John Walker's Electronic House

Rum Doings Episode 194: National Cream Tea Day

by on Jun.26, 2015, under Rum Doings

In our 194th ever Rum Doings, our topic is, if you can keep your head while all around you are losing theirs, are you a member of ISIS?

On National Cream Tea Day we bring you news of Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm – a truly barking mad creationist zoo that actually exists. We then discuss the very nature of existence, and then how people pray wrong. We recall the race for the human genome, lament the faults of the wax crayon, and Nick does his amazing impression of John.

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10 Comments for this entry

  • Alec

    You forgot to include the imgur gallery in the show notes!

  • T

    Right, John, enough’s enough. I’ve listened to RD since about episode 30. That’s years of listening. I’ve always known you were a Christian, but for what reason I cannot even begin to fathom. You’re a deeply intelligent person, as is Nick, but I can’t figure out why you’re a Christian. You openly mock Creationist world views and yet you subscribe to a Christian philosophy and attend sermons and so forth. It makes no sense.

    Usually one is a creationist because they either had it indoctrinated into them as a child, or as an adult they feel the need to be comforted by an imaginary and all powerful being. You clearly are too smart for the latter. You know there is no such thing as a celestial bearded all loving sky-god. So why do you call yourself a Christian. Why? What reason do you have for attaching yourself to this when it’s clearly not for any of the above reasons?

    You clearly know that the god of Abraham is just one minor god in a colossal pantheon of gods far older than the Christian god. You know that the god you worship is the god of your own culture and that it’s all relative to your upbringing. You even support the idea of evolution. I could go on.

    You do not sound like a Christian at all. So why do you call yourself a Christian? Don’t take this as a hostile message. I’m just genuinely intrigued as to why this is the case.

  • Jambe

    Evolution-talk: dinos are actually reptiles although reptilia isn’t a monophyletic group (i.e. it excludes some descendants of the first ancestor of the group, namely mammals and birds).

    This paraphyletic nature of reptilia might lead some people to be confused by the fact that, for instance, crocodilians are more closely related to birds than to other extant reptiles (in a “but birds aren’t even reptiles!” sort of way).

  • John Walker

    Hello T. Gosh, what an awful lot of assumptions you make, based on your imaginary version of me.

    First of all, I do believe there is a God (beard optional). I don’t believe in the ludicrous claims of creationists, because they’re demonstrably nonsense, and utterly unbiblical. Very few Christians would describe themselves as creationists, and the vast majority that I know fully accept evolution.

    You seem to have conflated creationism with all of Christianity, which is odd, certainly. But it’s even more odd to repeatedly declare that I don’t believe in God, without any evidence or reason to say so. Evolution is in no way contrary to Christianity (and in fact, the Genesis mythological account of creation is remarkably accurate to modern evolutionary understanding!)

    Out of interest, what *do* Christians sound like?

  • Jambe

    @T: if you find John’s views strange, you should try John Shelby Spong. They’re both mildly frustrating but also really interesting and vastly preferable to most self-identified Christians.

    @John, do you consider yourself a humanist?

    Do you think God is gendered?

    I’m also curious as to whether you apply any sort of relativism to God. That is, do you think your conception of God is approximate and that the entity therefore appears differently to other people? Could your God be an aspect of another person’s different notional Yahweh which is an aspect of other peoples’ Hindu pantheon etc?

    I doubt this is what you think, but this view is common among many center-left and progressive types in the Midwest. I figure it’s because of two conflicting issues here:

    1) pushback against theological exceptionalism in liberal Christianity (i.e. against “we have the right deity/system and others have the wrong one”)

    2) the lingering cachet of Christianity remains stronger here than on the coasts and thus outright agnosticism/atheism is harder to adopt

  • Callan

    This episode was very good. The podcast continues to make me wonder why some of the soundest political analysis I happen to imbibe is from two people laughing about giving cream tea to the Rupert Murdochs (I use the name to refer to an imaginary friend of mine of a particular sexual persuasion and not any other figure) of the world.

    T: I think a very worthwhile philosophical activity is to steel man ( an opponent’s position. If you reduce all tories to hateful, money grabbing, toffs and all christians to far right wing, american nut jobs then you end up with a facile view of the world in which you are merely fighting good and everyone else is merely evil (this is not to say that one should be fooled by the fallacy of the false compromise, nor that one should not have firmly held convictions, nor that one should fall for the fallacy of consensus). Even if it is ultimately true that a person is wrong, as John Stuart Mill argued it is better to have the best arguments for that person’s conviction. As such it is better to look to the arguments of thoughtful, informed, intelligent christians (like John) and not just believe that all christians are thickos.

