The preachers are back. And I'm having many good conversations after and in parallel with the actual heckling. Unfortunately, a lot of their attacks are very formulaic and scripted, making arguing against them simply a recitation of a small set of formulas. Let me paint a picture of one of these guys...
Your typical campus preacher is male, white, often poorly educated but eager to talk about topics they know little about, has never left the country (and often not the state), is lower middle class, republican, extremely nationalist, and very sexist. They generally know just enough about physics, philosophy, and physiology that they can talk over the head of someone who knows nothing beyond the basics of these topics. They're generally married, with kids, and bring their also evangelical wife out with them. They tend to shout, use silly postures and gestures, call people sluts or whoremongers, and shout when preaching. Most of them are actually fairly nice people when they're calm. In argument they tend to panic often and rapidly switch the topic when one shows knowledge in a topic they're talking about, except of course the bible, their home turf. Their preachings tend to be highly formulaic, with large portions likely memorized. If you manage to pin them down on a topic and show them wrong, they generally forget it the next day. They're actually generally pretty nice. I've had really interesting conversations with Brother Jed and Brother Tom, and there's another guy who was here today, Brother Pat (not me, na klar), who was also fun to talk to. And unlike ever before, there are a lot of Muslims out now, making it a lot easier for me to make my point about American arrogance and villainy in support of Israel.
Recent fun arguments with preachers: Someone was spouting how the 2nd law of thermodynamics rules out evolution, and they didn't even know the whole of that law, where the closed/open system distinction is entirely relevant. Debunked both the Ontological and Epistomological 'proofs for the existence of god'. Showed how calculus is a better model than binary or ordinal mathematics for modeling continuous space, in order to debunk Zeno's paradox by someone who didn't even know the name Zeno. The preachers that I respect generally stay away from topics they know little about, but apparently they train cronies that lack that sense, and are very careful to teach them just enough to confuse an average person. Only once did I run into someone who was over my head on a scientific topic -- they have a molecular biologist college grad. It was actually a fascinating conversation -- I understand statistics, information theory, and game theory, he understood biology, and so the results were fairly nonconclusive. Their tactics seem to be fairly effective -- without either having a large number of Uberbrain atheists like myself or starting training specifically to debunk them (funding?), it's hard to protect the masses from their trickiness. I might put together a pamphlet or an argument map that can be passed around that'll help people understand the faults in their arguments. It's amusing what they can put together with their training, and a pity that all the atheist side can put together, without funding, must be either ad hoc or completely lack economy of scale.
And curse me, I'm rather attracted to someone in the family of one of the preachers. I don't get attracted to people often, and it's irritating that it's one of *them*. I respect the fundies for their ability to follow their religion to it's horrific end, but as I say, it's still horrific.
I am eagerly waiting for a phone call from the EE department saying "you're hired". I really want a job!
Wally loves me. He's sitting on my lap and purring. I'm happy.