Purdue's National Secular Service Day makes local TV news

The Society of Non-Theists at Purdue University have yet again made it to the local TV news, this time for their participation in National Secular Service Day!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYcJv9lzNG4&hl=en&fs=1&]

1. They managed to say Non-Theists correctly this time, huzzah! No more non-thesises.
2. I give up on getting people to pronounce my last name correctly (though I find it amusing that she also almost messed up “Jennifer”). Remember: McCreight is always right. It rhymes.
3. Props to my fellow members for standing awkwardly in the background while I was talking, hehe.
4. Speaking of me talking, jeez my voice sounds low. I had a cold, shut up!

The comments WLFI’s website are positive so far, too!

Awesome, we need more people like him! (Jen’s Note: Uhhh, him?)

Some of the fraternity brats should do this too.

You will never get these frat pigs sobered up long enough to pick up after their own drunken orgies, good luck getting them to clean up someone Else’s mess. Thank you, society of Non-Theists, the world would be a better place with more good people such as yourselves!

Uhhh… okay, maybe not too positive towards the fraternities, but good for us!WLFI summarized what we were doing pretty well. Eighteen members from the Society of Non-Theists went around the Chauncey Village neighborhood from 9am to 12pm picking up trash from sidewalks and business area. We weren’t allowed on the lawns of private property, unlike what the news cast said, which was kind of unfortunate. After Purdue’s awesome defeat of Ohio State Saturday afternoon and the insane partying that followed, so many places were completely trashed with beer cans and red solo cups strewn all over the grass. We tried to clean up what we could without trespassing.

Yeah, it was kind of gross sometimes. We had gloves though!

Walking back from class today, I was surprised by what a notable difference we made. Usually the remnants of a weekend remain for a while, but instead it was surprisingly clean. I was able to enjoy the beautiful fall colors without seeing Keystone Light cans mixed in with the leaves on the ground. Yes, we got positive news coverage for non-theists, but we also cleaned up the community. That’s what it’s really about. National Secular Service Day isn’t a publicity stunt – non-theists are always participating in some sort of community service, but no one ever hears about it and then they claim we don’t volunteer. By all participating on the same day, we show that you do not need religion to be an ethical person.

Purdue’s National Secular Service Day makes local TV news

The Society of Non-Theists at Purdue University have yet again made it to the local TV news, this time for their participation in National Secular Service Day!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYcJv9lzNG4&hl=en&fs=1&]

1. They managed to say Non-Theists correctly this time, huzzah! No more non-thesises.
2. I give up on getting people to pronounce my last name correctly (though I find it amusing that she also almost messed up “Jennifer”). Remember: McCreight is always right. It rhymes.
3. Props to my fellow members for standing awkwardly in the background while I was talking, hehe.
4. Speaking of me talking, jeez my voice sounds low. I had a cold, shut up!

The comments WLFI’s website are positive so far, too!

Awesome, we need more people like him! (Jen’s Note: Uhhh, him?)

Some of the fraternity brats should do this too.

You will never get these frat pigs sobered up long enough to pick up after their own drunken orgies, good luck getting them to clean up someone Else’s mess. Thank you, society of Non-Theists, the world would be a better place with more good people such as yourselves!

Uhhh… okay, maybe not too positive towards the fraternities, but good for us!WLFI summarized what we were doing pretty well. Eighteen members from the Society of Non-Theists went around the Chauncey Village neighborhood from 9am to 12pm picking up trash from sidewalks and business area. We weren’t allowed on the lawns of private property, unlike what the news cast said, which was kind of unfortunate. After Purdue’s awesome defeat of Ohio State Saturday afternoon and the insane partying that followed, so many places were completely trashed with beer cans and red solo cups strewn all over the grass. We tried to clean up what we could without trespassing.

Yeah, it was kind of gross sometimes. We had gloves though!

Walking back from class today, I was surprised by what a notable difference we made. Usually the remnants of a weekend remain for a while, but instead it was surprisingly clean. I was able to enjoy the beautiful fall colors without seeing Keystone Light cans mixed in with the leaves on the ground. Yes, we got positive news coverage for non-theists, but we also cleaned up the community. That’s what it’s really about. National Secular Service Day isn’t a publicity stunt – non-theists are always participating in some sort of community service, but no one ever hears about it and then they claim we don’t volunteer. By all participating on the same day, we show that you do not need religion to be an ethical person.

