Every year, my friend Louise attends the Creation Evidence Expo in Indianapolis. She attends the entire event. Sits patiently, politely and quietly through the lectures, and occasionally stands up and asks pointed questions that simply, elegantly and respectfully break down their arguments. She always invites other skeptics to join her, but not many have the patience or desire to put themselves through such an event.
Skepchick commenter Buzz Parsec once attended an Andrew Wakefield lecture.
We all know about Hemant’s trips to churches.
Lots of skeptics do it… head into enemy turf to learn about the other side… or to confront the other side… or because they accidentally walked into the wrong room and they’re afraid to leave because they’ll draw a bunch of attention to themselves so they join Scientology to blend in. Well maybe not that last part, but Carrie Poppy of the JREF did actually become a Mormon. Whatever their reasons, I find them fascinating.
It’s really brave to put yourself in a place where no one agrees with you. To immerse yourself in a culture that stands in direct opposition to everything you. And to stand up there and ask questions that you know probably won’t change any minds but only will bring attention to you and probably paint you as hostile (no matter how unhostile you may be) for the opportunity to plant a single seed of doubt in just one person. That’s pretty bad ass. And I’ll admit, I don’t think I could do it. Though, I’ll also admit that I rarely actually find myself in large groups of like-minded people. I mostly like to agree and disagree with people on the internet, from the comfort of my swivel chair. I’m not that hardcore.
I imagine that the entire experience is exactly like this Awkward Balloons post.
But maybe I should. Maybe my mind would do well to be exposed to ideas I strongly disagree with. Maybe I should face the enemy. Maybe I should plant a seed. Maybe I should let seeds be planted in me… and start using less gross metaphors.
What about you? How far will you go to learn about our skeptical adversaries? Will you go to a woo conference? Would you go to the Creation Expo with Louise? Would you go to a Wakefield lecture? Tour churches? Could you handle it? Emotionally? Intellectually? Could you bear it? Have you done it? Would you do it again?
The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3pm ET.
Featured image via Awkward Balloons.