Skeptics in the pub and Andy McIntosh ?

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Re: Skeptics in the pub and Andy McIntosh ?

Postby paddyrex » Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:06 am

cathy wrote:
I suppose McIntosh is putting his own spin on things.
This is Andy McInstosh reported in Ken Ham for @@@@s sake-of course he is.

There is of course the remote possibility he isn't deluded, but unfortunately Andy McIntosh is a consistent liar, like all creationists. So until you hear from someone with more credibility its impossible to know what actually happened. So hang on till you have a credible source is my advice. Sounds like Brum skeptics need a bcse member to come a speak to them I think-its a nice place to visit.

Wish I'd known it was on :cry:


Hi Cathy et al, I'm the person that invited Andy to come and speak at Birmingham Skeptics. We did this, not to give him publicity, but because many people don't get the chance to see this kind of "event" in person and I thought it would be interesting to see how it went down in a room largely full of skeptics. I did however also invite some evangelical Christians to attend and I suspect that the favourable reactions he illicited came from that source rather than any conversion.

We have blogged some reactions to the talk. One of them, interestingly is from Mil Millington who used to write in the Guardian and has quite an entertaining style.

http://www.brumskeptics.blogspot.com/20 ... heism.html

We are also selling dvds of the talk to help boost our meagre funds and enable us to keep inviting speakers. I assure you we don't do this to make huge profits and buy ourselves holiday homes on the Algarve. If you want to see Andy in full flow at our event you or anybody can drop an email to skepticaldvds@gmail.com.

We would be happy to have a speaker from BCSE some time and I've already contacted Brian regarding a podcast interview and I'll chat with him there about a talk.

As to the question that was asked "Why on Earth they gave him publicity is beyond me." it's because Skeptics in the Pub isn't just about saying dogmatically "this is how things are!" We want to give people the chance to look at ideas and hopefully use reason to reach a conclusion. Obviously this doesn't work for everybody but sometimes first hand experience of what is involved in those ideas can be quite illuminating and entertaining, which is part of our remit. We will get people through our door that might never attend a BCSE event or find themselves on your forum. There is more than one way to skin a cat.
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Re: Skeptics in the pub and Andy McIntosh ?

Postby Peter Henderson » Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:07 pm

There is more than one way to skin a cat.paddyrex


The problem is Paddy, was he invited to represent science or Christianity ?

From my point of view he represents neither, but Ham has successfully put a spin on it that he's "ministering to skeptics", which implies that main stream science (i.e. the science that is taught in all schools, colleges, and universities everywhere) is Atheistic.

Unfortunately, some non Christians (I hesitate to use the word Atheist) agree with McIntosh, as has been shown on this discussion thread.

Anyone (or any group) puporting to represent science really need to tread very carefully indeed when dealing with seasoned young Earth creationists such as McIntosh. They are not to be underestimated, and it's very easy to be naive and come unstuck in such situations.

Science takes no accout of anyone's faith.
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Re: Skeptics in the pub and Andy McIntosh ?

Postby paddyrex » Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:29 pm

Cheers Peter, I take your point and don't dismiss your warning at all. Andy was representing himself and his version of Christianity. He took the opportunity to turn the event into a personal statement of his beliefs and faith. Interestingly from feedback that we had this actually turned a lot of people that had only come across him on YouTube etc further away from his ideas. They had had some sympathy for some of his ID justifications but I think that the way he expressed his faith to some degree undermined what may have been mistaken for scientific hypotheses. I have definitely heard more people say that they were put off Intelligent Design than turned on, though this is only anecdotal of course.

I was aware that a positive spin would be put onto this by Andy, although I was surprised to see it actually get onto AiG, I didn't think we were important enough to get noticed. I don't think that it has done too much to harm the cause and it caused a great deal of discussion and thought amongst those that attended.

It would be a pleasure to work with and consult with people from the BCSE should we plan any such future events.
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Re: Skeptics in the pub and Andy McIntosh ?

