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Author Topic:   An Army of One
BMG
Member (Idle past 286 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 31 of 59 (346307)
09-03-2006 10:29 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by dwise1
09-03-2006 10:18 PM


Re: An approach??
...if Gish fired off 10 "problems" in one minute...and each needed 30 minutes to respond to properly to demonstrate what was wrong with each claim, then the opponent would need five hours to respond in.
Interesting. You learn something new everyday.
Good luck
Thanks. Good researching could also go a long way.
AbE: My time's up. Thanks for the replies, I'll be back tomorrow.
Edited by Infixion, : No reason given.

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Belfry
Member (Idle past 5163 days)
Posts: 177
From: Ocala, FL
Joined: 11-05-2005


Message 32 of 59 (346310)
09-03-2006 10:49 PM


I recently had a similar experience. My sister - who has a BS in Biology and is now a veterinarian - has been born-again for a while, as I knew, but I hadn't really spoken to her about it. Several months ago, she decided to break the ice on the topic, by sending me Hugh Ross's book The Genesis Question as a Christmas present. It's an Old Earth Creationism book, filled with many of the same old creationist canards that we all know and love, minus the young-earth stuff. Hugh Ross is essentially a Day=Age Concordist.
My heart sank a bit. I didn't realize that she was a creationist - in fact, with our background (both parents were PhD biologists, mother went on to become an Episcopal priest - and still accepts evolution) I figured she probably was a theistic evolutionist. Meanwhile, she knew that I am agnostic, but had no idea that I'd had a great interest in the evo-creo debate (and am firmly in the evo camp) for quite a while. With the book, she sent a very nice letter explaining that she wanted to "come out" about her faith and was concerned about my reaction.
I emailed her and assured her that I completely accepted her beliefs and continued to warmly embrace and welcome her. Then I told her about my interests. I told her that I'd be happy to discuss the book, but that I was likely to be very critical of it (in fact I'd already filled the margins with rebuttals). I told her that if we talked about it, I wouldn't get angry, but it would end up as a debate, and I didn't know if she wanted that.
She said that she didn't want to debate, so I dropped it, and so did she. We've had good correspondence since, and she's actually going to be visiting with her family this week. I'll be interested to see if they bring the subject up, although I doubt it. We'll be too busy talking about our kids, I expect.
So, I guess that's all to say that I agree with what NosyNed said - sometimes it's best not to talk about it. But on the other hand, if my sister and/or her husband were to give me a scene like the one you experienced, I would absolutely respond, as calmly and unemotionally as possible. And I would suggest that we continue the discussion over email. As we all know, verbal debate is not the best format for this discussion.

Replies to this message:
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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1544 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 33 of 59 (346321)
09-04-2006 12:08 AM
Reply to: Message 30 by BMG
09-03-2006 10:22 PM


But again, I will remain optimistic that we can live in harmony and with a greater understanding and tolerance for one another.
Well, I envy your optimism. Understand that they belong to a religious tradition that informs them that, if they learn to understand and tolerate your difference, they've failed in their duty to God and in their love to you.
That's going to be something that's hard for them to get over. I hope it works out for you.

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Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 3675 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006


Message 34 of 59 (346338)
09-04-2006 1:59 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by BMG
09-03-2006 11:07 AM


Infixion:
Any suggestions for an outnumbered, evolutionist, army-of-one?
You're getting some good ideas here. My two cents has to do with the family dynamic, not the subject of debate.
I would insist that all verbal discussions of these matters be conducted between two people. Only. I would politely but firmly refuse to be drawn into debates with a gang.
If they are so eager to talk to you about this, they will comply.
Ganging up is more than an attempt to talk to you. It is also a performance they put on for each other. This performance--using you as the foil--could even be the higher priority for them.
The scene lets them gain status and build solidarity. Where tensions exist in their relationships with each other, you make a perfect lightning rod for discharging the negative energy.
It's impossible to have a productive conversation in this kind of scene. They're running interference for each other. None of them are going to concede anything with the others watching. If you get someone thinking, someone else will change the subject. It's pointless.
And the whole thing just reinforces a 3-against-1 picture of the family in which you are the odd one out. It's worth asking yourself who stands to gain the most from that picture.
That's why I think it's a good idea to insist that any conversation on these matters be a real dialog. Two people. No more.
Try it and the results might surprise you. The subject might never even come up again.

Archer
All species are transitional.

