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Happy Birthday & A YouTube Gift

Hey, did you know it’s Skepchick Jen’s birthday today? Well, you do now. Wish her well in the comments and/or on Twitter! I met Jen for the first time two weeks ago, when she magically appeared in my wedding party, and she was an incredible, vibrant, smart woman who I can’t wait to meet again. In the meantime, I’ll just continue to enjoy her excellent work on the Skepchick Quickies.

The only present I have for her is also a present for all of you — though, like a lottery ticket, I’m not sure whether or not it’s a good one. Thunderf00t, the YouTuber we’ve mentioned before on Skepchick, ventured out to California to sit down with Ray “Handle My Banana” Comfort. They had a conversation and the entire thing was uploaded to YouTube, sans edits so that the viewers could decide who came across saner.

I actually haven’t had time to watch it yet, but I see Hemant thinks it was useless. What do you think?

Here’s the whole playlist.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor.

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  1. I pretty much have to agree with Hemant on the “Creationist side never has anything relevant to say” and often the whole debating creationists is pretty much a Catch-22. If we don’t debate, they make very public statements of the scientists being cowards and close minded and not willing to look at all the evidence, but if we do debate, they view it as us assuming they have something to bring to the table, which they don’t.

  2. Neither one of them had anyting intersting, or profound, or pithy to say. So, boring, somewhat irritating, and yes, useless.

    If this clip is typical of his approach and style, then Thnderfoot is a pretty poor debater and rather difficult and unpleasant to listen to.

    And of course Comfort had nothing to say other than thus and so is so because I want it to be. Full stop; endy story. Dumbosity.

  3. @SicPreFix: When he is doing the videos in his series, Thunderf00t is rather good and highly entertaining, but I certainly agree that he wasn’t much better in this debate. Saner? Sure but when dealing with a whackjob creationist, that isn’t all that hard to pull off, but yeah, the whole discussion was rather inane.

    And because I also forgot in my first post, Happy B-Day Jen!

  4. It is disappointing that this really isn’t a debate. It is two people, going in with a script and neither is willing to deviate from it.

    The fantasy of debating with a creationist is wonderful. The interwebs are full of these “answers to creationists claims.” I’ve even got my own personal list of potential retorts and questions, maybe we all do.

    Perhaps this debate would have been better served by tossing a few of those out the window and asking some less obvious questions.

    Hard to say though. When you’re dealing with a fanatic, they are just waiting for you to shut up so that they can tell you how right they are.

  5. Rebecca, thank you for the banana link. It is one of the most genius bits of pure stupidity ever. The genius is that you can’t argue it because where do you start? By the time he was halfway through I was shaking my head like Wile E. Coyote after an anvil hit him. (Complete with gaddagaddagadda onomatopoeia)

  6. I liked this bit (which is actually a quote from Penn Says):

    “I mean if I believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that a truck was coming at you and you didn’t believe it, but that truck was bearing down on you, there’s a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that.”

    Now, say you’re just standing there minding your own business and someone tackles you. You pick yourself up and ask them why they did that. They explain that a truck was bearing down on you and tackling you was the only way to save your life. You look around and there’s no truck, vehicles of any kind, and you’re not even standing in a roadway.

    I would say that it’s reasonable to assume that this person is suffering from some sort of delusion. I’d also suggest that it would be nearly impossible for you to use reason to convince this person of the non-existence of the truck.

  7. @Steve: “I would say that it’s reasonable to assume that this person is suffering from some sort of delusion. I’d also suggest that it would be nearly impossible for you to use reason to convince this person of the non-existence of the truck.”

    Yeah, but if you pushed this person into the path of the non-existent truck would they believe it enough to die?

  8. Yeah I think I’m going to have to go Hemant as well. And in general. I “debated” a creationist once (that’s how my husband and I met, actually) and I’ll never do it again. No one there is going to change their mind. Everyone involved knows that no one is going to change their mind. No one is going to say anything that the other debater hasn’t heard. And the “benefit” of having shruggy/undecided people see the debate and potentially pick a side can be achieved by simply responding to particular points in a presentation, YouTube video, blog entry, etc. which tend to be much more interesting and not punctuated with endless boring.

  9. I think debates like this aren’t supposed to change people like Ray’s mind. However, that’s not the point. The point is there might be someone in the audience watching who hadn’t actually thought about these issues much and that person might find something interesting to think about listening to this exchange. Or maybe this is me just being hopeful.

  10. I wouldn’t say it was pointless. I mean, sure it was pointless in the sense that Thunderf00t didn’t get through to Ray on any level, but that’s to be expected. I don’t think anything will get Ray out of his anti-intellectual rut. It was nice, however, to see Thunderf00t refer to him (to his face) as a “vandal of science”, which is exactly what he is. I thought it was also overall a nice atmosphere…neither one of them seemed to get angry or insulting, though I do think TF could have pushed harder on some of the cheaper apologist/creationist tactics Ray was using. I also think it’s good to engage people for posterity’s sake, so that people can see we’re not afraid to engage them. And as for the person who said they both had a cript…I think only Ray had a script and oddly enough it seemed to be full of talking points he probably gives every day, so not sure why he needed it.

    Also, Rebecca…you are my freaking HERO for that “inanimate carbon rod” comment on the last SGU podcast. I was screaming the exact same thing in my head right before you said it. Well done, mmm-hoyyy!!!

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