Arguing with evangelicals is like wrestling with a bollard

I hope you all have some fun with this conversation between the Knechtle evangelical group and some radical materialist named “Meyers” or “Meyer”.*

They were congenial enough, but I kept slamming up hard against their presumptions about what an atheist must think. No headway was made. I’m pretty sure that they’ll continue to assume that every atheist they meet is an amoral robot or is secretly imbued with the spirit of Jesus.

*I surrender. I have totally given up on correcting people misspelling or mispronouncing a name that is only 5 letters long.


  1. whheydt says

    About the name problem…. When we were married, my wife cheerfully changed her name because far too many people were unable to spell or pronounce…Jones. Our daughter cheerfully changed hers, because by then she was all too aware that people can’t spell or pronounce Heydt…then she discovered that people can’t spell or pronounce Creelman, either.

    (I can understand people having trouble with Heydt. But the other two? WTF?)

  2. hemidactylus says

    I thought deliberately misspelling your name was a long running inside joke…upwards of two decades. Kinda like how they had to drug BA to fly on the A-Team. People do it by accident? So much for beloved traditions Meirz.

  3. fossboxer says

    Kudos to you, PZ, for putting up with this horseshit. I made it about 20 minutes and gave up. The first guy, going on about all the good religion has brought to the world? Say what? Then along comes fundie two, a straight-up obnoxious asshole, all puffed up thinking he’s doing some kind of righteous beat-down on the evil atheist. Was this suppose to be good-cop, bad-cop? No thanks, I’m out.

  4. =8)-DX says

    Welp, made it as far as the “look what Christianity is doing for women in Africa!” And, nope nope nope. That level of rose-tint is unbearable.

  5. anxionnat says

    Agreed with above. Also, the idiot refers to Africa (22 countries, last I checked) as a “country” and refers to African “tribes.” Sorry, couldn’t make it any further. I’ve got better things to do than listen to idiots. (Kudos to you, PZ for putting up with nonsense as long as you have.)

  6. birgerjohansson says

    I can only assume PZ developed his patience after raising several Bart Simpson clones. :-)
    BTW isn’t there a SNL sketch where a guy named ‘Bagina’ finally snaps and kills people?
    Also, the greeks were pretty good at thinking about ethics without some monotheistic god. But if they do not get that, just say ‘Blade Runner’ is not a documentary’ when people imply atheists must be soulless robots.

  7. Alt-X says

    Man, that guy is delusional. Wow. So this is the BS they feed each other… just wow.

    Christianity raises up women?! What planet does this guy live in? That is some Alt-history weirdness.

  8. Alt-X says

    And as for the whole “there are so many Christian’s we can’t be all wrong” thing, I’m constantly reminded of how in the 80’s most of the planet smoked cigarettes. Does mean it was the right thing to do :)

  9. Alt-X says

    Haha yeah, Christians and Catholics hate each other. And that’s the thing, even if tomorrow the whole world turned into jebus lovers, they’d just start killing each other (once again) over which Christian religion was the real Christian religion hehe. There literally could never be “peace on earth” with religion being the driving factor.

    Re: Hitler. He wasn’t the one pulling the trigger – that was the Christian german soldiers, happy to play along. Hitler could be a Hindu and it wouldn’t make a difference – the Germans that killed my family were all religious christians/Catholics. And that’s the same sh-t we see today with the alt-right. Bible in one hand, gun in the other.

    I also question the guys claim about pew research on Atheism decreasing- says the opposite. But “Lying for Christ ™” is a thing, they think it’s a noble act.

  10. untheist says

    The “stepping on an ant” vs. “stepping on a baby” gambit is a false dichotomy. You could also give the example of “stepping on an ant” vs. “stepping on a puppy.” It’s not about human vs. non-human; it’s clearly a continuum.

  11. blf says

    @15, Christians and Catholics — Raping children cultists are a xian cult, I think you meant something like “any two different cults”.

  12. Alt-X says

    And re: Africa. A family member worked in Nigeria for 10 years (we’re Africa decent) in the Oil industry. He was disgusted in the way they treated each other. Sunday they’re all in church, jumping around, crying, carrying on, acting like the most outlandish display of belief would show others how SUPER christian they are…

    Then on Monday go back to treating each other like total sh-t. Honestly, by the end of it, he was embarrassed to be African. Just because the churches are packed (let’s be honest- the only thing the western Christians care about) doesn’t mean it’s a net positive for the society. Once again, 100% of the German army could be god worshipers and it wouldn’t mean a f-cking thing when they’re putting bullets into 10yr old children’s brains.