Postby Dagsannr » Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:04 pm

I think having people like that speaking at skeptic meetings is a good thing and if we had similar events near me I'd encourage it. I'm not concerned that it gives them credibility but rather exposes their flawed methodology to people who will ask the proper questions. Putting the discourse afterwards online is a good way of showing people how poor their reasoning is.

I'm more suprised that a cretinist turned up and did a talk; they know their 'science' is deeply flawed and require faith to back it up. A room full of agnostics and atheists would be a tough crowd, even more so with a few beers behind them!
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Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
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Re: Skeptics in the pub and Andy McIntosh ?

Postby cathy » Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:04 pm

As to the question that was asked "Why on Earth they gave him publicity is beyond me." it's because Skeptics in the Pub isn't just about saying dogmatically "this is how things are!" We want to give people the chance to look at ideas and hopefully use reason to reach a conclusion. Obviously this doesn't work for everybody but sometimes first hand experience of what is involved in those ideas can be quite illuminating and entertaining, which is part of our remit. We will get people through our door that might never attend a BCSE event or find themselves on your forum. There is more than one way to skin a cat.paddyrex

Hi paddyrex, thanks for the post. I just wanted to clear up that I would agree wholeheartedly wth you saying that nobody should say dogmatically 'this is it' without looking at ideas. Nor do I think it was necessarily a bad idea to invite McIntosh. In fact it was a goodish idea - personally I wish I'd known he was going to be there cos as you can see I'm very local and have lived/studied in brum. I would have loved to have had the opportunity to question him in an environment where I wouldn't be heckled or booed - ie outside of his personal domain and away from his accolytes. And would have loved the opportunity to push him if he didn't answer or gave a politcians answer - which is rare with creationists.

My gripe was that from his blog on AiG and from your blogs it would appear he was given a relatively easy ride?- Tho without having been there I can only go on what I've read. And it reads as if he was not really tackled on any of the more dubious of his claims about his beliefs?

And that is good publicity for a man who claims his ideas are scientific when the whole of the scientific world has rejected ID and creationism as nonsense on a par with astrology (and personally, tho I think astrology to be utter crap I also think it is way more credible than ID/creationism cos it only lacks evidence and logic whereas they lack evidence, logic AND have a whole mountain of evidence actually showing them not to be true). Particularly a man like McIntosh who will exploit you.

I'd also agree with what was said by the brum skeptics blog that they were pleased that he was treated with politeness, if you invite someone to speak or go to see them speak they deserve politeness. However there is a world of difference between being polite and not tackling what people say. For example, several of your bloggers have mentioned his feather and Dawkins throwaway comment. Did nobody seek to get him to elaborate or explain what he meant? I suspect it was mentioned because McIntosh uses feathers as an example of intelligent design and ignores any discoveries about the evolution of feathers or any explanations for them - and I guess at some point Dawkins must have said we didn't know specifially yet how they evolved. Not knowing something is not evidence for something else.

Did anyone tackle him about his thermodynamic arguments or even ask why he hadn't submitted any to any relevant peer reviewed physics, engineering or physical chemistry journals? And given how esoteric his thermodynamics arguments are, did anyone tackle him on why he was reluctant to submit them to his scientific peers but very keen to use them in schools where entropy is touched on very briefly at A level so kids would have very little chance of understanding why they were odd.

I have no gripe with his Christianity tho I don't remotely share it, nor even with his bonkers Young Earth creationism/Intelligent Design if he could be honest about it and admit it is a rejection of most of science. But I do have major issues with the way he distorts facts, tells outright lies about science and attempts to push it into schools as science without submitting a single one of his claims to proper scientific peer review. And he isn't a stranger to peer review as he has published plenty of non creationist stuff in engineering journals. And I guess I also have issues with him pushing it onto christians who would really prefer not to have to reject science to practise their faith.

As for discussing ID. I'm not quite sure what there is to discuss. It has no scientific validity. It is creationism without mentioning God. Claims like irreducible complexity have been shredded, the maths has been shredded. It's been shredded by scientists in the court and the Association for Science Education puts it succinctly when it says it has no place in the science classroom cos it does not even qualify as bad science. It is religion.

