Home / Freethought and Humanism: Atheistic and Theistic (Deism) / Thunderf00t (an atheist) Versus Eric Hovind (a Christian) at Reason Rally
Thunderf00t (an atheist) Versus Eric Hovind (a Christian) at Reason Rally

Thunderf00t (an atheist) Versus Eric Hovind (a Christian) at Reason Rally

I am not sure why I watch the whole video. Maybe I was in awe of the insanity.  I do not know, but just listening to Eric Hovind gave me a headache.  Even so, Thunderf00t took Hovind back to Philosophy 101 and Science 101, yet the man still could not grasp what Thunderf00t was saying.

First, Thunderf00t is a well-educated scientist and possibly a professor or “professional educator”. I know the first, because Honest Discussioner went around about this with a few people on YouTube, until he found the answer to his question.

I will not get into HD’s ordeal concerning Thunderf00t, but as a university graduate, I heard many professors complain that in grades Kindergarten through 12, teachers do not teach the students to think. Students often learn from rote, memorizing facts, without question and without learning to test assumptions, thus many college professors feel they need to begin by teaching students how to think.

Hovind is not only a Christian, but also a Creationist, who apparently never questioned his religion. His intent, while at the Reason Rally, was to evangelize, albeit unsuccessfully.

In true form, the Christian showed this inability, which professors complain about, to think about subjects with reason and logic in grand style as he conversed with Thunderf00t. Religion has the tendency to do the same thing, as grades prior to college study, only more so and worse. One person in the crowd even asked Hovind if he went to college and/or studied Logic.

For Christians, especially Creationist Christians, the answer is always, “I know this because God said so and it is written in this little book.” How do they know the book is true? “God wrote the book.” They never tested any of those assumptions, because they are not supposed to question “God”.

First, Hovind asked a malformed question, according to Thunderf00t.  “Is it impossible for God exist?”  If I understand Thunderf00t correctly, the question is malformed because it demands at least three things in order to answer it.

1.  Define God.  We cannot answer that question without a definition of the deity in question.  There are millions of gods, even among Christians, and all created in the minds of humans, so we cannot know what the deity in question is, until we define the deity.  Even then, the bottom line is any concept of a deity a human conceives is of, is nothing more than a human creation, and only exists in the human mind.  Said deity is not reality, which leads us into the philosophical question of “What is reality?”

2.  Define reality.  This gets into Descartes and other philosophers, of which a whole discussion and debate has gone on for centuries concerning this topic.

3.  Hovind neglected the three basic assumptions of Philosophy.  The question he asked is a philosophical question, which needs defining and reforming.  Even then, the question may still end up malformed.

Thunderf00t takes Hovind back to Philosophy 101 with the three basic assumptions.

1.  Making an assumption that the universe exists

2.  You can learn something about reality

3.  Models with predictive capabilities are more useful than models without predictive capabilities.

I recognized Thunderf00t used many of the ideas of the great the philosophers while talking to Hovind.  Some of them are Kant, Descartes, Hume, and even once, I noticed a version of Shankara.

Shankara, like many other philosophers, dealt with the question of reality.  Concerning the question of reality, one example Shankara used was a person assuming, in dim lighting, that the wound up coil in the corner was a snake.  Upon the light of day, it turned out to be a rope, but his fear kept him from finding the truth until the sun rose, giving him light to see what it really was.  The light illuminated the “snake”, which was really a rope, and the person acquired enlightenment.1

However, the fear of a snake in the dark is a survival mechanism and the emotion very real.  This basic primitive emotion, which we still possess today, keeps us safer and alive, until we can observe what really scares us.

We no longer live and sleep in trees, so we can observe, test, and study the things that once scared us and caused us to believe in gods.  Humans are no longer as superstitious as we once were, because we acquired scientific knowledge.

Science is based on observations tested with the use of the scientific method.

1.  Make observations

2.  Do background research

3.  Form a testable hypothesis based on your observations and research

4.  Conduct experiments to test your hypothesis

5.  Replicate the experiment the exact same way to see if you continue to achieve the same results.

6.  Analyze the data acquired from your tests and form a conclusion

Wikipedia gives eight steps to this procedure.

A linearized, pragmatic scheme of the four points above is sometimes offered as a guideline for proceeding:[46]

  1. Define a question
  2. Gather information and resources (observe)
  3. Form an explanatory hypothesis
  4. Test the hypothesis by performing an experiment and collecting data in a reproducible manner
  5. Analyze the data
  6. Interpret the data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypothesis
  7. Publish results

8. Retest (frequently done by other scientists)

People must use caution in their research and not use only research that supports the answer to the question one wants or assumes the answer should be.

The majority of adults, capable of reason, agree the deity Ceiling Cat does not really exist and we base that assumption on our observations.  Humans can test that many times over and find no Ceiling Cat deity, who watches everything we do.

