Sunday, 27 May 2012

How atheists (don't actually) answer serious questions on twitter

I have previously posted on the reason Christians don’t express their views about sex on twitter.

But what happens if, instead of making statements, we ask serious questions?

Yesterday morning, after 24 hours of on and off discussion answering questions posed by atheists about origins, history and language (you can see the discussion storified here) I asked two serious questions as follows to see how they themselves might respond:

1.How do you explain the fine tuning of the universe? http://bit.ly/aw3vXq
2.How do you explain the fact of 116 distinct language families? http://bit.ly/vnQaU


I received just about 60 replies in the next three hours from some of the atheists who follow me on twitter and have categorised them into five main categories.

Here are over 50 of them (I have omitted many retweets and some conversation between themselves to which I was copied in):

Dismissive disdain and patronising putdowns (19)

21h Shane McKee ‏@shanemuk
@drpetersaunders don't be stupid, and go look it up. @Dragonblaze@theslicer

8h Shane McKee ‏@shanemuk
@drpetersaunders a tenner says your silly questions are a/ already answered, b/ non-questions, c/ properly unknown. @dragonblaze@theslicer

8h Shane McKee ‏@shanemuk
@drpetersaunders origins of languages a matter of debate, but Babel is a fairy story. Not in the frame. At all. @dragonblaze@theslicer

9h Kees Engels ‏@KeesEngels
@drpetersaunders @Dragonblaze @shanemuk @TheSlicer And neither do you. But instead of research, you plug the gap with God. Typical ...

10h Harpindon Groomsmill ‏@And_TheRest
RT @shanemuk @KeesEngels Oh no! Looks like genetic evidence comprehensively DISPROVES @drpetersaunders's naive view...http://bit.ly/JB6V9e

10h Dragonblaze ‏@Dragonblaze
@shanemuk It's selective blindness. They believe all the other stories are made-up, except their fave ones. @drpetersaunders @TheSlicer

10h Kees Engels ‏@KeesEngels
@shanemuk @Dragonblaze @drpetersaunders @TheSlicer Carlin made a nice joke about that ;)http://www.rense.com/general69/obj.htm - look for 'divine plan'

10h Shane McKee ‏@shanemuk
@Dragonblaze I think @drpetersaunders doesn't give humans enough credit for inventing stories. His is a #HarryPotter god.@TheSlicer

10h Dragonblaze ‏@Dragonblaze
@shanemuk It's selective blindness. They believe all the other stories are made-up, except their fave ones. @drpetersaunders @TheSlicer

10h Kees Engels ‏@KeesEngels
@shanemuk @Dragonblaze @drpetersaunders @TheSlicer Carlin made a nice joke about that ;)http://www.rense.com/general69/obj.htm - look for 'divine plan'

10h Shane McKee ‏@shanemuk
@Dragonblaze I think @drpetersaunders doesn't give humans enough credit for inventing stories. His is a #HarryPotter god.@TheSlicer

10h Dragonblaze ‏@Dragonblaze
@shanemuk Though when asked to demonstrate, they always refuse. And I'd so like Ayers' Rock in the park nearby.@drpetersaunders @TheSlicer

10h Shane McKee ‏@shanemuk
@KeesEngels Oh no! Looks like genetic evidence comprehensively DISPROVES @drpetersaunders's naive view of #Bible!@Dragonblaze @TheSlicer

10h Kees Engels ‏@KeesEngels
@shanemuk @drpetersaunders @Dragonblaze @TheSlicer There were never less than 22.000 individuals, even at its worst bottleneck event

10h Dragonblaze ‏@Dragonblaze
@shanemuk No, he can't - and he's using the water in pothole fallacy even in the question. @drpetersaunders @TheSlicer

10h Shane McKee ‏@shanemuk
@KeesEngels: @drpetersaunders did say only 8 ppl were alive 3200 years BC. *He* can't explain genetic diversity. @Dragonblaze@TheSlicer

10h Shane McKee ‏@shanemuk
@Dragonblaze: @drpetersaunders can't explain fine tuning:http://answersingenes.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/on-historicity-of-goldilocks-and-three.html - he's just an apologetics regurgitant.@TheSlicer

10h Dragonblaze ‏@Dragonblaze
@drpetersaunders Which theory would you prefer - excluding Babel fairy tales, of course. @KeesEngels @shanemuk @TheSlicer

11h Shane McKee ‏@shanemuk
@drpetersaunders there is NO evidence rooting human lingo to the Genesis myth. You are being silly. @dragonblaze @keesengels@theslicer

Mockery and mutual self-congratulation backslapping (9)

Kees Engels ‏@KeesEngels
@anarchic_teapot @Dragonblaze @shanemuk @drpetersaunders@TheSlicer "We will resume rotation shortly. Thank you for your patience."