Everyone bar Steve Fuller that thinks it is credible is from the evangelical extremes of christianity (or Islam) and most are Young Earth Creationists. I only came across creationism/ID two years ago. I'm still pretty naive but the one thing I've learnt is that creationists are the craftiest, most imaginative and most skilful liars on the planet. I would say that if you invite them unprepared they will exploit you.

Anyway good luck with Skeptics. It's nice to know there is a branch close by and I'd love to try and attend some time so will keep an eye on your future speakers.
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Re: Skeptics in the pub and Andy McIntosh ?

Postby cathy » Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:10 pm

I'm not concerned that it gives them credibility but rather exposes their flawed methodology to people who will ask the proper questions. Putting the discourse afterwards online is a good way of showing people how poor their reasoning is.

That assumes people understand the issues enough to aks the right questions. I don't think many people do actually. Just over two years ago I'd never heard of ID and never come across creationism. If I'd gone to see McIntosh I wouldn't have had a clue what questions to ask, would have wondered what on Earth he was going on about and he would have come away looking far more credible than he is.

When Steven Fry mentioned ID recently on QI (the episode Ben Godacre was on) it was clear that none of the panellists had heard of it. I think McIntosh will trade on that for a while.
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Re: Skeptics in the pub and Andy McIntosh ?

Postby Michael » Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:21 pm

paddyrex wrote:Cheers Peter, I take your point and don't dismiss your warning at all. Andy was representing himself and his version of Christianity. He took the opportunity to turn the event into a personal statement of his beliefs and faith. Interestingly from feedback that we had this actually turned a lot of people that had only come across him on YouTube etc further away from his ideas. They had had some sympathy for some of his ID justifications but I think that the way he expressed his faith to some degree undermined what may have been mistaken for scientific hypotheses. I have definitely heard more people say that they were put off Intelligent Design than turned on, though this is only anecdotal of course.

I was aware that a positive spin would be put onto this by Andy, although I was surprised to see it actually get onto AiG, I didn't think we were important enough to get noticed. I don't think that it has done too much to harm the cause and it caused a great deal of discussion and thought amongst those that attended.

It would be a pleasure to work with and consult with people from the BCSE should we plan any such future events.


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Re: Skeptics in the pub and Andy McIntosh ?

Postby paddyrex » Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:10 pm

My gripe was that from his blog on AiG and from your blogs it would appear he was given a relatively easy ride?- Tho without having been there I can only go on what I've read. And it reads as if he was not really tackled on any of the more dubious of his claims about his beliefs?

And that is good publicity for a man who claims his ideas are scientific when the whole of the scientific world has rejected ID and creationism as nonsense on a par with astrology (and personally, tho I think astrology to be utter crap I also think it is way more credible than ID/creationism cos it only lacks evidence and logic whereas they lack evidence, logic AND have a whole mountain of evidence actually showing them not to be true). Particularly a man like McIntosh who will exploit you.


The audience at sitp is a very mixed one ranging from full time scientists to lay people like myself with a keen interest. To be honest it's probably even broader than that. He was asked questions but the limited forum means that no one issue can be tackled to death as there are so many people that want to ask one. You may see this as playing into his hands but in some respects it's a necessary evil.

In terms of mileage made from the night, I think that in propoganda terms if he had turned up to face full on hostility they would have enjoyed it much more. "Closed minded Skeptics refuse to look at Evidence" may have been Ken Ham's post on AiG. Instead he got a (mostly) polite hearing from a lot of people that continued to think that those ideas were preposterous.

As regards whether people fully understand the ideas or not, probably some do and some don't. But they all came and tried and maybe went away and read about it. Some even took his booklets as intelligent people like to read books before burning them.
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Re: Skeptics in the pub and Andy McIntosh ?

Postby cathy » Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:41 pm

I think that in propoganda terms if he had turned up to face full on hostility they would have enjoyed it much more. "Closed minded Skeptics refuse to look at Evidence" may have been Ken Ham's post on AiG. Instead he got a (mostly) polite hearing from a lot of people that continued to think that those ideas were preposterous.