    Man I f-king hate religion. I’m telling you, religion will be the cause of death for the human race.

  13. Alt-X says

    @17 yeah, you’re right. It’s all the same sh-t, different name. They know their organisation will outlast a human life. They just need to wait for this gen to pass, then they regurgitate the same lies to the next generation and put on the act of acting all innocent and meek. It’s worked for the past thousand years, but I think the archive that is the Internet is going to fu-k them in the long run. They can’t hide the truth of their actions any longer.

    As some dude once said, “by their fruits you will know them”… ;-)

  14. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    I’ll just leave this lyric from Jason Isbell here (from the song “Relatively Easy”)

    Is your brother on a church kick?
    Seems like just a different kind of dope sick
    Better off to teach a dog a card trick
    Than try to have a point and make it clear

  15. Louis says

    I don’t post very often any more, but I am compelled to make The Joke. The Joke that has existed since Talk.Origins and before. It is important we keep these traditions going.

    {Clears throat}

    {Limbers up}

    I don’t understand this at all. I mean, how difficult is it to spell Meiers?

    {Does cool down}

    I did this so you don’t have to. There’s no need to thank me.


  16. robro says

    There are several ways to spell my last name which is probably an Anglicized version of an Irish name, so it’s already mangled. My name ends in “-nan”, but it gets “-nen” or “-non” at the end regularly. Not a big deal, but my dad had a cousin who changed his name to end “-non” because it happened so often and it annoyed him.

    I don’t know why you talk to these people, PZ. Have you ever considered you might be a bit masochistic?

  17. Artor says

    My last name has a silent G in it. I had a friend visit last weekend who has known me for 30 years, and he still gets it wrong. I feel your pain, Z.P.

  18. johnlee says

    I’m impressed that you were willing to give up so much of your valuable time to these people, however ‘congenial’ they may have been.
    I can’t remember who it was that said you can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into, but it’s true.
    I can happily have a dialogue with liberal Christians about the need to empower women and protect civil rights, but I hionestly wouldn’t spend a minute trying to get them to unhderstand why I’m an atheist

  19. birgerjohansson says

    Maybe change your name to ‘Zukunft’, it is symbolically the opposite of what the god-botherers have.

  20. zaledalen says

    Well, I got 54 minutes into this and the Gish Gallop got to me. PZ, I admire your calm and your patience in the face of these vacuous arguments. They seem to think endlessly repeating their points, talking louder and more forcefully, would somehow be convincing. Endlessly repeating an assertion is not persuasive.
    I have long believed that there is no Christian who actually believes their dogma. If they believed it, they couldn’t hold the attitudes they hold and be so blind to the contradictions. How could a person do something they know is wrong if they really believed they were being watched by the celestial stalker and would be judged for their actions?
    Any good story editor would see the holes in their fairy tales. If their god is all knowing, how come it wasn’t until Adam and Eve covered up their nakedness that he realized they had eaten of the tree of knowledge? Maybe he’s just a bit slow, eh.

  21. Mrdead Inmypocket says

    Catholics are christian enough when the the right wants to pick some regressive for the SCOTUS though. (Amy Coney Barrett) So I guess it’s a relative categorization.

  22. answersingenitals says

    In my 80+ years I have traveled extensively in the US including 40 0f the 50 states plus DC and I have yet to meet a Christian. It appears you haven’t met one either.

  23. favog says

    “there’s gotta be … there’s gotta be … I don’t have any evidence for it other than my very insistence that there’s got to be, but there’s gotta be” was the gist of his argument. Like I said it would be when you first told us this was going to happen. And I think it’s overly generous to say he was straw manning you, when a straw man is a distorted version of an argument and he was attributing to you the actual opposite of what you said in so many cases.

  24. says

    If you get frustrated with name permutations, be glad none of your grandchildren is named after me.

    My parents were secretly married in a village with a despised minority of Catholics and Eastern Europeans.
    So the upside is that “Burr,” being an old family name, did keep peace in the family.