Thought of the day – I was in a fruitless debate with a theist on youtube and was trying to explain demonstrable repeatable evidence and used the example of terminal velocity. I should not bother with this endeavor, no minds are changed and usually it ends with the theist damning me to hell. But having been fortunate to watch and listen to a number of persuasive and theatrical preachers in my youthful religious phase I am partial to a good sermon well preached. I like the craft of it, the showmanship, even if I believe none of it. Billy Graham was a pretty good preacher, not fire and brimstone, not hard preaching, but thoughtful and eloquent, he made you think. There was a pure showman I liked as well, Billy Sunday, he would call out the devil and reproach him from the pulpit, great theater.
So I listen to a sermon now and again on youtube and comment sometimes. Usually I point out significant deviations from the christian bible, glaring discrepancies I recall from my youth. Just about any position taken by a modern american christian can be shown to be contrary to some bible verse. I comment not because I am under the illusion that I can change minds but that someone on the fence about religion can understand the thought process of someone who does not believe, to show perspective. Religion as a function of a society I am in favor of, a church can be a great social unifier, a place of comfort, and a skilled pastor can be a source of help navigating life, can comfort those in need, that job is more than just preaching. These youtube yahoos though, I would not see a fence sitter get caught up in a fringe group and give away a significant portion of their life to a charlatan or cult-like group. Life is too short give up time that you can’t get back. I try to be a rational voice in the craziness.
Lots of times though, when someone responds to one of my comments they try to make their point by making grandiose claims for which there is no demonstrable repeatable evidence. I always ask them for evidence and they often have no idea what I am saying. Paul in the New Testament writes about this in Hebrews 11 with the famous verse, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Paul would not have to have said that except someone asked for evidence. It seems even then people were demanding evidence for the claims of christianity.
But these youtube theists are not usually schooled in scientific evidence so I often use terminal velocity as an example of the sort of demonstrable repeatable evidence I am looking for. I tell them,
“if you drop an object in the air, gravity will pull it downward towards earth, accelerating until the air resistance against the shape and density of the object stops the acceleration, and the object will reach it’s greatest speed. That is called Terminal Velocity. Every time you drop an object it will accelerate until it reaches terminal velocity or until it hits the earth.”
I get replies that vary but are generally of two types, the earth or universe is evidence of a creator, and I know the truth and am a god denier and am headed for hell. I tell them the universe is evidence of itself and nothing else, and there is nothing to demonstrate a heaven or a hell exists. Generally though, when I consistently point out and deny unsupported claims I get told I am evil and going to hell. I get it, I felt a similar thing towards unbelievers at a point in my life. Truth is relative and maybe not even a real thing.
Again, I don’t change minds, but hopefully I can help an undecided come to a more rational conclusion. Anyway, I used the terminal velocity description today and decided to check my work and read the wiki article about it. I came across this little nugget of information that has no use to me at all, in my life now, or in any point in my past, or in my foreseeable future.
“To the mouse and any smaller animal [gravity] presents practically no dangers. You can drop a mouse down a thousand-yard mine shaft; and, on arriving at the bottom, it gets a slight shock and walks away. A rat is killed, a man is broken, a horse splashes. For the resistance presented to movement by the air is proportional to the surface of the moving object. Divide an animal’s length, breadth, and height each by ten; its weight is reduced to a thousandth, but its surface only to a hundredth. So the resistance to falling in the case of the small animal is relatively ten times greater than the driving force.”
There you have it, mice do not fear gravity.