I don't think anyone would suggest full on hostility nor rudeness. A polite hearing followed by polite questions. Full on rudeness and not listening doesn't work. Which is what I said in my post.
I'd also agree with what was said by the brum skeptics blog that they were pleased that he was treated with politeness, if you invite someone to speak or go to see them speak they deserve politeness
. I'm sorry if my post sounded a bit aggressive. It wasn't meant to be. It is just that creationists will exploit any occasion really. Had you been rude you're right that is what he'd have said. Being polite gets a blog about how close to converting you he came - with the inevitable person whose been converted after reading Dawkins.

On the two occasions I've seen creationists speak where there has been the opportunity to question them (which is rare) everyone questioning has been incredibly polite and always prefaced their questions with a thanks for an interesting talk. Though the advantage on both occasions was that the speakers were speaking with a much narrower remit, very specifically as creationists or IDers, not as a general talk about faith. Which made it a lot easier to focus the questioning. Looks like McInstosh went for a broader conversion by ID remit which would make things difficult.

As regards whether people fully understand the ideas or not, probably some do and some don't. But they all came and tried and maybe went away and read about it. Some even took his booklets as intelligent people like to read books before burning them.
I would agree with you - the more you know the more you can ask. I've read a few creationist books as well! I don't tend to burn them as who knows they may actually come up with something one day. And it tends to be easier to make a decision based on information even if that decision is that they are a bunch of charlatans. Creationists are a very difficult group to figure out tho, They all have the same arguments and they are very devious in how they present them. I'm ever hopeful that one will surprise me - but they havent' yet. And I think I still make the mistake of thinking they are as open and up front as the rest of us, and am disappointed again and again to find they aren't. But who knows, one day.
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Re: Skeptics in the pub and Andy McIntosh ?

Postby psiloiordinary » Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:26 pm

Hi Paddyrex,

I sent you an email yesterday about a podcast and I have given several SiTP talks for the BCSE - in fact I am at Merseyside Skeptics next week.

Get back to me when you can.

Cheers,

Psi
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Re: Skeptics in the pub and Andy McIntosh ?

Postby Brian Jordan » Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:32 pm

psiloiordinary wrote:Hi Paddyrex,

I sent you an email yesterday about a podcast and I have given several SiTP talks for the BCSE - in fact I am at Merseyside Skeptics next week.

Get back to me when you can.

Cheers,

Psi
And don't worry, he won't need any help stoking his traction engine. :)
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Re: Skeptics in the pub and Andy McIntosh ?

Postby paddyrex » Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:55 pm

Hi

I've been flying around the last few days, we had sitp last night. Thanks for the email, I'm really looking forward to speaking with you.
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Re: Skeptics in the pub and Andy McIntosh ?

Postby Michael » Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:43 pm

Cathy

Creationists either go for the kill when they think they have support from acolytes or else they pull out the victim card
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Re: Skeptics in the pub and Andy McIntosh ?

Postby Roger Stanyard » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:18 pm

Michael wrote:Cathy

Creationists either go for the kill when they think they have support from acolytes or else they pull out the victim card


Quite frankly Michael not only do I think your right but that seems to suggest that they have exceedingly manipulative and self serving interpersonal traits or personalities if you like. A clever observation. No wonder so few of them work in business. They wouldn't survive five seconds. Personnel people are trained to spot and see through that sort of thing. It can do a huge amount of damage. You take responsibility for you own views and actions in business, not blame others when you can't get your own way.
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Re: Skeptics in the pub and Andy McIntosh ?

Postby Michael » Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:00 pm

Roger Stanyard wrote:
Michael wrote:Cathy

Creationists either go for the kill when they think they have support from acolytes or else they pull out the victim card


Quite frankly Michael not only do I think your right but that seems to suggest that they have exceedingly manipulative and self serving interpersonal traits or personalities if you like. A clever observation. No wonder so few of them work in business. They wouldn't survive five seconds. Personnel people are trained to spot and see through that sort of thing. It can do a huge amount of damage. You take responsibility for you own views and actions in business, not blame others when you can't get your own way.


They are also well-trained in refusing to bend however good an argument is. After all they know they are right.

They are like Ned Kelly with his suit of armour :lol:
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