I’m off to Charleston today, on the last grueling leg of the Grand Evolution, Atheism, and BBQ Tour of the South. I have many pictures and much to report, but that must wait. Let me just mention that after my lecture in Clemson, one female student arose, incensed, and accused me of not knowing anything about religion. I said, “What do you mean?”
She replied that my characterization of hell was erroneous. I’d given the statistic that about 70% of Americans believe in hell—as opposed to 16% who accept naturalistic evolution—and added that for many such believers hell was not metaphorical, but a real place of fiery torment. She asserted that “her researches” had shown her that hell was not like that, but rather a series of concentric circles with various types of punishment (had she been reading Dante?).
I thought “The Lord hath delivered her into my hands,” and of course asked her what researches she had done. The point I wanted to make it that there is no way of finding out the truth about anything through religious “researches,” and of course she didn’t cite her sources or methodology. Rather than prolong what could have been an interesting exchange, I moved to the next question.
The pushback I got from both creationists and religious people was much stronger in Clemson than after my lecture yesterday in Columbia (same talk), which was in the biology department although still open to the public.
In the meantime, I need coffee, preferably like this one (there will be extra cat until I return to Chicago Sunday.)