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Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 5110 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 35 of 59 (346390)
09-04-2006 9:43 AM
Reply to: Message 32 by Belfry
09-03-2006 10:49 PM


compromise?
Well, then one ends up like my mother who thinks that both are fully compatible without knowing nor CARING how different the two are. Instead she has an inordinate intrest in the practicalities in/of my life.
My sister's husband is an Episcopal Priest in Miami.
I have a brother though who manages to get around all of it by teaching Thermodynamics in France (I'm in the wedding if you look hard enough). His bride, a Southern Babtist got far away from that influence.
http://www.mcfalltravels.com/

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Replies to this message:
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BMG
Member (Idle past 286 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 36 of 59 (346412)
09-04-2006 11:21 AM
Reply to: Message 32 by Belfry
09-03-2006 10:49 PM


So, I guess that's all to say that I agree with what NosyNed said-sometimes it's best not to talk about it.
I couldn't agree more, Belfry. But sometimes, I don't know, I really feel like discussing it. I not only want to learn why they believe and feel about the divine the way they do, but through verbal dialogue I can sometimes learn why I believe what I do.
I just prefer to do it in a civil manner, not one in which voices are raised, tempers flare, and emotions run high. It seems pointless and a waste of breath.
I don't know. Thanks for your reply.

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BMG
Member (Idle past 286 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 37 of 59 (346416)
09-04-2006 11:31 AM
Reply to: Message 33 by crashfrog
09-04-2006 12:08 AM


Understand that they belong to a religious tradition that informs them that, if they learn to understand and tolerate your difference, they've failed in their duty to God and in their love to you.
And this is what is most frustrating and disconcerting about the whole situation. It's a justification for poking or prodding into another's personal life.

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BMG
Member (Idle past 286 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 38 of 59 (346425)
09-04-2006 11:56 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by Archer Opteryx
09-04-2006 1:59 AM


Ganging up is more than an attempt to talk to you. It is also a performance they put on for each other.
This is very, very likely.
The scene lets them gain status and build solidarity.
I agree. It's also a game of "proselytize the heretic".
None of them are going to concede anything with the others watching.
Good point. If I make an apt rebuttal to one of their questions, I see, before being jerked to another's question, they stop for just a few seconds, look down, and think of what I have just said. Then, they will look to others on the team.
That pensive look quickly fades, or is cast away like a dog shaking off fleas.
It's worth asking yourself who stands to gain the most from that picture.
It is. This is where my faults take center stage. A shimmer of me still wants to believe that I can get through to them, even with a group discussion.
A small sense of pride, it would seem, is sinking my ship. I have many faults of my own that need addressing, but the question you posed I will most certainly keep close.
Thanks Archer.

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Replies to this message:
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BMG
Member (Idle past 286 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 39 of 59 (346434)
09-04-2006 12:17 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by Brad McFall
09-04-2006 9:43 AM


Re: compromise?
Well, then one ends up like my mother who thinks that both are fully compatible without knowing nor CARING how different the two are.
You're right. Compromise was a poor word choice. Not necessarily a compromise, but just an understanding. Peace. "I'll go my way, and you go yours", so to speak.
I care greatly in better understanding evolution, science, and organized religion. I went the extra step just last year and took a world religions class in which the professor was an Episcopalian Pastor. I guess Pastor is the word, not sure.
He was a very kind, tolerant and understanding person. He didn't preach, not once. He gave the facts, what each religion taught, the different branches each religion grew into, and so on.
If more Xians, and followers of faith were like him, there's no telling how deep and sure-footed the roots of harmony could grow.
Thanks, Brad.
P.S. I looked through the photo album. Great shots. I couldn't recognize which one was you though.

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Replies to this message:
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 Message 53 by Brad McFall, posted 09-04-2006 6:28 PM BMG has replied

  
jar
Member
Posts: 34047
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 5.7


Message 40 of 59 (346435)
09-04-2006 12:26 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by BMG
09-04-2006 12:17 PM


Re: compromise?
I care greatly in better understanding evolution, science, and organized religion. I went the extra step just last year and took a world religions class in which the professor was an Episcopalian Pastor. I guess Pastor is the word, not sure.
Probably Priest. Reverand or Right Reverand are also common. But in the Episcopal Church, Joe, or Tom or Katherine is also acceptable.

