Frank Turek will be speaking at Elon University on Thursday, April ...



On April 16th Frank Turek will be visiting my (admittedly Christian-affiliated) university and spouting the mediocrity that constitutes critical thought in much of this country (Bible Belt, I'm looking at you). I plan on attending this event, of course. I plan on biting my tongue for much of it as I am not eloquent or well-versed in much of atheist literature. (Shame I know, but I've only read one of the Four Horsemen.)

However I must note, and perhaps get a picture of, the posters announcing this event, proudly proclaiming 'refuting Dawkins and Hitchens'. Really Frank Turek? Really? I don't even know you. I don't have a TV and when I did I didn't watch the types of shows you frequent, nor have I read your books, though I might before the time comes. But seriously, refuting? Sweetheart we may just have some talking to do. [Also, does Turek sound like a Vulcan name to anyone else?]

On campus I'm not out as an atheist. I don't really think being so would cause any problems, campus is pretty liberal (we voted blue) and if it does I can roll with those punches when they come 'round. Nor am I looking to be antagonistic, I was raised Quaker and I respect those values, with or without the attachment of God. Still I'm trying to keep a low profile for my own sake. Harassment about my atheism is exhausting and annoying and I've coursework to keep up with.

But Frank Turek's going to be here, taking student questions and I'm sure this man can talk.

So my question is very similar to Hemant Mehta's (from the Friendly Atheist) regarding his visit to an anti-homosexual workshop (see posts here and here )

what do I do?

(List blatantly ganked from Mehta)
Should I:
* stay silent and just be observant? (This would allow me to assess the situation.)
* be somewhat vocal and try to politely rebut things that are said?
* befriend everybody, win their trust, and slowly work my magic in an attempt to eventually take over the group. (Hilarity will ensue.)
* pretend like I don’t know anything about the subject, ask people what this “Bible stuff” is all about, and record their responses?
* start debates with people over the absurdities of their arguments?
* the inevitable Other/ None of the Above

I want to stick with the first option, but I'm brash enough, outspoken enough and pissed enough to try the penultimate. I fear for myself and how atheism will appear if I try the second, though I may be backed by a few professors and students here; I know of at least one professor on my campus who is an atheist activist. I don't know if I have the skillz for the third but I will try my damnedest (see what I did therr?) to make things entertaining, for me at least. The fourth would require my nearly non-existant skills at keeping a poker face but would sure as hell give me a good idea about the population base at this school. I know we are mostly moderate and liberal Protestants but we do get visits from Bible-touting fundies who pass out bitty Bibles that make great fuel for campfires and a good amount of people take them.

Furthermore, this visit is supported by Campus Outreach, InterVarsity and Young Life. We do not currently have an atheist organization though I think, with some things that are going on, that one's formation is not far off in the future. Should I, as an atheist student, attempt to bring an atheist speaker to my school in direct response to this? That would probably be difficult to pull off before the end of this school year but next fall is all sorts of wide-open. Should I wait for an organization to be formed and use that backing to bring a bigwig here? (The second I get wind of actual formation, I'll be in there but currently I've no clue of how to go about starting an SSA or some such.) This would also require my own outing but as I've mentioned before, that doesn't really matter, I can put up with any consequences of it.

Help me A|N, you're my only hope...

(oh dear, I did just type that...>.>)

Views: 579

Tags: college, do, frank, help, school, situation, speaker, turek, university, what

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Comment by Jim DePaulo on March 15, 2009 at 11:37am
Right on Brother Richard. Engaging the religious idiots is great fun - I particularly enjoy it when they get all "sciencey" in an attempt to fool the uninformed that they know of what they speak. The alleged "violation" of the 2nd law of thermodynamics and irreducible complexity being two of my favorites. I get a perverse pleasure watching the sweat form on their brow and listening to their voice get louder and squeaker.
Comment by Richard Haynes on March 15, 2009 at 10:35am
Yeah, if you are not ready, don't interact.

I am amazed that Turek gets so much attention. His arguments are some of the most sophomoric I have ever encountered. He uses word games to prove his point. Very poorly too I might add.

I guess his popularity is because he was one of the first people to write an anti-atheist book. Also, his church spends thousands to broadcast his television show. Both are entitled, "I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist." The title itself shows he is an idiot.

Just talking about him makes me salivate with anticipation to debate him.
Comment by Jim DePaulo on March 14, 2009 at 5:16pm
Be careful of attempting to debate those who are public advocates for the religionist. They have without doubt encountered many non-believers and have, over the years, developed some carefully groomed, pat answers in defence of their delusions. If one doesn't have a solid understanding of the debate or are not particularly good at debate they can make you look the fool and by extension make atheist look foolish.
I would go with Father Nature's suggestion to print up a one page flier with a selection of quotes and web address.
Good luck with the Grateful Brain Dead
Comment by Father Nature on March 12, 2009 at 12:50pm
Here's a suggestion...
If you're not personally prepared to debate, you could print up a bunch of 1-page flyers referring people to RichardDawkins.net, Pharyngula, Talkorigins.org, etc. for a look at the rational side. You can hand them out at the event or just leave them in a conspicuous place if you want to avoid confrontation. Be a subversive.

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