Wednesday, October 08, 2008

How atheists can be effective evangelists

Unfortunately the video of my lecture is cut off after 27 minutes, when it went on more than twice that long. I'm currently checking to see if we can correct that.

The official lecture page is on the ACA site, and you can download my slide presentation from there.

Update: the full 82 minute video is now available.


  1. With regards to this subject, I actually think I made a dent in a coworker's conviction regarding heseuss's return. While helping her with some boxes, I started doing some crazy dances to the gospel music she was listening to. (btw, I'm an overt atheist, but I try not to be -overly- obnoxious about it) After laughing at my tomfoolery, she asked if I'd make it to his (guess who 'he' is . . .) return, a reference to the song that was playing. Just as an aside, but spoken in all sincerity, I asked her if she knew how many generations had passed that thought they were the ones to meet him. And it seemed that I threw something in her stream of consciousness that didn't get washed away, if only judging from her behavior. So even when not deliberately going for the jugular, it's possible to awaken reason in some folks. Kinda encouraging to an amoral uninspired creature like myself^^

  2. Please work on on the video Russell as I am sure that many of us, myself included, would love to see in it's entirety!

    Otakursed: That's a very heartening story.

  3. p.s. watching the video now. ZOMG I think I'm the email from Kuala Lumpur!!!!!! *dies of happiness*

  4. Don has the tape... I haven't heard any updates. However, I have downloaded the mp3 file and it is a full hour and a half.

    Since the only thing you will miss after the first half hour is seeing my sexy self and my wild gesticulations with a bottle of water, my advice is to listen to the rest of the audio while going through the slides. You should be able to figure out where I am at any point.

  5. Kuala Lumpur is not French! It is in Malaysia! :P

  6. I watched the video, and would prefer a 90-minute MP3.

    Hey Russell, as a fellow atheist parent, I have this fantasy that someday my kids' school will invite in people of various religious views - sort of like what they do now with careers - and I'd volunteer to be the designated heathen. I'm curious to find out what your dad said as part his talk to the humanities classes. Is that available? I think that would be a most excellent blog post.

  7. Hi Curt,

    I emailed your question to my dad, who said:
    "I've never written it down, and I don't present any slides. It's all off the top of my head. I have occasionally thought about writing it down but haven't gotten around to it."

    I've heard his presentation before, and from what I can remember, it goes something like this:

    First he opens with a short story from Bertrand Russell, the opening of "A Free Man's Worship," about a completely amoral God who creates humanity to entertain himself and then wipes them all out with a comet.

    Then he introduces his work as a scientist, and explains that religion is set up to answer two things: Questions of fact and questions of value.

    Then he explains how science answers questions of fact more thoroughly and more satisfactorily than religion has ever done, and points out that God's domain has shrunk continuously throughout history as science explored new frontiers. He does a brief overview of what we know about the big bang, evolution, and abiogenesis, while also pointing out that there are many things we don't know but may still learn in the future.

    Then he talks about questions of value, and a little about societies and cultures, and where religion is not really a good moral guide.

    Then he takes questions from the students. I think that's about it.

  8. Hey Russell,

    Finished the lecture. Would have liked to see more of your sexy self and gesticulating with the water bottle.

    Couple questions:

    Has Tracie gotten over the Anything is Possible caller yet? :P:P:P:P:P:P

    Who is the guy who spoke at the end? 'we need to wrap up now'

    And finally: What games do you like to play? =D

    Thanks for the lecture, I enjoyed and learned from it. The part where you linked the Play to Win article was especially cool for me because I love that article to death.

  9. Hi C,

    Right now I play World of Warcraft and Team Fortress 2; in the past I was very big into Starcraft and Warcraft 3. I'm not a tournament level player by any means; but I have some general notions about strategy that make me enjoy analyzing the games and figuring out theory -- grasping what kinds of units should be mobilized in particular situations. I like to watch game replies and kibitz on occasion. :)

    The guy who was talking about Bible translations at the end was Dr. James Dee.

  10. Please note that the full 82 minute video is now working.


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