A few of the luckier staff members here at www.answers-in-reason.com(AIR) made the long (because I cant follow GPS directions), arduous and at times perilous (because I was driving) road trip to catch a talk by the magnificent Aron Ra. After getting stuck in rush hour traffic which made snails pace seem like celeritas lux(speed of light, and where we have taken the c we see appear in physics, Latin is not just for you biology boffins) and subsequently coming rather close a few times to breaking the 115mph speed limit here in UK (it is 115 right?). We rolled up to, ironically, St Johns church in High Wycombe with minutes to spare.
The crowd had settled in their seats and we just managed to grab a drink at the bar and get to our seats, front row just to the left of podium which was cool, before the looming figure of Aron Ra ambled out to the stage. Actually we managed to have a word with the presenter to see if Aron was going o do a meet and greet after the event and would he mind if we presented him with an AIR t-shirt and snapped a few pics. He said he would see what he could do so we crossed his palm with black and silver gold, that being another AIR t-shirt.
After a brief introduction from the presenter, a member of Wycombe Skeptics in the pub, more about them later because they are worthy of their own write up.
Aron took to the mic. His tall figure, dark features and booming dominant voice demand your attention. Unfortunately we cant go into too much detail of content as Aron is engaging on a world tour and audio files are not to be released so as to not ruin attendance at future events. I can say Aron went into great detail regarding the school system in Texas and loopholes used by creationists to preach creationism/ID in the classroom and school clubs focusing on all age groups, preferred age being less than 8. he went into some detail regarding how school book publishers are influenced by the Christian majority to make changes to text to suit the Christian world-view. Due to the sheer size of Texas they carry a lot of sway as Texas purchases the largest amount of school books as a State in the whole country. He touched on the various trials Scopes and Dover predominantly and the work of The Discovery Institute in the latter trial. The beginning of “The Culture War” in America, aka people rebelling against Christian control and world-view.
20% of Texan Science teachers are Young Earth Creationists and to quote Aron, “Are incapable of fulfilling their task, I should say incompetent”, they are known to fabricate untruths to further their cause. Aron then cited such a case. It was noted that some secular teachers were incompetent in the teaching of teaching evolution, at which point Aron and his wife decided to record supplemental videos on evolution for teachers to show in their classrooms. LEGENDS!!
He made mention some people decide to home school their children because they don’t want them exposed to actual science and others will home school to ensure they are taught actual science. A double edged sword. Other parents will send their kids to science classes with pre rehearsed scripts to disrupt evolution classes with questions and argue logical fallacies. An abhorrent practice.
Magic and Miracles
The power of apparently influencing events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.
An extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency.
What’s the difference? Nothing according to Aron and we at AIR are inclined to agree.
On the back of this Aron went on to go in to more detail regarding:
Incantation spell = Let there be light
Hebrew spell for giving life to clay figure = Adam
The null set. God assertion is not the default
And how Christians cannot seem to comprehend these things.
I wish I could colour this with more detail but I must respect Aron’s wishes and not disclose too much. Needless to say Aron is specific throughout the rest of his talk and goes into great detail on how Christians use loopholes to try to be able to preach to the very young in schools citing instances. He supports every claim with references to instances as you would expect from a man of his debating calibre.
Aron spoke for around 1 hour before we broke for intermission and Aron was to return for Q&A. We went and got ourselves another round of drinks, of course I was designated driver so I was getting hyped on sugary flat Pepsi. We mingled with the crowd, some seemed stand offish as they were not sure if Answers in Reason was related to Answers in Genesis but were more than welcoming when they noticed the atheist a font used on our clobber. The announcer came and had a chat with us and said Aron was happy to meet us before the Q&A began which meant the intermission seemed to go on for ever and ever. We have to mention Paul Thompson and his skepticule.com podcast. Lovely guy and member of the Skeptics in the pub. He was telling us about some of the top names he has had on his show. Eric Hovind and Sye Ten to name a couple. Please go check him out and also the skeptics events. The guys were great and made us feel so welcome. 3 Blow ins from Zeus only knows where hitting their turf and demanding(or asking rather sheepishly in all honesty) to meet their guest speaker. They were diamonds!!
Then Aron took to the podium again. The 3 of us exchanged glances and dipped our heads as we thought the moment was lost. This shows why you should assume nothing good readers. Out walks the announcer wearing his Answers In Reason t-shirt and instead of introducing Aron he introduces us and asks us to take to the same stage occupied by Mr Ra. they were kind enough to give us free reign to say what we needed to about AIR and our goals and influences and of course repeat then name and URL as much as we liked. I have to admit my throat dried and a was shaking quite uncontrollably. perhaps one of the guys consuming the Dutch courage should have spoken, although it is difficult to get our graphic designer Howie to stop once he starts…..
That done and with knees almost ready to give out we returned to our seats and the Q&A began. Aron ran an open and honest answer session and didn’t shirk away from any questions. Chris and Howie from AIR managed to get a couple of questions in so expect a couple of Aron quotes appearing in forth coming articles.
Q&A done Aron left the stage. We were becoming bolder now and asked for a quick photo op. This was no problem at all for Aron as he came back out and chatted to us over a pint or 2 for about 30 mins before we decided to let other people have a go. The Skeptics even popped our website up on the projector screen for all to see in its shining Glory. A special thanks to our web admin Davidian for his tireless work keeping us looking great and online!!
All in all this was a great day from finally getting to meet our glorious leader Christopher Pyke whom I have known and run several debating groups with for the past 3 or so years to meeting the Skeptics in the Pub guys and girls and culminating in the crescendo that was hearing Aron Ra speak and getting to speak with the man himself in a very intimate manner 😉
Kebabs and a quick logo design change scribbled with a pencil found on the floor and scrap paper, then came the 2 hour 15 minute drive home, probably would have been 1 hour 45 mins if the bloody GPS didn’t keep giving me bum steers….
Hearing Aron speak for me was probably the closest I will come to a spiritual experience. I left there high as a kite pumped up on dopamine and adrenalin. If you can catch Aron’s tour then please do!!
Take it anyway you can get it folks – Alan The Atheist!!