Q: Fellow atheists, I really need some help on this one. I (against some recommendations by others) decided to take an opportunity to tell my mom about my “conversion” or should I say my “reversion” to atheism. She’s fine with it. She had me tell my dad. Last night I found myself in a major debate with him which he said could possibly take several months (all of which are going to be fruitless I bet).
He asked things of me for evidence for evolution’s positive impact on science (his “comfort zone” apparently is “smashing” evolution). If I cite something from the internet, he says that the internet “has no peer review” and thus is probably lying. If I cite from one of our encyclopedias he claims that it is simply restating something that was told to the editor (or some bull like that) and that it is not a good source for information. And you know what? That’s all I can get! How the hell am I supposed to talk to this guy when he denies the validity of everything I cite?
When I mentioned that Kent Hovind (my dad’s role model apparently) has said lies and I have a video of those lies and of a debate between him and a college student on the radio station that shows how dumb Kent Hovind is, my dad said that they were videos from the internet, I have no way of knowing that the video was unedited (though the guy claimed it was and there seemed to be no flaws in it), and the video about Kent Hovind’s lies also cites the internet and thus doesn’t count.
When he asked about “how do you know what’s right and wrong?” I started talking and he said “so you’re saying ‘social Darwinism’, how do you back that up?”. I said that a society in which self preservation and social preservation are prevalent is more likely to survive than one that isn’t, and then I also started mentioning how different creatures in the animal kingdom (elephants, dogs, etc) all show examples of “morality”. Then my dad said “there’s a quote that goes “there’s lies, there’s bigger lies, and then there’s statistics”” and then he went on to say how “statistics can be arranged to say whatever you want them to say.” I started saying that this can apply to Creationism as well and that it is actually used more, and he then chose that time to end the debate (on the excuse that I better get to bed) and he said that we would continue it some other time. He then restated something that he said before, which was that “you are going to obey the rules of this house” completely ignoring social Darwinism and saying that “school” (even though it’s fundie) “was probably a “negative influence” in this area.”
What the hell am I supposed to do about him now? How should I point out how dumb and wrong it is? Sorry about the length of this question, it was just required to show how dumb he really is.
A: You will never be able to reconcile your father’s beliefs with your own on this matter. It’s best to avoid the subject whenever possible and stick to more useful debates. Don’t shy away from debating with him about other things or else it will become impossible to even talk to him. Argue with someone you don’t have emotional ties to. :o)
Just never forget…
1. He is unwilling (not unable) to understand evolution.
2. He does require more of a comfort zone with his beliefs at his age than you do, so let him have it.
3. He is wrong. Evolution is real.