Dragonblaze ‏@Dragonblaze
@anarchic_teapot Lol - funny indeed. @shanemuk@drpetersaunders @TheSlicer

8h Shane McKee ‏@shanemuk
@0100110010110 @drpetersaunders @dragonblaze @theslicer it's because he thinks if atheists can't answer, Jeeebus wins by default.#nutjob

8h Invincible Truth ‏@0100110010110
@shanemuk @drpetersaunders @dragonblaze @theslicer He thinks he's got the smoking gun here eh? lol

8h anarchic_teapot ‏@anarchic_teapot
@Dragonblaze @shanemuk @drpetersaunders @TheSlicer Sudden vision of huge "SITE UNDER MAINTENANCE" sign in sky instead of sun...

8h anarchic_teapot ‏@anarchic_teapot
@shanemuk That one is hilarious. @Dragonblaze @drpetersaunders@TheSlicer

8h Shane McKee ‏@shanemuk
@0100110010110 @drpetersaunders @dragonblaze @theslicer it's because he thinks if atheists can't answer, Jeeebus wins by default.#nutjob

10h Kees Engels ‏@KeesEngels
@shanemuk @NewHumanist @drpetersaunders I laughed :)

10h Kees Engels ‏@KeesEngels
@drpetersaunders @Dragonblaze @shanemuk @TheSlicer *plague

Incredulity that these are even serious questions (3)

9h Invincible Truth ‏@0100110010110
@drpetersaunders @shanemuk @dragonblaze @theslicer Why do pose this question to atheists?

8h Shane McKee ‏@shanemuk
@drpetersaunders why does "116 language families" even matter? Languages evolve. No surprises there. #duh @dragonblaze@theslicer

9h Aribert Deckers ‏@aribertdeckers
@drpetersaunders @Dragonblaze @KeesEngels @shanemuk@TheSlicer Even whales and birds and monkeys have language. SO WHAT!? It is evolutionary

Irrelevant counter-questions and counter-comments (16)

9h Dragonblaze ‏@Dragonblaze
@drpetersaunders Do you know *exactly* what causes autism?

9h Aribert Deckers ‏@aribertdeckers
@drpetersaunders @Dragonblaze @shanemuk @TheSlicer BWAH!!! The question religiots can't answer: If god created the world, who created god?

10h Dragonblaze ‏@Dragonblaze
@KeesEngels Jesus promised believers can literally move mountains, but I've yet to see that happen. @shanemuk @drpetersaunders@TheSlicer

9h Aribert Deckers ‏@aribertdeckers
@drpetersaunders @Dragonblaze @KeesEngels @shanemuk@TheSlicer Didn't dawn on you that the eye was invented several times INDEPENDENTLY?

10h Dragonblaze ‏@Dragonblaze
@shanemuk Frankly I have major difficulty in taking anyone who admits belief in witchcraft and demons seriously @drpetersaunders@TheSlicer

10h Kees Engels ‏@KeesEngels
@Dragonblaze @shanemuk @drpetersaunders @TheSlicer "God answers prayers" "Prove it, pray for anything" "It doesn't work like that"

10h Shane McKee ‏@shanemuk
@KeesEngels yes - these are standard tropes for Near Eastern gods like Baal, YHWH, Marduk etc. @Dragonblaze @drpetersaunders@TheSlicer

10h Dragonblaze ‏@Dragonblaze
@shanemuk Yep, like stopping the sun in the sky (or the earth from spinning) w/o anyone noticing the disaster. @drpetersaunders@TheSlicer

10h Kees Engels ‏@KeesEngels
@shanemuk @Dragonblaze @drpetersaunders @TheSlicer Also, he doesn't exactly come across as a subtle individual#deathofallfirstborns

10h Shane McKee ‏@shanemuk
@Dragonblaze furthermore, if @drpetersaunders & @TheSlicer don't like YHWH's "finely tuned" universe, they think they can ask for changes!

10h Shane McKee ‏@shanemuk
.@Dragonblaze YHWH is constantly tinkering, fixing *non*-fine-tuned mistakes in his universe. He's like Zeus. @drpetersaunders@TheSlicer

10h Kees Engels ‏@KeesEngels
@shanemuk @drpetersaunders @Dragonblaze @TheSlicer Oh no! Now what will he use to explain what he doesn't understand?