With the use of the scientific method, humans discovered there are no volcano gods nor do we need to sacrifice virgins to a volcano deity.  Humans, for the most part, no longer fear the majority of deities we once believed were real, but the questions still remain, “Is it a snake or a rope?” or rather, “What is reality?” and “Does God exist?”

The reality is that there is no Ceiling Cat.  The majority of people feel safe believing that assumption, but what if one day, you heard scratching sounds in your ceiling, went to explore, and found a cat trapped in your air duct?  The assumption that there is no such thing as Ceiling Cat is disproven.  The question, albeit probably not actually asked, is “Is it a god?”  Most people would not assume the cat is a god, but for the sake of a name, might call the cat “Ceiling Cat”.

With exception of those who are extremely religious and superstitious, most humans are no longer as superstitious as our ancestors were and usually do not assume a deity or a demon, where none exists.

One thing we can observe is that other apes possess five fingers, make weapons, and create shelters.  They look very similar to us.  Scientists made further observations and found that Bonobos are 98% genetically similar to us.  Although other apes have yet to evolve to the level of the apes in the movie Planet of the Apes, we do live on a planet full of apes.

With science and reason, we can make reasonable assumptions. Humans no longer need to make the baseless assumption that a deity did it and we know, more or less where we came from and how we evolved.

Genesis is purely a fictional account of how primitive humans thought we arrived on the planet and many cultures have creation stories. These stories are nothing more than a means of telling a story, mostly to children, of how humans arrived on the planet, but are purely literature with no scientific facts. These stories are a lot like telling children about Santa Claus, but unfortunately, many adults, due to the fear factor imposed on them as children, without the privilege of questioning the stories, never out grow the fantasy.

Once a person is able to question the myths they grew up with, by researching, studying, and acquiring new information, the blinders of superstition are usually removed and reality, much like the rope in Shankara’s example concerning reality, changes to fit a more real paradigm based on reason and science.

In order to do that, many of us must learn how to think and think rationally, especially when exploring philosophical questions. Too many people do not know how to think and form appropriate questions. Thus, the question of rather or not a deity exists is a malformed question, both scientifically and philosophically.

Finally, Hovind needs to get over his false belief that people cannot know anything unless they believe in God. The idea that someone knows something because a deity and the person’s holy text said so, goes back to not thinking.

I do not believe Hovind is retarded, but until he can admit that he does not know anything, he cannot learn, at least not as easily. The first step in learning is to admit you do not know and one single source, such as the Bible, does not possess all the answers to life and the universe.

Thunderf00t tried for an hour to get Hovind to think, which shows he possesses a lot of patience, but Hovind did not seem willing to learn.  He truly believes he knows because he believes in God. Seems like a sad state to exist, especially when one does not think about these things thoroughly and come to their own conclusions, instead of a Dark Age conclusion that passed down for generations and unquestioned due to fear.

I do have one question for Thunderf00t… Why did you bother spending an hour going around with this man, only to get frustrated and get nowhere with him? Personally, I probably would have walked away within ten to fifteen minutes tops.

1. Stevenson, L. & Haberman, D. (2004).  Ten Theories of Human Nature (4th ed.),  New York :  Oxford University Press, 38-39.

About Mriana

Mriana is a humanist and the author of "A Source of Misery", who grew up in the Church of God, Anderson Indiana. After she became an adult, she joined the Episcopal Church, but later left the Church and became a humanist. She has two grown sons and raises cats. Mriana raised her sons in the Episcopal Church, but in their teen years, they left the Church and she soon followed. One of her sons became a "Tao Buddhist" and the other a None, creating his own world view. She enjoys writing, reading, science, philosophy, psychology, and other subjects. Mriana is also an animal lover, who cares for their welfare as living beings, who are part of the earth. She is a huge Star Trek fan in a little body.
  • Thewoody57

    Firstly to define something as not true because you have come across one person who has not been able to get into your personal reasoning capacity is not very intelligent. Using assumptions that one would fear a rope because we used to be in trees, were 98% ape (which is a crafty distortion of genetics)  and that there is no such thing as a ceiling cat or gods of volcanoes no more because we have become enlightened in our modern society is absurd, you only have to look at Hitler , Stalin , Pol-pot, Ahmadinejad, Qaddafi, even Obama to see worship of the creation not the creator. The power of the few over the many has always been an issue. Descartes was credited with i think therefore Iam which is one sense he was saying he was God, Quoting from the Bible " I am who I am " . Is what this author is saying, Trying to reason reality is this way is like watching a child use big words and clever juggling tricks to express what they know nothing of. So to be very simple and accepting like a "Child" (That is  another quote from the Bible) This Universe came into existence how ? Either a rock grew legs and called it self Eric (does not answer were the rock came from) or a Creation happened and if creation happened then you can ask were the creator came from although Descartes has answered that for you.    

    • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

      What you said made absolutely no sense.  There are no such things as volcano gods and we discovered this through the use of science or rather, there were people brave enough to find out what the volcano really was.  This is not an absurd statement at all.

      Secondly, how can one worship a creator when the idea of a creator is purely a human creation?  To inject a deity is to inject your own view of the world, which is not realistic.

      Third, my older son was using words, such as avalanche when he was 4, said it right and could tell you exactly what an avalanche is at the age of four, so your use of a child is a straw person.

      Fourth, nowhere in science does it say the earth grew legs, but we are related to apes and are have a distant cousin to apes, which is hardly a crafty distortion of genetics.  We ARE apes.  Humans ARE animals.  We are very peculiar animals and sometimes weird, esp in our thinking.  Sometimes I think other animals are more evolved than the human species, but that is another topic.

      Lastly, why would I want to just take someone's word for where I came from without testing that idea for myself?  Seems like a very bad argument from authority.  Descartes' writing has no authority or even an actual definition of a deity.  The idea of a deity, heaven, hell, etc are nothing more than human creations, so who is really the creator?  Seems to me, when one says people worship creation instead of the creator, they have their own definition of a deity, which they themselves created, which means humans are the creator of meaning and they create their own meanings to things that cannot be defined.

      The Tao has a very good saying, IMO, "To describe the Tao is to not describe it all".  You can say, "God", "The Way", or anything else that is vague and really has little meaning, except to the speaker, in place of the Tao and still end up with the same result.  When you say people worship creation and not the creator, you are giving a vague statement.  What is the creator?  Define it?  You cannot truly describe and communicate, with human words, what you've created in your own mind.  The Bible is nothing more than a human creation, created, written, and inspired by humans, not by a deity, just like any other such text.  Such texts were written by primitive human beings in an effort to make sense of the world around them.  Moses' deity was a volcano deity and not at all the deity you believe you ascribe to today.  So what you did, when you referred to your little book was not to describe anything remotely similar to what you yourself consider a deity today.  You changed the whole meaning of the original authors (humans) were talking about at that time, yet at the same time, communicated nothing.  It made absolutely no sense, was gibberish that only made sense to you, and totally meaningless.

      If I were to tell you, in a Pantheistic sense, god is everything within the universe, you would not understand.  If I told you god is Krishna, Hanuman, Ah-yah, or Ceiling Cat, you not even comprehend what I was talking about and your words meaningless.  All you did was state your own mental creation of a deity, thus, you yourself are the creator and by what you said, you must worship yourself, which is a sad state of being, esp when you outsource everything and project onto that meaning you created, instead of claiming it and taking responsibility for those things.

      That and you totally have no understanding of evolution, genetics, the human condition, psychology, philosophy, or general science.

      I also did not say that we feared a rope because we were in trees. I said we feared the rope because it looked like a snake in the dark. Obviously you have not studied philosophy or religion, esp not Shankara or you would have understood this analogy.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SBDUIQ7H7DG4GROROGH5CEGM5Y Le Ric

         Honey, you might be an apette in your own mind, but we're not apes. We're human beings. Evolution has ZERO transititionals. Zero. That means Zero. The time spent on the iterations of making an eye are beyond the days expressed by evolutionist's of the created world even in billions of years.

        • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

          I don't know how you get that idea, because we look just like them, some people more than others.  Evolution is a scientific fact of which people misunderstand the use of theory in scientific language.

          As for the rest of your statements, esp on the APA, I would like to see reliable documentation and not yellow propaganda.  I happen to follow the APA, esp on this DSM-V they are currently working on and nowhere does it state that pedophilia is normal.

        • Oster

          Given the differences and similarities between apes and human beings what specifically leads you to the conclusion that human beings are not apes?

          What characteristics would distinguish a "transitional" from a population with characteristics different from both their ancestors and descendants?

          How did you establish how much time and how many iterations it would take for an eye to develop?

  • Free_Computer_Cleanup_Tools111

    Great article,,,,,,,Mriana,,,,,,,i found of few things inexplicable,,really inexplicable in this article,,,,,,,,,but though todays adult believes deity Ceiling Cat does not really exist and these are realy assumptions,,,,,,,,,,,,,also the presence of apes in this world helps to redefine our cause of existence,,,,,,,,,,,on this planet.

  • Vivisectus

    Reason never makes much of an impression on the religious. This is because religion is not based on reason, but on an emotional need to be the centre of the universe, to create an illusion of order in a largely hostile and chaotic universe. We are a story-telling species: simple stories help us make sense of a hugely complex and largely unpredictable world.

    Look at some of the people commenting here: emotional reactions. None of the religious people have a rational rebuttal of what you say. They just spout angry and defensive reactions because they do not like to see their simple fairytales challenged.

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