Darwin Was Wrong, Part 5: The Big Revelation

Jesus floats like a butterfly and stings like an S.O.B.

[This is the latest installment of my experience at the Darwin Was Wrong lie-fest put on by Logos Research Associates and held at Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa (which is actually in Santa Ana—they can’t even get their own location right!). You can start from the beginning of this story in Part 1, or you can jump to the first speaker in Part 4. If you’re filled with self-loathing, you can punish yourself by watching the videos of this conference at the Logos website.

Yes, this whole story will be relayed over many installments. The reason I went was to study these people in their native habitat. My findings need to be documented in depth.]

I see that Logos just updated their website today. They added a two-sentence synopsis of each person’s talk. Here’s how they describe Baumgardner’s:

Arguably, Charles Darwin advanced the cause of atheism more than anyone in history. Ironically, even as the world celebrates the “Year of Darwin”, science is debunking every aspect of Darwin’s hypothesis.

If you’re going to lie, lie big! “[S]cience is debunking every aspect of Darwin’s hypothesis[!]”

That’s what’s great about living in a fantasy world. You can wave your hands and all of your problems go away. Evolution: *Poof!* It’s gone. Atheists: *Poof!* They’re gone. The Establishment Clause: *Poof!* It’s gone.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, evolution is stronger than ever, there are more atheists than ever, and the Separation Clause… Umm… It’s actually looking a little faint. Damn!! Their magic really does work! Quick! Somebody nominate some Supreme Court justices!

Biggles! Put Her in the Comfy Chair!

As Baumgarder was finishing his talk, I glanced around the church. I have to say that this place is actually pretty nice. It has a spacious, wide-open feel to it. It’s a nice wide building with nice wide aisles and nice wide seats for all the nice wide people (They were no fatter than typical Americans, but no thinner either.). The plush theater-style seats and the carpeting on the floor absorb sound, so there isn’t any of that echoey sound you get in old-style churches. I wish we had seats like this in my old church. My recollection was that we had hard, wooden pews. If we’d had cush seats like this back when I was going to church… well I still would have hated going to church, but it would have at least been a little less uncomfortable.

In fact, these seats they have here are so plush that it would be very easy to get too comfortable. And then, the next thing you know…

S N O R E …

Wait! That’s not me! I turned around. The guy sitting two rows behind was slouched back in his seat, head tilted back, and snoring softly.

I guess I won’t have to ask him for his opinion when this is all over.

Short Break Between Speakers

Baumgardner finished his indoctrination of the crowd, then left the stage. I’ve already survived a third of tonight’s program! Woohoo! I might be able to get through the whole ordeal. Just as long as I don’t have to hear those God-awful* singers ag—

Oh, Jesus Freakin’ Christ! The singers are back!

Apparently I can look forward to hearing them between each of the featured speakers. I might not be able to make it after all.

*(And just how awful is something that can be described as “God-awful”? Well, just read the Old Testament!)

I tried to tune out the singers as best I could, and I continued to look around the church. Demographically, I saw a somewhat diverse group. There were lots of white folks, of course, but I also saw a bunch of hispanics. My recollection is that I saw some Asians, too, but I don’t remember how many. I couldn’t see any black people, though.

Maybe 10% of the crowd was kids, which was a relief. I was afraid there would be a lot more of them. The kids here on Friday night tended to be younger, perhaps 12 and under. On Saturday, maybe 15–20% of the crowd was kids, and many of them were teenagers. I suspect most of those were from the attached Christian high school.

Looking at the adults in the room, they spanned the whole range of ages. If I had to peg the age distribution, I’d say that the group skewed a little old. Maybe I’m being optimistic, but this could explain what I was about to hear.

After the first song, some guy from Logos came onto the stage and told everybody that lies don’t come cheap. This was a very expensive conference to put on. (My notes don’t record him actually using the word “lie”. I’m sure that’s an oversight on my part. He must have told people these were lies, because if he didn’t, he’d be lying!)