Aslan is not a Tame Lion

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Replies to this message:
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BMG
Member (Idle past 286 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 41 of 59 (346437)
09-04-2006 12:32 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by jar
09-04-2006 12:26 PM


Re: compromise?
Probably Priest. Reverand or Right Reverand are also common. But in the Episcopal Church, Joe, or Tom or Katherine is also acceptable.
I'll keep that in mind. Thanks, Jar.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 40 by jar, posted 09-04-2006 12:26 PM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
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Dr_Tazimus_maximus
Member (Idle past 3294 days)
Posts: 402
From: Gaithersburg, MD, USA
Joined: 03-19-2002


Message 42 of 59 (346438)
09-04-2006 12:35 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by BMG
09-04-2006 11:56 AM


Hi Infixion,
I do not envy you the position that you are in. While my family is not fundamentalist several of the members are practicing catholic. I am never going to forget the scandalized expressions on their faces when they told me that I needed to be confirmed (I pretty much dropped out of the church in my early teens) for a priest to perform at the weeding and I said that I could care less. My wifes family is baptist and some of them are real die hard fundies (the extended not the immediate so I lucked out there) so when we get together we try to avoid the topic, although some of them have on occasion been foolish enough to tell me that I needed to do gods will, you can guess from my writing tone where those comments went .
The advice to avoid the issues is a good one if you want to maintain good relationships with your family, but that sounds like it will be unlikely. When I have been in these situations I have always found a polite but firm offense to be the best tactic. I also bear in mind that the odds of my ever changing a fundamentalists mind (backed as it is with faith and not reason) with logic and reason are slim at best. The other thing that I do (and I believe has been mentioned on occasion here) is to learn the creationist arguements as they have a tendency to be passed on to the fundamentalist by preachers or prayer group leaders in a repetitious form. As they will likely NOT want to discuss it with you one on one your only tactic will be to understand their arguements and strategy in advance (i.e. defeat superior numnbers with an advance understanding of their strategy. Dawkins is good although I disagree with many aspects of his selfish gene theory, S.J. Gould is another good author. Two outstanding books for the non-scientist are "The Evolution-Creation Struggle" by Michael Ruse and "Creationism on Trial" by Langdon Gilkey but anything that goes over the refuted but still oft-recycled creationism arguements is good for standing against the Gish Gallop, or another term that I like to use the Morris Morass

"Chance favors the prepared mind." L. Pasteur
and my family motto
Transfixus sed non mortis
Taz

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jar
Member
Posts: 34047
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 5.7


Message 43 of 59 (346441)
09-04-2006 12:43 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by BMG
09-04-2006 12:32 PM


Re: compromise?
The Episcopal church doesn't much worry about such things. If you called him a pastor, or minister, or reverand or priest it would be just fine. There is a difference between the priesthood though and the diaconate but other than that most any term will do. Father is also very common when refering to an Episcopal priest. Brother is usually reserved for those in the monastic orders though.
Women priests go by all the same titles with the exception of Father, and the terms Mother and Sister are pretty much exclusive to the nuns (and yes, there are Episcopal nuns).
The new Presiding Bishop (the head of the Episcopal Church) is a woman named Katharine Jefferts Schori and was an oceanographer with NMFS out of Seattle. She is also a pilot and loves to rock-climb.

Aslan is not a Tame Lion

This message is a reply to:
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BMG
Member (Idle past 286 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 44 of 59 (346446)
09-04-2006 1:18 PM
Reply to: Message 42 by Dr_Tazimus_maximus
09-04-2006 12:35 PM


The advice to avoid the issues is a good one if you want to maintain good relationships with your family, but that sounds like it will be unlikely.
I don't know. I have a good relationship with my family, I guess. It seems prescriptive issues are the ones most troubling. I learned a little time ago to limit greatly the need to debate prescriptive issues (abortion, gay rights, immigration, foreign policy, religion).
...the odds of my ever changing a fundamentalist mind...with logic and reason are slim at best.
Yes, I had to learn this the hard way.
The other thing that I do...is to learn the creationist arguments as they have a tendency to be passed on to the fundamentalist by preachers or prayer group leaders in a repetitious form.
I agree. Thus my desire to read up and learn more of what each side is trying to say.
About the arguments being passed on by preachers seems fairly concrete. As I mentioned earlier, my brother came directly home from a Rick Warren sermon, and immediately used the false dilemma(sp); you're either an evolutionist or a Xian. There can be no middle ground.
It's troubling and frustrating to see members of your own family willingly suspend critical thinking.
Thanks Doc.

This message is a reply to:
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BMG
Member (Idle past 286 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 45 of 59 (346449)
09-04-2006 1:27 PM
Reply to: Message 43 by jar
09-04-2006 12:43 PM


Re: compromise?
The new Presiding Bishop(the head of the Episcopal Church) is a woman named Katharine Jefferts Schori and was an oceanographer with NMFS out of Seattle. She is also a pilot and loves to rock climb.
An interesting life, she leads.

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