AronRa

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AronRa, aka the Texan Tank.

AronRa (real name L. Aron Nelson[1]) is an atheist vlogger and activist. His videos focus on biology, with an emphasis on countering creationist claims, and advocating rationalism in science education. He also posts written material on his website LocoLobo. He is currently a co-host on the podcast Dogma Debate with David Smalley. He is also the Texas State Director of American Atheists.

Contents

[edit] Science: It's kryptonite to creationists

AronRa's videos focus on the scientific evidence for evolution, normally avoiding the theological discussion. This is sensible, since scientists should not have to read Superman comics in order to refute the claim that a mild-mannered reporter took an unprotected stroll on the moon.

[edit] Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism

This is a seventeen part series of videos[2] in which AronRa addresses the most popular claims of creationists. The series is highly critical of the methods employed by creationists - describing the ringleaders as liars - some of whom having a financial interest in the beliefs they're pushing. The series is aimed at the general public, or sheep, who he feels are being deceived by the purveyors of creationist misinformation.

AronRa's criticism of religion is normally restricted to the claims conflicting with science. It is asserted that many scientists are themselves religious, and the choice of "evolution or God" is a false dichotomy. Science by its very nature can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God, although it can disprove naturalistic claims made by religions and their texts. The series runs as follows:

  1. "Evolution = atheism"
  2. "Scriptures are ‘Gods Word’ "
  3. "Human interpretation = absolute truth"
  4. "Belief = knowledge"
  5. Evolution(ism) part one - "the religion of atheism"
  6. Evolution(ism) part two - What evolution is and isn't.
  7. "Evolution is random"
  8. "Mutations are rare, harmful decreases in genetic information.
  9. "No transitional species have ever been found".
  10. Cladistic phylogenetics - exploring Darwin's tree of life
  11. Macroevolution has never been observed
  12. Intelligent design creationism in opposition to material science
  13. "Evolutionist hoaxes" and creationist frauds
  14. "Creation is evident" -part one (Warning: Contains Kirk Cameron. Viewer discretion is advised)
  15. "Creation is evident" -part two
  16. Evolution 'just' a theory, not a fact. Part one
  17. Evolution 'just' a theory, not a fact. Part two

[edit] AronRa and Ray Comfort

On April 24, 2009, shortly after the Rational Response Squad debate with Way of the Master, AronRa made a video pointing out Ray Comfort had no evidence and accused Comfort that his only intention was to preach his sermons. Ray Comfort also challenged atheist biologist Richard Dawkins to a debate, however Dawkins declined for several reasons, one of them being Comfort would pretend that his own insane ravings were somehow comparable to the consensus held by the worldwide scientific community. In refusing, Comfort would pretend that Dawkins was afraid to debate him.

In response to Comfort's unaccepted Dawkins challenge, AronRa addressed Ray Comfort and offered to debate him. While AronRa respects Dawkins and his work, AronRa deeply dislikes it when Dawkins describes himself as a "Darwinist". It was scheduled to be an online debate, not a live one "because in science accuracy matters more than the performance behind the podium."[citation needed] The debate would consist of a dozen or so mutual exchanges opening with a three-and-a-half minute statement on one specific position, and keep the discussion focused only on that topic. AronRa also offered Comfort to choose what the topic would be.

At some point, Ray Comfort finally did accept AronRa's offer to an online debate.[3] On September 17th, 2012, AronRa was made a guest on Radio Paul's Radio Rants, with Ray Comfort calling in as a second guest.

[edit] Debate synopsis

Surprisingly, Ray claimed to be anti-religion and named many atrocities caused by religion such as the Crusades. He then attempted to insist that he was not religious, failing to recognize that his own ministry, Way of the Master neatly falls under the definition. Regardless, this wasn't enough to dissuade him from sermonizing towards the end of the show after providing no evidence. AronRa was quick to point out that Ray's position doesn't provide evidence of any kind, and that his god was not demonstrable. Ray attempted to warp the debate by asking AronRa if he had a wife and subsequently, if he had faith in his wife. AronRa pointed out that there are two different definitions of "faith", and that Ray was trying to switch context. AronRa told him that one context details having reasonable expectations based on probability (Ray tries to interrupt AronRa at this point, pushing his false context of faith, but fails); the second context of faith, however, details having a firm conviction without and in spite of reason, separate from evidence, and in that regard AronRa has no faith in his wife because he does not require it- he has plenty of evidence to believe that his wife is real.