Being gay is a choice, but religion is in your genes!

No, I didn’t suddenly make a big discovery while working in my genetics lab – you can thank House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) for the insight:

In an email, Boehner spokesman Kevin Smith said Boehner “supports existing federal protections (based on race, religion, gender, etc) based on immutable characteristics.” …”He does not support adding sexual orientation to the list of protected classes,” Smith continued.

What the hell, really? How many scientific studies do we need to throw at you ignorant bigots before you’ll accept that homosexuality has a genetic basis?! This is not a matter of opinion – homosexuality is not a choice. That assertion is usually enough to make me want to bash my head against a wall, but coupled with the ludicrous claim that religion is immutable? Yes, because people never ever change religions, and adopted children always grow up to be the faith of their biological parents. Thanks for submitting that Christian gene sequence to GenBank, really interesting to know a single point mutation can make someone phenotypically Muslim!

Yes, I know – sexuality is fluid. There are definitely cases of people who once identified as straight as later identifying as gay and vice versa. There are bisexuals whose attractions skew back and forth over time. But immutability shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor for what becomes a protected class. Even if people change their religion, gender, and sexual orientation, they shouldn’t be discriminated for it. Regardless, it’s obvious this man isn’t talking about fluid sexuality – he’s talking about homosexuality being a “choice,” and that what annoys me so much.

It terrifies me that people like this get elected to public office.

(Via Pandagon)

The Professor and the Hurt Ego

If you’ve been reading my blog from the beginning (which is only a small fraction of you), you’ll be familiar with my book review of the Professor and the Dominatrix. For the confused, I typed up a review of what can easily be labeled as the worst atheist book ever written. The writing was poor, the story was uninteresting, the sex scenes ranged from boring to ludicrous, and the author managed to inadvertently offend pretty much every minority group I can think of (this description is pretty much the understatement of the century, and I encourage you to read my original review). I say inadvertently because Professor John Harrigan (yes, it’s a bit of a Gary Stu) is not a Poe. How do I know? Well, he’s replied to me multiple times, very upset that someone dare not fall in love with his novel. That was in April/May.

Guess who just left another comment? For full disclosure, here you go*:

This is from John Harrigan, alive and well, and you might say still uncomfortably cranky. I remain surprised that the bright people who totally accepted Purdue Jen’s roiling words ignored the introduction to The Professor and the Dominatrix by Roy P. Fairfield, for thirteen years an editor of the Humanist along with Paul Kurtz, the person who established Free Inquiry, Skeptical Inquirer, Prometheus Books, and CFI.. Doesn’t it seem unlikely that Fairfield would praise a poorly written, homophobic, anti-fem, and anti-black book?

The current issue of The American Rationalist contains a review of my book by G. Richard Bozarth, an experienced reviewer for free-thought publications (see Reviewer’s Bookwatch Sept.1). Some quotes: “The sexuality is pure vanilla, though I suppose a prude would be very offended . . . The cultural analyses, since they are based on Freethought and Secular Humanist philosophy, are often better than what is offered by many contemporary crime investigation authors . . . Chapter 4, Critical Thinking 101 succinctly hits many different Freethought and Secular Humanist nails squarely on the head . . . The Professor and the Dominatrix should be supported by us, and I’m certain many will be very glad they did.”

The publisher has corrected the sixteen typos and is by my request reducing the price to $21.95, effective in early November.

Oh, John Harrigan. While I’m glad I didn’t give you an aneurysm, I don’t think you quite understand how every time you say something, it just amuses me even more. I’m going to keep this short and sweet, since I’ve already spent far too much time and effort talking about your horrible book. Books can receive mixed reviews. In fact, that’s the norm. Just because you have received good (not glowing, notice) reviews from two middle aged white males does not mean your book, as a whole, is an excellent piece of fiction. This is especially true when your target audience is the young and impressionable – and they are the ones who dislike your book the most. Or, the succinct version:

I thought your book sucked. So did others. Get over it.

Though I do have to thank you – that book review helped make my blog popular! I went from about 10 to 100 subscribers in a day thanks to a link at Pharyngula, and now I’m at 500 and counting. Thanks again!

Now, act your age and stop feeling threatened by some outspoken 21 year old on the internet.

*I tried to find Mr. Bozarth’s review and failed, but if anyone can secure a copy, let me know.

