An Elephant in the Room

Nearly all my atheist acquaintances talk about it, but whenever I read or get involved an argument with a fundamentalist Christian, especially about Creationism, there’s one thing that they generally won’t acknowledge: The dishonesty of their allies. Most Creationists I’ve met online or seen videos of will repeat outright lies, even after being corrected multiple times. They criticize foundational theories of biology, astronomy, and cosmology without understanding the basic ideas behind them. Even when they modify their claims based on the scientific replies, they’ll often jump to a new thread or blog and start over with their original claims.

I will say that I have encountered some honest Christians. Typically, they’re far from fundamentalist, believe in a theistic version of evolution, and work under a largely secular morality. We’ve got our differences, but those sorts of Christians can form an alliance with us against the fundamentalist trolls, even if it’s an uneasy one. If you’re one of them, give yourself a pat on the back if you’ve argued against fundamentalist dishonesty about science. If you haven’t done it a while, please consider raising your voice. It’d help morale among atheists who’ve seen far too many fundie trolls and politicians to know people like you are more common than you might appear.

But, back to the dishonest fundie segment. It’s a sick joke that they think we’re without morality, and yet they’re pathological liars who are all too happy to say we deserve to be pointlessly tortured for eternity. They engage in heavy quote mining, intentionally removing important points from context for the sake of scoring rhetorical points. Of course, the tactic only works on their own because those of us who have been arguing the issue already know the tactic and the Creationists’ reputation for using it. They’ll also happily perform rhetorical games like the Gish Gallop, throwing out lots of fallacious arguments, deceptive half-truths, or outright lies and declaring victory if we don’t intercept each and every one. They have a fondness for many logical fallacies, like false dichotomies, appeals to authority, appeals to consequences of belief, appeals to force, appeals to popularity, and so on. Of course, when we point out why their arguments are fallacious, they’ll keep on using them or even be proud of using such fallacies.

So tell me, Creationists, why should we trust anything you say? Why should we look up to you as moral paragons? What can you hope to gain through deception when people like me will clearly point it out? Why do you feel a need to lie?

It’s been a while since I’ve hosted a troll roast, so feel free to take the bait. I know I’m back to being an even smaller-time blogger than before, but I know at least one of us would probably have fun, with or without observers.

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