AronRa then points out that Ray can't know that god exists because actual knowledge is demonstrable and requires evidence to demonstrate it- if Ray can't show it, then he doesn't know it. Even if Ray wanted to deny that any woman he was shown was AronRa's wife (in fact, Ray started to comment on this direction that he could never know for sure), he still has documents, pictures, video of a wedding and testimony from relatives to at least support the claim that AronRa is or was married- Ray, however, does not have similar evidence to prove that his god exists. At this point, AronRa bluntly states, "Your greatest strength, Ray, and possibly your only strength, is in pretending that you don't understand simple things."

Ray demanded to ask the questions at this point, starting by the assertion that, as an atheist, AronRa must therefore believe that "something was created from nothing", which AronRa outright rejected. As AronRa tried to explain in as basic a way as possible so that Ray might understand (and it's clear he did not), Ray interrupted by trying to get AronRa to state that scientists don't know. AronRa freely admits that scientists don't know- and that they will not (like Ray) provide explanations (like god) to which there is no evidence and present it as "fact". The discussion inevitably turned to the theory of evolution, where Ray demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge on the subject by, as usual, resorting to gross misrepresentations of science as well as the examples AronRa attempted to provide. At one point, Ray requested that AronRa dumb down his language so that everyone could understand it, and as a result tried to use this against AronRa by constructing shoddy strawmen.

This did not work. AronRa was quick enough to point out most of Ray's fallacies, and commented that for someone who had been arguing against and rejecting the theory of evolution for at least a decade, Ray still did not have a clear idea of what the theory actually entailed. It got worse when he failed to understand what the word "arboreal" meant, as AronRa described a common ancestor to cats and dogs. Meanwhile, Ray resorted to show-stoppers like "I'm going to have to stop you right there" and "you gotta let me speak", strongly suggesting that he didn't want AronRa to speak too clearly and point out Ray's logical fallacies. When AronRa attempted to walk Ray through a lecture about how humans are apes based on their morphological features, Ray attempted to dispute phylogeny and morphology by claiming that he was a pig, justifying this by saying that he has hands, legs, eyes, ears, a nose and a mouth, just like a pig does- completely missing the point. AronRa points out that Ray doesn't possess hooves, but whether it was because Ray didn't hear him correctly or doesn't actually know what hooves are, he seemed to miss it and ignore it, muttering that AronRa couldn't prove anything.

Towards the end of the show, AronRa points out a bit of dishonesty Ray exhibited once, made during his release of his edited version of On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin- Ray claimed in that Charles Darwin wrote the book years before the death of his daughter, Annie. This is the correct chronology, but a few months later, during an appearance Ray made on Pat Robertson's show, the 700 club, Ray claimed that the book was written after, and as a direct result of, Annie's death. He also disputed Ray's claim (made on the same show) that Darwin was a bitter man, by pointing out he was viewed very favorably by scientists and historians alike due to his devotion to his family and his moral positions. After this, AronRa goes on the offensive, stating that Ray fears truth, shying away from definitions and evidence which needs to be explained to him and committing ignorance instead.

At this point, the show begins to end, with the host letting Ray have the last word. He thanks AronRa for speaking with him then goes on an irrelevant tangent about how he's a good person and environmentally conscious by riding a bike to work, how he hates wars but isn't a pacifist, and wishing AronRa and Paul well.

[edit] Zopdoz

On June 27, 2010, AronRa posted a video, sharing his introspections on philosophy, symbology, belief, and his personal atheistic label. While he is an atheist, he sought a more descriptive and specific term. For example, an atheist may not believe in God, but an atheist could still follow a secular religion. AronRa was not satisfied with agnosticism, for many of them are atheists and they do not even know it. After going through names to pick: realist, empirical rationalist, freethinker, secularist, and skeptic; the one that seemed to fit as someone who has no faith at all, does not endorse religion, and is antithesitic was infidel. However, that word has negative implications, such as someone who is disloyal, but AronRa claims he was never loyal to any religious belief in the first place.

When people were searching for a symbol to identify atheists or people who discard faith, the result was a scarlet "A". However, AronRa came up with his own symbol for godless infidels, which he still uses and so do a few of his fans. AronRa's design and invention was called the Zopdoz, a word AronRa's son created. The shape was a vertical triangle with an umlaut, which makes it 'metal', and a single point in the center of the triangle (zopdoz picture can be seen here). Since the inception off rock n' roll has often been denigrated a "devil's music" implying it be impious to blasphemy. Some heavy metal bands have capitalized on this impression including such ironically atheist "rock gods" as Motörhead and Mötley Crüe.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

  1. [1]
  2. Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism
  3. Aron and Ray's Debate, Though the introduction claiming two "titans for their causes" might be misleading, as Ray is nothing of the sort.
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