IEE: Discussion Starters

We present a new edition of Ideological Education Essentials! (Otherwise known as 'Science' Education Essentials)

And finally, where would we be without some Discussion Starters?

Dr Forlow divides these up into ‘classroom’ and ‘dinner table’ starters:

How long do you think it took to build this school? How long do you think it would take to fly to somewhere on the other side of the world? How old do you think the earth is? How do you know that?

The first question returns to the idea that you need written, eyewitness records. However, there are other ways to date a school. How old are the textbooks? If land was cleared during construction, and allowed to regrow since, what level of succession has taken place? How yellowed is the map on the wall? How many layers of paint are there on the roof? What period do the tiles correspond to? What level of health and safety regulations does the building fit? What other schools of know age have similar characteristics to this one?

In schools that have been built progressively over time, you can also easily see which rooms are older than each other. It may even be possible to determine the age of rooms without recourse to the written records at all. In short, it’s even worse than a “bad analogy.”

“Older students” are given the task of watching that goddamn video, and summarising its “message to tell others [that] the earth is 6,000 years old.”

If you can’t remember from before the logic of that video – if it can be called ‘logic’ – is that A, 1 billion is a very big number and B, they have a couple of PRATTs that prove that the earth could not be billions of years old, therefore C, the Earth is 6,000 years old.

At dinner, you are supposed to broach the theological question of, effectively, why did God bother? My favourite solution to this age-old, purely hypothetical question is that God is trying to build up a fanatical army to fight some opponent – who will be equated with Satan – and which will not desert Him even in the face of defeat and/or massive evidence in favour of the idea of said deity being a complete twat.

For the older student: Genesis 1:2 says, “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” What does this verse tell you about what God formed the earth out of? If you were having a conversation with a friend who was an atheist, how could you use this verse and the creation account in Genesis to show evidence of God?

Look: atheists are generally not satisfied with bible verses. You can’t use the bible to prove the bible – this passage is not evidence in favour of there being a god. The correct answer for her, judging by various pieces on the ICR’s main website, is that God made the earth out of water, but that’s a pretty weak argument even theologically.

What interesting “discussions” these would be…


One thought on “IEE: Discussion Starters

  1. Related to the second one: I worked for two weeks at a fast food place in an amusement park before I quit (actually worked one week and put in a 7-day notice). This was just after graduating high school. Besides hating the job, and accidentally inhaling hot dog steam that stayed in my nose for two days, the one thing I remember is that there was a bible camp nearby that was sending its peeps to the park to work to pay for their summer board. There were two who ended up where I was working.

    And as an out of the closet atheist at the time, I actually had several conversations with the guy over washing dishes and working the line. And they were enjoyable. There was absolutely no way I’d ever convince him of my views, but I wasn’t really trying, they were just pleasant discussions.

    One night after we’d cleaned the place and were walking back to our cars, he asked if he could try something out on me. We then ducked behind some bushes and he … um, I mean, he said that that day in camp they had learned how to “spread the Word” and convince someone in the space of 60 seconds to convert, and he wanted to test it on me. I asked if he wanted me to time him.

    His basic argument was, “Why wouldn’t you want someone to have died for everything you’ve ever done or will do wrong to then spend eternal life in happiness?” I gave him the answer that I still give today: It’s not that I don’t want that, it’s that I have a higher standard of evidence. I don’t take something like that on faith, where the very definition of faith usually includes belief without evidence. If we were taking a vote on whether or not we wanted an afterlife of happiness, I don’t know anyone who’d say “No.” But it’s not up for a vote. Oh, and he went 27 seconds over his 60.


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