How Religion Harms Education – Talk by Aron Ra next Tuesday, 21 April, at public meeting in Dublin

by Michael Nugent on April 16, 2015

Aron Ra, Texas State Director of American Atheists, will be speaking in Dublin next Tuesday evening at a public meeting organised by Atheist Ireland, about how religion harms education. It will be Aron’s first talk for Atheist Ireland since our successful World Atheist Convention in Dublin in 2011.

The meeting is in the Davenport Hotel, Dublin at 7.30 pm next Tuesday, 21 April 2015. Admission is free but space may be limited so please arrive early.

There are two Facebook event pages for this talk:

Aron is best known for his YouTube series on The Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism (see episode one below), and he will discuss the difference between faith-based and evidence-based education, and the battle between creationists and educators in American schools.

I will then talk briefly about the harm caused by religion in the Irish education system, followed by an audience question and answer session chaired by Jane Donnelly.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mel April 16, 2015 at 4:47 pm

Sounds fantastic! I didn’t know Aron Ra was part of American Atheists.

2 Citizen Wolf April 16, 2015 at 6:36 pm

I hope to be there. Anyone else from here going?

3 Nialler April 16, 2015 at 7:40 pm

Is that not going to be a wee bit awkward?

I see some names on his page. People such as Myers, a person named after the WWII M4 tank and others.

Your guest is alternatively proudly posing for photos with them or proudly displaying their photos.

Do you really need another atheist pseudo-celeb?

I’ve gone through his blog. He has nothing to say to me.

4 Nialler April 16, 2015 at 9:00 pm

He also has a blog at FtB, who so signally ignored any complaints from MN and who seemed to refuse him any complaint process.

It all seems odd.

5 Richard "The King" Sanderson April 17, 2015 at 12:09 am

Nialler, his talks on evolution and other science/religion-related topics are usually very good. He has exhibited the odd moment of SJW idiocy, but he generally keeps away from “the deep rifts”. Also, I’d point out Maryam Namzie has a blog at FTB, and she’s cool. Perhaps they should both leave and join a blog network that is not tainted by PZ and his ilk.

6 Shatterface April 17, 2015 at 1:41 am

He also has a blog at FtB, who so signally ignored any complaints from MN and who seemed to refuse him any complaint process.

The issue with Myers is that he consistently spreads hate about other members of the atheist community and the skeptical community in which he is no longer able to participate since his critical faculties disassociated themselves from the rest of him.

As far as I know Ra isn’t doing that.

7 Billie from Ockham April 17, 2015 at 2:11 pm

Even more, Aron Ra has been active (in Texas, no less, where there’s quite a bit of work to be done) in at least trying to prevent further undermining of the separation between church and state in the US (see, especially, the 2013 “Merry Christmas” bill). His manner is quiet but forceful – exactly the approach that AI appears to be taking. I would say that it’s a very good choice.

8 Nialler April 17, 2015 at 4:08 pm

@Richard Sandesron:

Why the hell would anyone go to hear one person talk about Science versus Religion, though? What expertise has he in the many fields which are at that interface? Is he a biologist, geneticist, astrophysicist, cosmologist, palaeontologist etc etc?

None of the biologists of my acquaintance have anything other than zero interest in debating creationism because for them the matter is a done deal and the only question is “How?” – as in what are/were the mechanisms. The act of “debating” the issue with creationists does not lead to progress in answering those questions.

The other issue is that creationists tend to pull conclusions from many many disciplines, seemingly being expert in all of them. A true scientist and academic will answer 99% of them by saying “Well, I’m a molecular biologist rather than a cosmologist so I cannot give you the definitive answer based on the most recent science, but my understanding is…”. This looks like vacillation but is the best and most rigourous academic position to hold.

Is the speaker a scientist? Is he performing real science as in being involved in ongoing research? Is he published?

If not, and if he is merely going to provide a scattershot response to the scattershot arguments we all know and hate then the thing would be a waste of my time and the time of others.

I see one of the inks on his page is to his discusing the status of a theory in science.

Colour me stupid, but I was aware of that at age 13. I suspect everyone in the room will also be aware of the distinction between the scientific use of the word and the vernacular use.

I just don’t see the point in that form of repetition of the obvious and I don’t see why people would give time to someone who self-describes as “The Ace of Clades” and a member of “The Unholy Trinity”.

He doesn’t deserve attention even if he is correct. He’s yet another attention-grabber. And Myers is prominent in his website.

If I wish to speak science or education I’ll to speak to experts in the many disciplines involved. I do not like generalists.

9 JackSketic April 22, 2015 at 3:32 pm

@Nialler

The fact you do not recognise a major problem does not mean it does not exist. In US schools and community’s science denialism is spreading ignorance and affecting the life chances of children educated there. It also encourages exclusion and shunning of those who do believe in nonsense. You too if you had grown up in that environment.

That is one reason why there is a disproportionately small number of US students going on to have successful careers in science. That affects all of us as a whole, assuming we care about humanity.

Creationism is also used to provide a cover for religious indoctrination to invade schools (in the UK too).

Now you may be happy for people to remain in blissful ignorance but I am not. The enlightenment happened hundreds of years ago but there is still a lot of work to do and Aron does that extremely well. He does it on a populist level so there is no need for a formal science background.

If you are not interested in promoting atheism and skepticism why are you even here?

10 JackSketic April 22, 2015 at 3:33 pm

should be ‘do not’ in para 2.

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