Let’s stop a moment and contemplate just what these creationists are trying to accomplish here. The entire conference is devoted to bashing Darwin. They’re doing a major assault on every front: Geology, fossils, complexity of life, inheritance, natural selection, tree of life, origin of man, etc. Just about everything Darwin wrote is being shredded by fundie tooth and claw. To anybody in the audience without much scientific background (and that’s probably most), Darwin is left completely and thoroughly discredited. Everything he promoted is in tatters.

For what purpose? How does refuting evolution advance their cause? Let’s say you watched this train wreck on the internet and came away “doubting Darwin”. Does that automatically turn you into a faithful, church-going God-bot? For most of my readers, the answer is no. God does not win by default.

So why do they bother to do this?

It’s because you aren’t the intended audience! Yes, they’ll stick their junkyard-into-747 or 2nd-law-of-thermodynamics pamphlet under your windshield wiper, but if you convert, that’s just collateral damage. You weren’t who they were after.

The Big Revelation

The guy who was standing on stage and asking for money said this:

70% – 80% of Christian youth who go to college leave the faith.

Reread that quote. Stare at it. Absorb it. Enjoy it!

They’re hemorrhaging followers! And not just any followers; they’re losing them young! These are the people they need to keep the racket going in perpetuity. They see them slip away, and they’re feeling helpless.

That is who they’re targeting, not just with this conference, but with much of the other anti-evolution propaganda that all creationists produce in abundance.

That’s because if you can convince somebody who already believes in God that evolution is bunk, then that person automatically returns to the faith.

God really does win by default.

Logos-guy tells us to please give generously. With your $50 contribution, you’ll get this lovely Logos Research Associates tote bag. (OK, OK! I made up that last sentence. I just had a flashback to too much PBS. I wonder if Logos ever did try giving out “thank you” gifts? It probably wouldn’t work. I think only liberals are attracted to tote bags.)

He tells us that they want to send “missionaries” to the U.S. colleges to keep the Christian kids from escaping. No, he didn’t use that word (but it’s in my notes!), but that’s what he meant. Notice that he didn’t say he wanted the missionaries to get new followers? That’s the usual goal of a missionary. Instead, he wants to use these missionaries to stop the bleeding! The patient has lost a lot of blood already and is about to go into shock.

Scanning the crowd, I see that most people are whipping out their checkbooks.

[Next: Grab your pick and shovel. We’re going quote mining!]

22 Responses to “Darwin Was Wrong, Part 5: The Big Revelation”

  1. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Fundies are known for great hyperbole, so I wonder what the number actually is. Seventy to eighty percent seems too high to me, even though I’m optimistic about an education being the key to casting off the shackles of superstition.

    Maybe they are counting those that turn from hard fundies into “god of the gaps” christians. In other words, if you stop believing the literal creation account in genesis, but still believe in god, he puts you in that group.

    That’s still great news.

    This is also why they lurves going to poor countries. Not to help the poor, oh no! They want to SPREAD THE WORD! Here, have some food and shelter and education and OH BY THE WAY your entire faith system is wrong, but mine is right and if you want food, you know what to do.

  2. KennyCelican Says:

    PL / Ron – Regarding this –

    Seventy to eighty percent seems too high to me, even though I’m optimistic about an education being the key to casting off the shackles of superstition.

    There has actually been research done on this. The professor who did it documented it in his book ‘The Authoritarians’. Don’t know if either of you are aware of the book, or have read it, but the evidence is fairly clear: secular college education pushes people away from fundamentalist behaviors / belief structures.

  3. Ron Britton Says:

    ParrotLover:

    I definitely don’t trust their numbers. This entire conference is a misrepresentation of data, so why would the defection rate be accurate?

    Nevertheless, I do know that they lose a lot of kids to education, and it’s of great concern to them.

    A few months ago, one of the other blogs posted a web commercial that one of the fundie groups had made. It was a ridiculous over-the-top dramatization of what happens when Billy or Suzy goes off to college. The kid comes back as a disrespectful hippie. I think they were advertising for a Christian college. Send Junior here! We won’t deconvert him!

  4. Lurker111 Says:

    More power to you. I could not have sat through a “conference” like this without throwing up.