Reaching the Unreachable Children: An Open Letter to Richard Dawkins

Dear Dr. Dawkins,

I had the great privilege of attending your talk at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN on Monday the 12th. I am the co-founder and current President of the Society of Non-Theists, a student organization for atheists and agnostics at Purdue University (we forgive you for speaking at our rival). The God Delusion played a major part in encouraging me to be outspoken about my atheism, and I thank you for that. I was also incredibly excited to hear you speak about evolution, since I will be graduating this spring with degrees in Genetics and Evolutionary Biology and then starting my journey towards a PhD.

I am writing you because I was lucky enough to ask you a question in front of the audience, but you never answered. Here, to the best of my knowledge, is what I said:

“I had the misfortune of visiting the Creation Museum this summer. While there were many scary things there, the scariest was how it was full of children. When you see kids like this or those who are home schooled or going to religious school, they’re effectively being brainwashed. Is there anything we can do to teach them science, or are they a lost cause?”

You replied that the topic of brainwashed children put a bee in your bonnet, and talked for quite a while about how inappropriate it is to label kids as “Christian children” or “Muslim children.” You talked extensively about this topic in the God Delusion, and I agree completely. But because this is such an important topic, you seemingly got sidetracked and went on to the next question without answering mine. Some of my friends suggested that you sidestepped the question because you didn’t have a good answer, but I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and blame forgetfulness.

Usually I wouldn’t be so adamant about getting an answer, but as a freethinker and an evolutionary biologist, this question is particularly important to me. The cynic in me feels almost doomed when looking at these sheltered children. We all know how impressionable children are. A study by Randy Moore and Sehoya Cotner found that what students learned about evolution and creationism in high school was the most important factor in their future views on the subject. What young people are taught sticks, and it is very hard to undo such thorough brainwashing.

So what do we do?

We fight to keep creationism out of science classrooms in public schools, and we win our legal battles… but creationists just pull out their children. They sent them to private religious schools or homeschool them.

We promote evolution in museums across the country… but we can’t forcibly take children there. Instead, creationists build their own “museum” full of propaganda and lies for the sole purpose of indoctrination.

We make science oriented tv shows… but we can’t make them watch them. What would a creationist parent choose: Bill Nye (a personal favorite), or Veggietales? I know some religious families who don’t even own televisions at all, for the fear that their children are exposed to the evils of the outside world.

We can make pro-science video games like Math Blasters or Number Munchers… but we can’t make them play. The fact that I had such a hard time coming up with scientific video games isn’t a good sign either – where are we in that market? Theists have Charlie Church Mouse Bible Adventure, Left Behind… what do we have? Spore? That attempted to be able evolution, but was effectively Intelligent Design – and still had angry theists calling it evil anti-creationism propaganda.

We write books upon books… but will they ever reach these children? When I heard you were writing a skeptical children’s’ book, I was excited and then sad. Creationist parents aren’t going to buy that for their kids – its target audience is those who want to raise skeptical thinkers. Who knows if it would even be stocked in school libraries, or if a child would voluntarily choose it knowing his parent’s beliefs. Who knows if that child is even allowed to voluntarily choose a book, what with their parents’ constant surveillance. Look at Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series, which actually included God and the supernatural, but was avidly boycotted because it spoke against dogmatism.

I guess I’m wondering if there’s any hope at this point. Do we write these kids off as a lost cause? Should we focus our efforts on the fence sitters, the liberal theists, the people who sort of maybe accept evolution but with God’s guidance or other types of woo? Or are we just missing some vital strategy, an approach we haven’t tried yet? Short of kidnapping or mind control (neither of which I support*), I’m not sure what we could do. That’s why I’m curious as to what you think – maybe with your experience, you’re more creative than I am.

Thank you,

Jennifer McCreight
jmccreig(at)purdue.edu
http://blaghag.blogspot.com

In all honestly, I doubt I’ll get a response. Even if he wasn’t currently flying around on a book tour, Richard Dawkins is a busy man and probably receives far too many emails every day…but it was worth a shot. Feel free to comment and add your two cents. Do you think there’s a solution?

*I hate including such ridiculously obvious disclaimers, but creationists absolutely love quotemining sarcastic statements. Actually, they’ll probably do it anyway. Oh well.

