Laying a good smackdown

I love getting these kinds of letters:

Jacob,

Just wanted to drop a quick line to share an encounter I just had with a Jehovah’s Witness while walking my dog. She stopped to ask me about my religious views and I told her I was an atheist. Then she asked if I believed in evolution and I said “Of course, but I don’t have to believe in it, it’s a scientific fact.” She replied with “Well, it’s only a theory.” Of course I had to explain to her what the word theory meant and bring up the example gravity, etc. Then she tried to go into the intelligent design stuff. I won’t bore you with the details, but I was calm and genial with her and at the end she kept trying to excuse herself as I was answering her points and bringing up new ones. After five minutes she literally had nothing else to say other than there was a ‘publication’ about creation vs. evolution that I should read. So sad, these people. I know I won’t convert someone like that but it was satisfying for her to realize there are people who aren’t gullible idiots who can trump her mythology with reason every time. Love the show. Keep up the good fight!

You really can’t “convert” anyone over night. It’s a slow process, but trust me when I say it’s experiences like this that chip away at the certainty people have in regards to their faith. The more we challenge these bozos, the better. You keep up the good work, Joel!

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Comments (10)

  • avatar

    Sterling Knight

    At this point I just wish that these people would kindly leave me the fuck alone. I don’t like arguing with people on the street, but my two acceptions are other students and especially teachers.

  • avatar

    I evolved from an ape, whats your excuse?

    I hate arguing with these kinds of people, I treat them with an open mind and with respect but they can’t seem to argue on the same level what so ever. Maybe its the blinders that they have been wearing for so many years, slowing their thought, or maybe they we asking god for an answer to each of my questions, but it is like pulling teeth to get a simple debate started. I think every sentient being has the right to live with full knowledge of good and bad, real and fake. If you choose to live in fake, rather than real so be it, but be aware of your choices.

  • avatar

    Laura

    Of course, this letter shows the exact opposite of what you hoped for.
    Evolution has never been proven scientifically. It can’t. In order to be proven by science, you must be able to observe it. It’s called the Scientific Method. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Gravity can be observed – the age-old story of the apple falling from the tree. Since evolution cannot be observed, it is still a theory. For all your bashing of faith, let me put it to you this way – it takes just as much faith to believe in evolution as it does to believe in a Creator. Just as you cannot “see” God, you cannot “see” evolution. Better luck next time.

  • avatar

    Tim

    I try to be polite, but for anyone looking for a way to get rid of them quickly, my great aunt betty found that if you tell them you were excomunicated from there group, they can’t run away fast enough.

  • avatar

    Aegis

    Laura, evolution has been observed. Google for a guy called Richard Lenski, who’s been working with the nice version of everyone’s favorite spinach contaminant, E. coli.

    You see, E. coli doesn’t eat citrate. You put E. coli in a petri dish full of citrate, and it’s like bringing a vegan to a McDonalds. They’ll smile politely, tell you they’ll pick something up later, and secretly wonder what the fuck you were thinking bringing them there. But then a funny thing happened. A random mutation produced some E. coli that would, if you’ll pardon the extension of the analogy, “try the Chicken McNuggets”. And it wasn’t long before the McNugget-loving bacteria thrived in the McNugget-rich environment.

    This is what those in the know call EVOLUTION. A new species of E. coli arising from an existing variant, because it had sprung from a mutation that could take advantage of the environment in a way that the parent species could not. This is, literally, how evolution works. It took them twenty years, but they did it and observed it. The paper’s online. Check it out. Or don’t. Either way, quit squalling about stuff that’s been proven wrong already.

  • avatar

    HB

    Yes, Laura is clearly either confused, ignorant of the facts, or a liar. He/She is likely to have a bias, but I won’t presume to know. In either case, Laura needs to do just a tiny bit more searching and learning.

  • avatar

    WCLPeter

    Despite the fact that we have entire museums dedicated to the evidence for evolution and that the bulk of modern medicine couldn’t exist without an understanding of evolution, many people still hold to the idea that science fact requires some kind of faith to believe in it.

    I’ve always like this little bit from Greydon Square’s “A Rational Response” that explains evolution in a very clear and concise way.

    “First of all, microevolution been proven
    In the same way that sound waves let you listen to music
    And macroevolution is the system of change
    At or above the level of the species inflicted with change
    That’s microevolution on a grand scale we can’t even word
    because our life span’s too short to observe”

    Remember we have whole buildings filled with the evidence for evolution, both micro and macro, and you can even go visit those buildings to look at the evidence for yourself. Pharmaceutical companies are able to provide medicines that save lives because of an understanding of evolution.

    Facts and Proof, no Faith required.

  • avatar

    Michelle

    @Laura

    Are you serious?
    First of all, in science vocabulary theory has a different meaning. In science a hypoteses becomes a scientific theory which is confirmed to be correct after many experiments and studies which had been done and done again.

    In fact, examples of evolution can be observed. The fact virus become more and more resistent to our antibiotics for example; due the abuse of antibiotics it occurs a change in the virus’ genetic code which makes them resistent to antibiotics and they pass this newly acquired mutation to their descendents. That’s evolution, sweety.

  • avatar

    nolan

    Answering ‘atheist’ when asked what your religious views are needs to stop; the writer incorrectly affirmed that atheism is a religion.

    ‘Not religious’ is the correct answer.

  • avatar

    Ryan

    I am a new reader of this blog, and I love it. After reading this post, I just had to share my own experiences with Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    Much to my wife’s chagrin, I almost always engage Witnesses in religious conversation when they come to my door, much like the guy walking his dog in the post. I try to be polite and inquisitive about their beliefs, and to also ask difficult questions (my favorite: “If Jesus/God is all-knowing and unchanging, why was he so cool with slavery back in the good ‘ol days?”). One of my greatest joys is seeing them struggle to excuse themselves from my house as I extol the virtues of atheism. Sometimes, the senior Witness comes to the door and says something along the lines of “Hey, Jim, that’s great that you’re spreading the Word to this atheist and all, but we’ve got a lot of other houses to hit today.”

    Something has happened, though, that I did not expect. I now get repeat visits from a few of the Witnesses. Whenever I have free time, I invite them in and offer them something to drink. We have respectful debates about religion and find a surprising amount of common ground (they also think Mormonism is strange). In the end, neither of us has a ghost of a chance of converting the other, but I think it has changed their perception of atheists, and honestly, has helped change my perception of Witnesses.

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