Monday, March 26, 2012

Christians at the Reason Rally - Part 1

If you were as lucky as we were at the Reason Rally, you either got handed Christian material by drive-by missionaries or else you got directly proselytized by the brave but rather unprepared apologists. The next two posts will be my account of these incidents.

We had not been there very long, sitting wrapped in our clear ponchos and holding our little signs, when the first guy came by. He sort of did a drive-by handout: swooping in long enough to hold out a tract and fleeing as soon as it was in Nathan's hand. I found it interesting that both Christians approached Nathan and not me - perhaps they just assumed that, as the man of the group, he would repent and I naturally would follow his lead. It's dangerous to assume that I, as an atheist female, do not have a functioning brain or a sassy mouth.

Regardless, this tract is the one the guy was handing out. How anyone can pass around this garbage with a straight face is beyond me. If these are the best arguments I could make for my beliefs, I think I'd go home and shoot myself in the head out of shame. It became very clear as I read this why the tract is delivered in a drive-by manner. If the gentleman had stopped and discussed any of these points with us, he would have been laughed all the way back to the port-a-potties (which is where arguments like these belong).

Let's take a look at the "arguments" in this pamphlet. First, we start out with this breathtakingly stupid introduction:
The theory of evolution of the Coca Cola can.
Billions of years ago, a big bang produced a large rock. As the rock cooled, sweet brown liquid formed on its surface. As time passed, aluminum formed itself into a can, a lid, and a tab. Millions of years later, red and white paint fell from the sky, and formed itself into the words "Coca Cola 12 fluid ounces."
The author proclaims that such a "theory" would be an insult to our intelligence which is true. To use this to try to disprove evolution, however, is even more of an insult. If these people can't tell the difference between living, changing material and an aluminum can, then what hope is there?

Now the test. Let's look at the banana (the one that got Ray Comfort mocked incessantly and then he tried to walk it back and say it was just a joke when clearly it is serious):
Note that the banana:

1. Is shaped for human hand
2. Has non-slip surface
3. Has outward indicators of inward content: Green--too early,
Yellow --just right, Black--too late.
4. Has a tab for removal of wrapper
5. Is perforated on wrapper
6. Bio-degradable wrapper
7. Is shaped for human mouth
8. Has a point at top for ease of entry
9. Is pleasing to taste buds
10. Is curved towards the face to make eating process easy
I'm not sure if Ray realizes it or not but the same could be said of the human penis. It's shaped for the human hand and is rather non-slip (yet easy enough for a hand or mouth to glide up and down). It's outward appearance can give us an idea whether it is ready to be used. It's definitely shaped for the human mouth and is shaped for easy entry of the vagina (or anus) as well. It's very pleasing for both parties when used right and can be curved toward the face.

Does that mean that God designed the penis for all these uses? I really wish I'd gotten a chance to ask the guy. But the point they are trying to make is that God made the banana just for our consumption. They do this by ignoring the fact that we have artificially bred bananas (as well as other things) for centuries to enhance these traits. 

We get into a series of questions now where they try to trap us into answers by only giving a few, narrow options. Of course we know the Coke can was designed by humans. We have no examples in nature of Coke cans randomly coming into existence. Next, they quote mine Darwin about the complexity of the eye, failing to print any of his answer to the problem and failing even further to note that this "irreducible complexity" argument has been shot down both by scientists and by lawyers during the Dover trial. 

Next we get questions about whether stuff has a maker or designer. It's more Coke can rubbish. Then they ask about order in the universe and was it accidental or design. They use more questions to try to trap us into saying that since we don't have complete knowledge of the universe, then we cannot definitively state that there is no designer (God). They neglect the fact that most atheists do not definitively state that but believe that it's true based on observation and testing.

Then they turn the whole thing back on us by declaring that we have chosen to be atheists because we want to sin. The whole 10 commandments thing is flung at us as if it is some model standard when the first part of it is the very antithesis of the Bill of Rights. The only people who could possibly be convinced by this tripe are those who either already believe or those who haven't bothered to examine any kind of logic. 

One of the last appeals is to listen to our conscience. My conscience tells me that any belief based on such irrationality is wrong. It tells me that belief in Yahweh as he is presented in the Bible is unreasonable and the worship of such a creature is evil. Furthermore, my conscience tells me that if I ever want to save someone from certain peril, I'd better do more than just throw a stupid tract at them. I'd better invest my time in actually helping.

Shame on Ray Comfort for selling these ignorant tracts. And shame on the Christians who gave them out without comment and running away before anyone could say anything. 

Here is a link to Part 2