Christian group: I hate religion because…

No, this isn’t some religious rant from me. A religious student group at Purdue, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, invited me and other members of the Non-Theists to an event they were holding today on Memorial Mall. They had a black board with “I HATE RELIGION BECAUSE…” written in large red letters, and invited students to write their opinions on the board.I ended up talking to some of them for a while (even though it was really cold outside, boo Indiana weather), especially the pastor who works with the group. He explained that they wanted to generate discussion about religion so they could learn from the different viewpoints and think about why some people dislike religion. Much like our Blasphemy Day event, they wanted to let people know it was okay to criticize religion – in fact, they encourage it. They don’t want people to blindly accept what they may have grown up with, be it Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, atheism. College is a place to question things and learn about different beliefs, and that applies to religion as well.

While they said no one was disrespectful, they were sad about some of the things written on the boards…not because they were mean, but because they were true about far too many religious people. Hatred of gays, lack of acceptance of science, judging others, being hypocritical…these are all things they concede that some Christians do in fact do. This group was more of the “Christianity is about a personal relationship with God, not organized religion, just love everyone and be a good person” thing. While I still don’t agree with the supernatural aspects (we had a long discussion about my atheism*), I really don’t mind these types of theists. They’re all about being moral people and loving others, and recognize you don’t need their brand of Christianity to be moral (and eagerly agreed that atheists can be moral).

Though, this one (temporary) counter protester amused me…
Why temporary?

Him: I actually came out because I thought they were those Non-Theists saying bad stuff about religion.
Me: I’m the President of the Non-Theists.
Him: …Oh.

After his initial embarrassment, he was actually pretty nice to talk to. I tried to make a point that we can dislike some aspects of religion but still like religious people – that we’re not just a bunch of cranky rabid anti-theists. I think I made my point, since he was friendly when I left.

EDIT: See that part that’s scribbled out? Apparently a friend of mine wrote “It’s okay to be gay” there, and the guy didn’t like it so much. Yeah, great Christian tolerance there.

I made one comment that I think the event’s organizers hadn’t thought of, and they were intrigued by. When the Non-Theists do a practically identical event – actually, more innocuous because we didn’t have “I hate religion because…” as the prompt, we just let people write whatever we want – people see us as hateful. “Why are those cranky, meany-head atheists going around criticizing religion? Can’t they just leave us alone?” But when a Christian group does the same exact thing, they’re praised for it. “Yes, we should definitely be critical of hateful, ridiculous things in religion! Speak up, question things!” It’s a double standard that really shows people’s biases.

If you’d like to see what people wrote, click the close ups of the signs below. Can you guess which one is mine?
*It always amuses me when I introduce myself as an atheist to religious people. 90% of the time there’s a look of awe/confusion, then they ask me why I’m an atheist. I really need to come up with a concise reply, but there isn’t one. My atheism, like most others, developed over decades and took a lot more thought than can be summarized in a short conversation. I generally try to explain my atheism as a null hypothesis, but non-scientists don’t really appreciate that. I also had to explain how my atheism is not a faith, what purpose there is to life (none, more shocked looks), and the other general things you hear over and over again… At least they were very thoughtful about my replies.

Richard Dawkins at Indiana University

Last night I attended Richard Dawkin’s talk about his new book, The Greatest Show on Earth, at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. It’s about a two and a half hour drive from Purdue, but still a good number (~50) of our club members made the journey down. The drive was fairly uneventful until we got on campus. Mark gleefully directed my attention to a bus that was parked at a stoplight. “Look, the atheist bus ad! …Wait a second…” We realized it was actually the reply to the atheist bus ad – the “You Can Be Good Without God but You Can’t Be Saved Without Jesus” slogan I blogged about a while ago. I guess they really did get printed. Thankfully we soon saw the real ad – “You Can Be Good Without God” – and we felt much better.

We parked and walked to the auditorium, and there were already two huge lines wrapped both ways around the building…and we had arrived an hour and a half early. Granted, our club had vouchers for reserved seats, but I was hoping to maybe get there early for a seat that was up close. Unfortunately the whole front of the bottom floor was filled once we finally got in, so we were sort of near the back. Not a huge loss since Dawkins was just talking, but oh well.I then snuck out before the show started to buy his new book. I had brought the God Delusion for him to sign, but I didn’t want him to get cranky since this is about his new book after all (and I was going to buy it anyway). I kept running into all these people I have random atheist-y connections with. Saw Joel from Campus Atheists and Agnostics of IPFW, a bunch of people from the Secular Alliance of IU, and August from the Secular Student Alliance. Rob (who I met at the SSA conference) tweeted about seeing me rush by in a crowd, but I missed him (sorry!).