10h Shane McKee ‏@shanemuk
@Dragonblaze worse than that, the fake god of the bible doesn't match a god who sets up finely balanced params. @drpetersaunders@TheSlicer

10h Christian Values 4UK ‏@CV4UK
"@drpetersaunders: @Dragonblaze @shanemuk @TheSlicer"Peter explain how a lottery winner has the same numbers as are drawn out?

10h Kees Engels ‏@KeesEngels
@drpetersaunders @Dragonblaze @shanemuk @TheSlicer Funny how YOU accuse US of constantly asking questions. You avoid answering like the pest

11h Shane McKee ‏@shanemuk
@drpetersaunders explain the fine tuning of your fake god.@dragonblaze @theslicer

Possibly serious replies (4)

9h Kees Engels ‏@KeesEngels
@drpetersaunders @Dragonblaze @shanemuk @TheSlicer Ah, a challenge. I will answer them all, but will you accept my replies?

9h Dragonblaze ‏@Dragonblaze
@drpetersaunders I don't precisely care if you're on the Moon. We can't answer because nobody knows for certain. @shanemuk@TheSlicer

10h Dragonblaze ‏@Dragonblaze
@drpetersaunders ṣani têmi, ultu Twitter alak! Right after you translate that. I'm not a physicist. @shanemuk @TheSlicer

11h Shane McKee ‏@shanemuk
@drpetersaunders "116 families" - you are misinterpreting this.@dragonblaze @keesengels @theslicer






5 comments:

  1. How unfair. I answered both questions in the comments.

    ReplyDelete
  2. And your point is... no-one in a short random selection on a platform designed for short responses takes you seriously enough?

    Especially when you actually dismiss serious answers as 'incredulous' (like all the ones you label "Incredulity that these are even serious questions (3)") or get huffy that they 'dare' ask you questions back.

    Really, the only point I can pick up is that you like whining, and don't know how to have even a middle-school level debate.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Using Twitter to ask complex questions just makes you look like an idiot who doesn't know what its for.

    All your answers can be found
    at this link

    "Saunders thinks “there have not been any decent responses to [these twenty questions] in the past 40yrs,” but evidently he isn’t bothering to read any of the best answers available or even to find out what they are"

    ReplyDelete
  4. Talmyr is exactly right: when cogent, considered answers are dismissed out of hand, you've already skewed the curve.

    And that's the trouble with studies, isn't it? It's wonderfully easy to produce "data" but maddeningly difficult to keep it objective.

    Additionally, your first question is loaded. "Fine-tuning" implies a fine-tuner. #ObjectiveFail

    ReplyDelete
  5. We "atheists" and other doubters don't pretend to know answers to questions we don't know. "I don't know" is the beginning of knowledge. It's not a dead end. However, claiming a god did it, when you can't prove this, IS a dead end. It's a dead end that mankind has been banging its head against for centuries. So yes. You will receive dismissive disdain, patronizing put downs, mockery, and incredulity that we are still having this discussion at all.

    Genetics proves Eve was not made from Adam. Radiometric dating of matter proves nothing made this planet inside of six days. Astrophysics proves this universe is far grander and older than Abrahamics ever predicted, causing apologetix to re-evaluate worn interpretations of ancient translations.

    Because she never existed, Eve did not incite Original Sin causing a god to impregnate a woman magically in order to give birth to himself so that he could live as a human and then have himself sacrificed to himself to atone for sins that never could have happened because Eve never happened. Genetics proves females existed before males, and long before homo sapiens EVOLVED. Mere existence does not prove Creation. There was no Intelligent Design, at least not as depicted in ancient Abrahamic texts.

    And EVEN IF Eve committed Original Sin, which she could not have, it is plainly evident that human blood sacrifice (be it a goat or Jesus Christ) does not absolve anyone from personal responsibility of their own actions. You are responsible for your own sins, no matter how many gods you invite into your heart. And EVEN IF Jesus could have sacrificed himself to atone for your actions, which he can't, how dare you use the cold blooded murder of a fellow human being to pay the price for any wrongs you have done! That's beyond offensive. That's sickening. No man should have to die so that another can live free of his own guilt.

    AFTER you prove a god exists scientifically, THEN perhaps we can revisit this atrocious flight of fancy. NOT before! It is the 21st century. Your god has had more than enough time to return. Indeed, it never left, cuz it never existed outside the minds of those who believe in it.

    If you tire of people laughing at your beliefs, stop having such stupid beliefs.

    ReplyDelete