The Antelope Valley Freethinkers in California found out last month that a local pastor was going to give a sermon offering “examples of evidence pointing to a creator.” He was going to put God to “to the test” by answering everyone’s toughest questions. It was followed by an hour-long Q&A.
The atheists had heard at least a version of the sermon before — they did a formal debate with Pastor Shane Idleman earlier in the year — so they knew it wasn’t very convincing. It was something along the lines of Case for a Creator.
They wanted to make the most of it, though, so they came up with a great idea: They would watch the sermon’s livestream with a checklist of the most common fallacious arguments and cross them off whenever the pastor said them.
For every item they crossed off, they’d make a $5 contribution to charity.
Here’s what they were listening for:
1. Evolution is “only a theory.”
2. Historical vs. observational science
3. Darwin’s eye quote
4. “The fool says in his heart…”
5. Irreducible Complexity
6. Darwin’s Dissenters
7. Seashells on top of Mt. Everest prove a global flood.
8. “Creation screams creator!”
9. “Something can’t come from nothing.”
10. “It’s not a head issue, it’s a heart issue.”
11. Bacterial flagellum
12. “Primordal (sic) ooze”
13. It takes more faith to be an atheist than to believe in God.
14. Micro- vs. macroevolution
15. If the Earth were a little closer to the Sun, it would burn up, a little farther away, it would freeze over.
16. Carbon dating (and other methods) are unreliable.
17. There are no transitional fossils.
18. Evolution is a theory in crisis.
19. The Grand Canyon proves a global flood.
20. The Second Law of Thermodynamics
21. Piltdown Man
22. Darwin was a racist
23. Evolution is a religion
24. Atheists know there is a god but suppress it.
25. “If we came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?”
26. Hitler. Anything Hitler.
27. Pascal’s Wager/”What if you’re wrong?”
28. The Watchmaker Argument
29. Survival of the Fittest
30. DNA is very complex/improbable
They doubled their donation to $100 for good measure and gave it to Foundation Beyond Belief’s disaster relief efforts. It’s not a life-changing amount of money, but this is more about the idea behind it.
If other atheist groups tried something similar, it’d be a powerful way to make the most of bad preaching.
(Thanks to David for the link)