The auditorium, which seats 3,200 people, was filled to capacity: they actually had to turn away 500-1,000 latecomers. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed about Dawkins’s talk itself – all he did was read excerpts from his new book for about 40 minutes. I’m going to read the book myself – it’s only a smidgen better hearing it from Dawkins, British accent and all. It was interesting, since he’s an excellent writer, but you didn’t miss much – just go read his book.

They then announced that he would be taking questions at two microphones up front, and I literally dashed out of my seat and raced to be near the front of the line (though don’t believe what my members tell you, I didn’t… seriously harm my competition on the way down). I was finally close enough to actually see his facial reactions, which was pretty awesome. Whenever someone would ask a stupid or confusing question (which was unfortunately the majority of them) he would contort his face in the way that can only be described as “Richard Dawkins is confused by your inane question.” For example (quotes summarized, couldn’t write things down, sorry):

History Professor: Why don’t scientists spend more time proving certain things of the Bible? That would make more people believe in science.
Dawkins: (after much confusion about what this guy was asking) Because the Bible was written by ancient Middle Eastern goat herders in a desert who knew nothing about modern science.

Guy: (In horrible attempt of a British accent) Goodday, I seem to have evolved a British accent during your talk!
Dawkins: …
Audience: *audible groaning*
Guy: (normal voice) Anyway, do you see anything at all as legitimate to intelligent design or creationism.
Dawkins: *walks back to microphone slowly, talks a long drink of water, pauses, then leans forward* No.

Finally I got my chance to speak, and to my best recollection I said, “I had the misfortune of visiting the Creation Museum this summer.” I actually got some random whoops and cheers from the audience at this point, not from Purdue people, which I’m mildly confused about? Anyway, “While there were many scary things there, the scariest was how it was full of children. When you see kids like this or those who are home schooled or going to religious school, they’re effectively being brainwashed. Is there anything we can do to teach them science, or are they a lost cause?”

Dawkins said he was glad I brought it up, because indoctrination of children is the “bee in his bonnet” that always gets him riled up…and riled up he got. He went on a rant you’ll be familiar with if you’ve read the God Delusion, that there is no such thing as “Christian children” or “Muslim children”; just children of Christian or Muslim parents. He went on for quiet a while, and it was a very good point…but then he went on to the next person and never answered my question! Gaaahhh! I was so upset that I finally got to ask Richard Dawkins a question and I didn’t get an answer, especially since many people (some random, not just my friends) said it was a very good one. Mark thinks he sidestepped it since he didn’t have a good answer, but I’m prone to think he distracted himself with his rant and totally forgot what he was originally supposed to be talking about. Sigh.

Oh, as a side not, I was also the only female to ask a question. Represent. The place was a giant sausage fest, like most gatherings of atheists.

There were other good questions (one about being an atheist but not being able to shake the fear of hell after years of indoctrination, which got him ranting again about child abuse) but since I wasn’t jotting stuff down, I don’t remember all of them. If you were there, feel free to add information in the comments. Thankfully, one of my favorite questions (and the closing one of the night, I believe that’s one of my Purdue people!) was caught on video (even though people weren’t supposed to be videotaping, oh well):

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZfMCXcL7e8&hl=en&fs=1&]

After the lecture we went to join the line for the book signing, which was massive. I was sort of afraid we all wouldn’t get through, but I was going to try. At this point some of my members showed me what lovely book they had received…Ray Comfort’s special edition of the Origin of Species! I kid you not. Some guy was outside the auditorium passing them out before the event, along with business cards talking about how evolution = Nazism, yadda yadda yadda. Wow. Two of our members right in front of me in line asked Dawkins if he would sign it, and he looked shocked and amused that they were being handed out, and ended up talking to them for quite a bit about the book. Then it was my turn!That’s me nervously stammering something about how honored I am to meet him because I’m the president of a student group for atheists at Purdue.His response? A very cheerful “Oh good, well done!” Yay! Look, he’s smiling instead of his previous “Bloody hell, how many more books do I have to sign?” look!

After that bit of glee, we all traveled to the Irish Lion pub for food and drinks with other atheists (no Dawkins though, unfortunately). We had the whole top floor of the place reserved, and there were probably a hundred people there. That was honestly the most fun part of the night, since it was either philosophical discussions about atheism or perverted humor (mostly the latter). We also happened to be at IU during their Nearly Naked Mile, where people run around in their underwear. We were all convinced there was, indeed, a god, especially after some random hot girl mooned us. Tell me again why I went to Purdue?

