JohnnieCanuck says

    Learned something here already.

    I always guessed that clade was pronounced as in dad. I checked and indeed, it rhymes with spade.

    Thanks and welcome.

  44. Cephas Borg says

    Dude, I’m tickled pink you’re writing as well as Tubing. Although I’ll miss your mellifluous voice!

    I can’t wait to see the outcome of the experiment, I’ll be tuning in if I can wake up…

    For other Aussies in Melbourne’s timezone (GMT+10): the event will be live locally on Friday, 22nd June, 04:30 (very, very AM).

    This is gunna be funnnnnn!

    • Vall says

      More than mellifluous, heroic. Like that guy that sings the national anthems for the Blackhawks.

      I bet he does a good “angry dad” as well.

    • says

      Fortunately, Cephas, you’re way off.

      6:30pm US central time is 9:30am Australian EST (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne), because right now it’s 9 here and 6 there. It’ll be much easier for us to tune in (if we can manage to do it at work on Friday morning).

  45. Timberwoof says

    julial, a clade is a species and all the species that descended from it. Cladistics is a relatively new system for classifying living things specifically according to their evolutionary lineage. It is a taxonomy, newer than the classic Linnaean Taxonomy you probably learned in school.

    Aronra, I watched the video of the conversation in Oz. I figured out something about where that guy was coming from which his seemingly off-the-wall questions: A lot of them were rhetorical appeals to authority or popularity. “If every scientist said blablabla, would you go along with it?” “If everybody was Christian, wouldn’t that mean blablabla?” Lurking in those questions was the assumption that a billion Christians can’t be wrong.

  46. pks says

    Thank you AronRa for doing this. I have every one of your videos and speeches and have learned much and questioned much as a result. Keep the good work and the fight dear brother.

  47. Utakata says

    The Ace of Glades…I’m sure that’s a Motörhead reference from somewhere. I am not really aware Aron’s work, but I suspect he has better hair than Penn fucking Jillette from the looks of things …without all the libertarian woo economics and denalist rant baggage associated with the said man (least I hope). Welcome.

  48. Marcus Hill (mysterious and nefarious) says

    At first I thought “damn, another must-read blog, there goes another chunk of my time” – but then, when I started reading, I heard it in AronRa’s voice talking at his usual YouTube pace, so maybe it won’t be so time consuming after all…

  49. Hypatia's Daughter says

    Your deconversion project raises the interesting question of what is the best approach to take. Someone had a post (cannot remember who) that linked to article that said we shouldn’t argue that the religious aren’t being good xtians or use the Bible against them, as it merely reinforces the authority of the Bible and Jesus in their minds. Don’t know if I agree with that.
    Teaching them to think scientifically is a longer, harder haul, as they so often lack even the most basic understanding of science and the scientific method. (“But it’s just a theory!”)
    So often, these people remind me of my kids when they were 5 years old. When the ice cream truck came by, they wanted money to buy ice cream. “I’m sorry, honey, but I have no money for ice cream until payday.” “But mommy, why don’t you go to that machine (the ATM) and get some?”
    Now, try explaining to a 5 year old about earning money, getting paid on payday, putting it into the bank so you can get it out of the ATM, and having other bills to pay……they just don’t get it at that age.
    It’s not stupidity, it’s a shallow understanding and lacking all the background knowledge that makes explaining things to these people so difficult.

  50. Hypatia's Daughter says

    Oh, and I may add that their absolute conviction that their shallow pool of knowledge is as well informed as people who have spent 10, 20 or 30 years studying the subject. An Eric Hovind video is as scientifically legitimate as a Dawkins paper published in a peer reviewed journal.
    Aggghhhh! Makes me want to tear my hair out.

  51. says

    Aron, I hope you save your BlogTV session with that kid for the benefit of those of us unable to see it live(I’ll be stuck at work).

  52. says

    Great to have you here, AronRa. I’m looking forward to reading your posts. My RSS feed is growing more beautiful and rational every day!

  53. says

    Glad to see you’re working in another medium, AronRa. Fellow Texan and a subscriber to your YouTube channel. I might make a post on my own tiny blog linking to some of my favorite videos of yours, now that you’re on my mind.

    Funny thing I remember: I was trying to explain how evolution really works to a racist troll who was in Creationist mode (sometimes he claimed to believe in a twisted Hollywood version of evolution) and I linked to one of your videos. His response was solely to point out that you looked like a “hooligan,” which got me laughing at his shallowness.

  54. Chris Ho-Stuart says

    Hi Aron-Ra. It’s great to see the howlers from ancient days in talk.origins carrying in the good work — and extending it.

    Cheers — Chris Ho-Stuart

  55. empiricallyyours says

    A massive hello and welcome, hope your serve us up an equal measure of awesome here, as you do on youtube.

  56. says

    Ermahgerd. Randy had Bruggencate watching online and practically breathing down his neck, while taunting everyone else.

    Though I hate to deprive myself of perfectly good train wrecks, I’m starting to think that if this process is going to work it’s got to be done in private. The pressure on Randy to hold his side up was palpable. That, more than cognitive dissonance, is why I think he was reluctant to give any yes or no answer and thus potentially concede something.

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