Aron Ra vs. Creationism (Blogged by Courtney)
Aron Ra & Lilandra

My friends Aron & Lilandra are delving into a topic near and dear to their heart – Creationism and the quacks who promote it! PZ Myers is moderating the discussion.

3:00 – Brief introduction by PZ and we get right down to business. Aron talks about how it’s important to remember we typically aren’t debating the “professional creationists,” and they could be the next Matt Dillahunty. That’s why these sorts of conversations are necessary.

Aron Ra definitely has his share of experience with extreme creationists, and made many offers to debate creationists. Most of the time these creationists would back out – even stating that they weren’t going to be swayed by any scientific evidence and they just wanted to believe in Creationism. He finally stumbled across one creationist whose username was “ConsideringLily,” who actually did engage him and wanted to learn the truth. If you hadn’t guessed, she is the Lilandra on this very panel and they have been happily married for 5 years. PZ says if this is what comes of debates, he dreads the possibility of debating Ken Ham.

Aron Ra compares professional creationists to used car salesmen. Used car salesmen everywhere are insulted. Lilandra talks about how professional creationists have seen all the evidence and just don’t care about the facts. The truth doesn’t matter to these people, because they think if you invalidate one part of the Bible, you invalidate all of it. This is incredibly accurate, and is actually what I myself was raised to believe!

3:10 – Lilandra talks about being embarrassed by the things she used to post when she was a Christian. I can certainly relate to that!

Aron tells some stories about debates, including one creationist who told him to stop using so many big words. He also talks about the personal attacks he’s received from debate moderators – using their position as moderator to demean atheists (regardless of whether that was germane to the topic of biology at hand).

Aron talks about so-called academic debates where moderators refused to define terms because “the audience should define them for themselves.”

3:20 – “If you want to maintain your belief in Jesus, don’t call me anymore.” – Aron, to Lilandra, before she deconverted from Christianity.

Lilandra is now talking about her kerfuffle with Ken Ham, stating she doesn’t think he actually believes anything he preaches.

PZ has a question from the audience about how Aron handles Intelligent Design (ID) creationists, when arguing with them is generally like trying to nail Jello to a wall. Aron responds that ID’ers are different because proponents of ID try to convince you that ID is different from creationism. He outlines the evolution (har!) of the ID movement, who used to be called “Design Proponents” and have even been funded by the Discovery Institute.

3:30 – Aron: “Penguins are dinosaurs, just as we are apes.” Countdown to Ken Ham misusing this soundbyte in 5…4…3…2…1…

Aron: “When you start getting into these arguments, and you can see the evidence, you have a choice to make pretty quickly. Are you going to remain a Creationist, or are you going to remain honest? It is no longer possible to be both.”
Lilandra: “That’s why Christians are scared of Evolution.”

3:40 – Lilandra is now playing an insanely racist and offensive quote from “Wretched” with Todd Friel of Way of the Master “fame.” After the racism, they then start attacking Lilandra (notably not giving any sort of rebuttal to her argumentst). He also states teaching evolution is the reason for school violence.

PZ makes a valid point (as he is wont to do) about how interesting it is to hear creationists talk about how rude and arrogant atheists are, after listening to clips like the disgusting one from “Wretched.” Aron adds on that they opened a segment about an Asian-American woman with racist commentary at the beginning, and then ended by using “dumb/goofy” voices to impersonate evolutionists. It’s a good indicator of the quality of intellectualism we are dealing with.

3:50 – “It takes longer to break down one lie, than it does to spew 50 of them.” – Aron, discussing the common creationist tactic of throwing out every lie and “argument” in the book so that there isn’t any time to rebut them all. This makes the creationist look like the victor.

Question for Lilandra: “How does your Christian family handle your deconversion.” She states that her sister refuses to speak to or acknowledge a relationship. Her Southern Baptist father did not acknowledge her conversion before he died, and her Catholic mother does not acknowledge it either. These stories are strikingly common in the atheist community.

Lastly: Aron, Lilandra, and PZ would like to plug their upcoming FREE event in Houston, TX which is taking place on Sunday, August 4th, which I will be attending! The event is co-sponsored by Houston Atheists and Humanists of Houston. In addition to Aron, Lilandra & PZ, speakers include Zack Kopplin and Mike Aus. More details can be found on the Skepchick events page!