  5. Ron Britton Says:

    KennyCelican:

    I have The Authoritarians. I started to read it earlier this year. The only reason I stopped was because there was so much good stuff in it that I wanted to write some articles about it. Those articles kept getting pushed back. I hope to get back to the book (and write the articles) soon.

    As far as education de-converting the religious goes, that’s a well-known phenomenon that numerous people have observed. I wasn’t aware of any data that gave us the exact numbers, though. I’ll have to go back to that book and have a look.

  6. Thomas Says:

    Really, eighty percent? It seemed like more than a fifth of my whole university were those Campus Crusade for Christ jerk offs.

    Maybe it wasn’t that many. I probably just noticed them more because they were loud and obnoxious and never left me alone. I think there might have been a bounty on me, being a confessed Pagan.

  7. K-Fed Says:

    Are the other 20-30% from the Religious studies students?

  8. breakerslion Says:

    70-80%… Call it 75%. Seems about right. According to Matt and Trey, one fourth of the population is retarded (South Park, Episode 1009, Mystery of the Urinal Deuce)

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/103770

  9. Jeff Eyges Says:

    I hope it’s true, but, like you, I doubt the numbers are that high.

    Same thing with Orthodox Judaism, btw. The more “liberal” factions are losing young people left and right, while the hard-core black-hatters tend to keep them, because, naturally, they keep them the hell away from secular education. Their world is collapsing inward upon itself, but that’s another issue.

    Do you remember that series PBS did on evolution about six or eight years ago? One of the episodes had a scene in which a fundie mom related the story of her friend telling her not to let her son go to Wheaton, because he’d lose his faith. That’s how insular they are; Wheaton was too liberal for her!

  10. Jeff Eyges Says:

    I was rather expecting one of them to show up here by now, to tell us we’re all going to hell.

  11. godlizard Says:

    Refresh my memory, why is science a threat to religion? It doesn’t specifically disagree, it would be ridiculous to assume that a “day” to an eternal being is the same as the rotational period of the planet that wasn’t even done yet when he was building it — they could really save a whole lot of time, effort and energy if they just took what was taught in science class and reverse-engineered it so it fit in perfectly with the story? They could make shit up about accidentally mis-reading some bad ancient penmanship or something. And every time science discovered something they could go, “OMG! This proves we’re right” and no one would have any idea what they were talking about so they’d all go “yeah! in your face, science, we knew that first!”

    And then we could all get along, and they could be a LOT more honest than they’re being now. And isn’t being more honest good, and isn’t being good what their god wants? They could put all that time, effort, and energy into feeding the hungry or caring for the sick or knitting sweaters for homeless puppies.

  12. j rep Says:

    What was most striking to me in this article was the question sarcastically raised in the cartoon:
    “Darwin was wrong! It’s proliferation of the stupid, not survival of fittest”
    If theism is stupidity how do you explain its historic and modern proliferance in spite of evolution’s best effort to education and irradicate it?
    Why would an evolving species cling to something that does not aid in its survival?
    After all, Christianity is the most popular variety in America, but theism is proliferic in nearly every country of the world. The countries that abandoned have not experienced long term success. This is true of the USSR, but more recently in China and Europe where Christianity and Islam (respectively) are increasing at rapid rates.
    I know this is a strange argument, but how do you explain it?

  13. Ron Britton Says:

    Godlizard:

    Refresh my memory, why is science a threat to religion? It doesn’t specifically disagree, it would be ridiculous to assume that a “day” to an eternal being is the same as the rotational period of the planet that wasn’t even done yet when he was building it

    These are young-Earth creationists we’re talking about. For some reason, their whole personal identity is dependent on the world being 6000 years old. If they were forced to realize that it wasn’t, they’d go insaner.

  14. Ron Britton Says:

    J Rep:

    If theism is stupidity how do you explain its historic and modern proliferance in spite of evolution’s best effort to education and irradicate it?

    Evolution is just a process. It doesn’t care one way or the other whether humans believe in a god.

    Why would an evolving species cling to something that does not aid in its survival?

