When I first proposed a Dr. Sharp field trip to the Joplin Freethinkers, we assumed we had a lot of options regarding which presentation we wanted to see. Our intent was to view the proceedings, ask questions, and mingle with the audience members; also to eat at Bamboo House.
When I got the schedule, however, I noticed that discussion was segregated into its own seminar, on the last day, at an inconvenient time. That’s what we get for assuming it was anything other than a brainwashing session. So Wednesday at 2:00 it was. Only five of the Joplin Freethinkers could make it. Jim Stone was also going to make one last hurrah.
This was the smallest crowd of all the presentations I attended. Before the show we looked at all the merch and replicas, and chatted with the audience and promoters. When we revealed that we were the Joplin Freethinkers, there wasn’t any hysterics or “I’ll pray for you”s. They were eager to hear what we were all about and chatted us up gladly.
As we were finding our seats, I happened to look up and wouldn’t you know it? We had a surprise guest- my Calvinist friend from Bible study! You probably know her as Calvin and Luther Will Kick Your Atheist Behind in the comments. We all got acquainted and took our seats as Dr. Sharp took the stage somewhat awkwardly. This time, instead of notes I just recorded it with my camera’s video function. Of course, as soon as I got home I found out that I can’t upload video with my crap connection anyway, so you’ll have to make do with my transcripts.
The second question was from the JFT’s Rev Al. Unlike most of the audience, Al actually knows some things about radiocarbon dating.
Dr. Sharp: Anyone else? (Al walks to the mic.)
Rev. Al: I have to agree with you that they nobody uses carbon-14 to date anymore,they all use carbon-12 now, ’cause carbon-14 was found to be inaccurate, and carbon 12–carbon 12 is only accurate to about 50,000 years. Now, uh, as for the age of the Earth, they uh, have stopped using just uh, radiometric isotopes, and started using a radiometric isotope s–
Dr. Sharp (interrupting): (unintelligible) Do you have a question sir? Do you have a question? Get to your question!
Rev. Al: So uh, how do you reconcile that, uh, the earth is 4.45 billion years old because of the radioactive isotopes that is isolated from the surrounding rock via (?) zircon crystals?
Sharp decided to answer with a plug for books from the merch table (Starlight and Time by Dr. Russel Humphreys and Thousands Not Billions by Donald DeYoung), and had someone fetch Al a free copy of the latter. Sweet!
The next question was from a woman who wanted him to elaborate on Mt. St. Helens (since last time he kind of forgot until the end that it was the focus of the lecture). Woo. I could here Jim behind me scratching out more notes, and the occasional snort of disdain. During this, I finally decided what my question was going to be. Let me tell you now, it was a doozy!
Unfortunately, Dr. Sharp abruptly asked “next question” and before I could even sputter a note the next question was asked. It was about how Darwin affected Hitler. Godwin time. My buddy Randy loudly facepalmed.
Regardless whether or not Darwin was the driving force behind Hitler and the Holocaust (there’s considerable debate, as the Nazis cherry picked from lots of different fields, including science, Christianity and even occultism to fit and refine one messed up ideology), that doesn’t have any bearing on whether or not evolution was false. Germ warfare is used to kill people, does that mean we should discard the germ theory of disease? In any case, there was a lot of falsehoods here. For example, did you know that Darwinism is the root of racism? Huh! You mean there was no racial strife at all until 1859, and suddenly everybody started giving non-whites a hard time? When he was pontificating about Social Darwinism, he said it was a move from “Biblical capitalism.” Maybe that’s what he meant with the racism thing. “Darwinian racism” was a move from “Biblical racism.” I don’t know about Sharp, but Answers in Genesis still advances the Hamite story of racial origins. Hurray for going back to Biblical precepts!
And suddenly, he was out of time. I sputtered and pouted, wanting to ask my awesome question. He then addressed us. “You folks are the Joplin Freethinkers, right? If you guys want to set up something and pursue this further, meet me up at the front and we can work something out.”(my camera went out before this, so it’s paraphrased)
So we went out and schmoozed. Al and Sharp swapped cards, and talked about doing our own debate, in Joplin. We told him we’d talk with the board about it. I should have mentioned that his colleague Dr. Jackson had made his own offer on my blog comments. Ah well.
Outside, Jim and the JFT got into a debate with CaL that went on waaaaay too long. During pauses, I got everyone’s opinions. Jim and JFT thought that it was boring and infuriatingly dumb. CaL, who is a creationist and otherwise agreed with Sharp, thought it was really rude of him to cut Al off. “If he acts hateful toward you, he is sinning.”
This was my last seminar (one of the JFT made it to the last seminar: you can read his account here.) To celebrate we went to El Charro’s, thinking about debate possibilities.
I’m thinking the question should be “Did Parasaurlophus shoot acid out of it’s nose? Support your answer with original research.”