  • MadZab

    @T: Most Christians in Europe do not believe in creationism. That stream of religious nuttery was (probably rightfully) one of the reasons a lot of people fled to the Americas for being prosecuted. I personally believe in God and also in Jesus but that doesn’t contradict the big bang or physics or the age of the universe.

  • Sigh

    John sure can mock creationists yet he is no better himself. John allows religious extremists because his cuddly group of liberal Christians perpetuate the idea that faith is a virtue. Faith is not a virtue. Here’s how John operates:

    1. John was born into a Country in which Christianity is the main religion. What a surprise he’s a christian and not a Hindu.
    2. Most likely his family were believers of some sort.
    3. Bla bla bla, childhood indoctrination, it’s always the same.
    4. John then grew up and started to learn about evolution.
    5. But wait, that’s not what Mummy/Daddy taught me. I need to incorporate my belief in God into what I know to be the more rational arguments.
    6. Hello, I am John and I believe that evolution is probably correct but because we don’t know everything and because I like to feel all good and love thy neighbour it was god who that started evolution because, as John puts it, why wouldn’t god be capable of complex science?

    As a side note, I’d like to point out that John thought it was sad that Richard Dawkins was reduced to the argument ‘Athiests just believe in one God less than Christians’ It’s not sad, it’s a perfectly reasonable statement that demonstrates how many gods there have been and how eventually christianity will die.

  • John Walker

    Hi Sigh! You seem fun!

    It’s hard to know how to respond to your furious screed because it’s mostly nonsense, so let’s instead see if we can learn about the folly of making arguments based on things you’ve imagined.

    My father’s a retired dentist, my mother a retired biology teacher – oddly enough, both being scientists, they didn’t “indoctrinate” me into believing unscientific rubbish like creationism. Instead they taught me about evolution.

    What you did was imagine a version of my life that didn’t happen, and then based your argument on the thing you made up. This has the net result of making you look stupid. A way to have avoided looking stupid would have been to ask me questions about what my parents believed and taught me. Then, with this information in your grip, you could have formed opinions or drawn conclusions based in reality.

    However, even ignoring this, I’m lost as to how your numerical list achieves your aim of proving that I “allow religious extremists”! I allow extremism because I accept evolution without abandoning my belief in God? You’re going to have to add a few more entries to your list before that’s going to add up for me.

    I’m afraid you’ve also managed to ignore both what I said, AND Dawkins! The line is, Christians have already rejected 99% of gods, they only have one to go before they reach atheism. Meanwhile, and not related to that, I’ve argued that it’s sad that a brilliant evolutionary biologist like Dawkins is such a terrible atheist, and does such harm to those who would wish to advocate it.

    Better luck next time.

  • Sigh

    You perpetuate religious extremists by calling yourself Christian which means you therefore have some amount of faith in your life. Faith is not a virtue and it’s not something any society should endorse. Faith is just hoping for something or believing in something with no evidence. Faith is not something we should protect or encourage. This particular point has nothing to do with evolution. If people like you continue believing then extremists will always be around because, ‘oh just remember, faith isn’t just for the crazy ones, it can be good as well’ No it can’t. It’s fake. It’s lying. There’s nothing more to be said on that.

    Okay, so your parents didn’t teach you to believe. But did they consider themselves Christian even when telling you about evolution? Even if they didn’t explicitly sit you down and tell you to believe, and they are in some way or another Christians, then something must have rubbed off on you. If not, and there is no religion in your family, then why do you believe without evidence when you clearly demand it for other things? What is it that made you turn to the opposite of logic. I don’t believe you’ve ever said, even in your comment to T why it is you believe.

    I sincerely hope you didn’t just pick up the bible and think to yourself, ‘well these stories are obviously metaphors but they do sound a bit like what science tells us if you change it a bit’

    Seriously, what gives you such a personal connection with god? I had a moment there of sadness as I think I remember you saying you believe you had a genuine encounter with god or an angel, or something. Please no.

    How apposite. A tweet 30 mins ago from the worst man on earth. ‘Thank you for not taking your holy book seriously. Now, why not take the next honest step and give up your religion altogether?’