    Religion is a very recent invention, just a few thousand years old. It had no effect at all upon the evolution of Homo sapiens until about 14,000 years ago. After that, you could easily argue, it has been trying hard to wipe us out. Given that WWIII is probably inevitable and is guaranteed to start in the Middle East, religion is clearly non-advantageous.

    If you want to only look at everything up to this point, ignoring future possibilities, religion served a valuable role in the social development of our species.

    Early humans lived in small family groups. It was difficult for larger groups to stay together. Despite the huge advantages that greater numbers provide, there are too many people with conflicting interests to hold the group together. What you need is a strong outside (or perceived to be outside) force to unify the group. Religion provides that force. The witch doctor or priest could claim to be the interpreter of what the gods want. If anybody gets out of line, he is threatened with the wrath of god.

    Works great.

    Until conflicting tribes (nations) meet, each convinced that god is on their side.

    And they have nuclear weapons.

  15. Jeff Eyges Says:

    This is true of the USSR, but more recently in China and Europe where Christianity and Islam (respectively) are increasing at rapid rates.

    Christianity is not “increasing” in Europe; it’s been in a state of decline for decades.

  16. Jeff Eyges Says:

    Oh – “respectively”.

    Islam is on the rise in Europe due to immigration, and Christianity in China because of evangelization.

  17. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Plus, there are other modes of evolution than simply natural selection. There are many things that can be neither advantagous nor destructive and persist in the genome just due to probability. Evolution is highly complex!

    In addition to social order, religion explains the unexplanable. It really wasn’t until very recently (less than 1000 years – drop in the bucket in evolutionary terms) that humans had enough scientific knowledge that even something as well studied as lightning wasn’t just “the gods be mad!”

    But even on this tiny time scale, it’s easy to see how fundamentalism actually promotes greater populations of their own. Just look at the Family That Shall Not Be Named™. They are extremely fundamentalist and have a very large number of offspring. Look at Catholicism. Same dealio.

    You can’t take these examples and extrapolate them out on longer time scales, as far as our actual species’ genetic evolution is concerned. However, you can see how in a few generations, despite education and science, it is difficult to overcome old superstitions by sheer increase in the offspring of the ignorant! They replace the evil secular converted very quickly. And despite that, are losing membership! How about them apples??

  18. breakerslion Says:

    “Early humans lived in small family groups. It was difficult for larger groups to stay together.” etc.

    Nah. That’s what they want you to think. It’s good to be a bullshit artist with an invisible friend who’s a bigger badass than the alpha ape. Cuts you right in for a piece of the political pie, with gravy and all the trimmings. ;-)

  19. Lindsay Says:

    I do wonder, with the large numbers of children produced…how many do end up defecting at some point in their respective lives? Furthermore, how many would perhaps still stick to the lifestyle but harbor personal doubts about the belief system? It would make for an interesting study.

    I wish I could quote and note who said this correctly, as I read this a while back and I’m having a hard time trying to find out where I got the info. But on another atheist message board I found a link to an interesting article about how modern science is in part, to blame for the rise in fundementalism. Good science is a literal interpetation of the data, and science in turn has shifted the logic paradigm in religion from a system of attaining meaning from the abstract and sybolic to a literal interpetation of the data, so to speak. It is an interesting theory, and if I can find this article I’ll post it here.

    But it still doesn’t explain how some fundies can pull stuff out of there ass in certain biblical translations

  20. Jeff Eyges Says:

    I prefer Professor Patton Oswalt’s theory on the origin of religion.

  21. (((Billy))) The Atheist Says:

    All of you unbelievers are going to hell for believing the the Darwinist Evilution fairy tale. You must embrace God’s love or you will be burned for eternity in a lake of molten sulfer with the smell of brim . . . the sme . . . .

    Nope. Can’t do it.

    Welcome back, BoF. This was an incredibly brave thing to do. You went into the lions den. From the (continued high) quality of your writing, I assume you came out with your intellect intact.

  22. Jeff Eyges Says:

    Ron, from now on I’m just going to send you the parts and let you assemble the comment any way you like!