Meeting Dawkins was fun, and the talk was pretty good, but honestly I was most impressed by the turnout. Bloomington is far more liberal than West Lafayette, but it’s still in Indiana. But not only did they fill the place and have to turn people away, but the vast majority of the audience were supporters. Whenever Dawkins made a crack at religion, the entire auditorium was rumbling with laughter. When someone who obviously supported creationism asked a dumb question, the auditorium would groan and you could see people rolling their eyes and giggling.

I’m not saying all 3,200 of these people were atheists, but they were definitely freethinkers and skeptical of religion to some extent. To see that sort of reaction in Indiana gave me so much hope for the atheist movement. When someone famous like Dawkins comes to speak, people start coming out of the woodwork and show we have so much more support than we might think. I had originally cynically stated that if Dawkins came to Purdue, no one would show up – but now I have to wonder. Would we also have seen support that is usually silent? The optimist in me thinks so.

Going to see Dawkins tonight!

In an hour I’ll be leaving for Indiana University to see Richard Dawkins speak, woo! It’s a two and a half hour drive but totally worth it. About 50 members of the Society of Non-Theists are going, so we should have a decent sized group invading IU. I’m still a little miffed that our rival got to host him and we didn’t, but oh well. I’m bringing my copy of the God Delusion for him to sign, then going to a big pub gathering of atheists afterward. Should be fun!

Yeah, I really don’t have that much to say about it – just wanted to rub it in. Neener neener. Will post photos/review tomorrow morning.

Oh, and if anyone is wondering about the GRE, I did fine. Owned the math and did average on the verbal – I guess I’m your stereotypical scientist. The verbal is effectively a vocab test, where if you don’t know whatever obscure horrible word you’re given, you’re just screwed. Lovely. The hardest part of the whole exam was hand writing the paragraph in cursive about how you won’t cheat. Seriously, I haven’t used cursive since 5th grade – it looked like a 10 year old had written my statement!

GRE study book on God’s existance – failing at logical fallacies

So if you follow me on twitter at all, you have probably figured out that I’ve been cramming for the GRE (test to get into grad school). I’m taking the test tomorrow morning, so I’ve been reviewing one of those study guide books. I’m not too nervous, but I figured reviewing can’t hurt, especially since I haven’t done any math other than plugging in numbers for about three years (yay Purdue’s science curriculum).

I think I’m pretty much golden on the writing section. The first part you have to be able to express an opinion, and the second part you have to analyze an argument and find errors in their reasoning. Yeah, I think I’m pretty good at the whole being opinionated and criticizing faulty reasoning. Regardless, I started reading the section of Logical Fallacies…and found this:

Shifting the Burden of Proof
It is incumbent on the writer to provide evidence or support for her position. To imply that a position is true merely because no one has disproved it is to shift the burden of proof to others.

Example: Since no one has been able to prove God’s existence, there must not be a God.

There are two major weaknesses in this argument. First, the fact that God’s existence has yet to be proven does not preclude any future proof of existence. Second, if there is a God, one would expect that his existence is independent of any proof by man.

Are you kidding me? This is in the section on how to think logically? My only gripe is that the sentence says “must” – I would lower it to “most likely” or “probably” because yes, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. But regardless, the explanation they give is itself illogical. One, the burden of proof should lie on those who make claims. An absence of something extraordinary isn’t a claim – it’s a null hypothesis. If you have absolutely no proof, what is supporting your argument? Secondly, it’s effectively impossible to prove a negative (that something doesn’t exist), which again leaves the burden of proof with those making the claims. Three, future proof doesn’t hold any ground in current arguments. If I said that I might potentially eventually have proof that unicorns exist, would anyone take me seriously? If I said one day scientists may find that a diet of nothing but chocolate is good for your health, should we all eat nothing but chocolate? No, because it’s not real evidence. And finally, the last sentence about God’s existence being independent of any proof of man is a logical fallacy I like to call “Making Shit Up.” Why is God’s existence independent of any proof of man? What reason do you have to think that other than conveniently and arbitrarily defining God that way? Why God and not gods, or goddesses, or aliens, or fairies?

Logical fallacies when trying to teach logical fallacies. Thank you, book.