How do you answer a family member who challenges your faith? Here we present our responses to a skeptical grandmother’s national radio broadcast.
by David Catchpoole
A blogger on the Atheist Foundation of Australia website1 has drawn attention to a recent radio program on Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC:
Re: Media Watch-various relevant articles in the media
This is cool. And she is in Brisbane. A radio national program. Listen or transcript, it’s all good. And disturbing.
Mildred Studders, a grandmother from Brisbane, hoping to encourage her grandchildren to think for themselves, posed several questions to them by email. The replies she got were extremely surprising and worrying.
Clicking on the “grandmother confronts creationist beliefs” link reveals it was the Ockham’s Razor broadcast which went to air on the morning of 22 July 2012,2 a Sunday, when the vast majority of Christians in Australia would have been attending church.
This Radio National program is hosted by long-time atheopathic anti-creationist Robyn Williams, who has on several occasions used the weekly 15-minute timeslot as an opportunity to give taxpayer-funded airtime to people with an anti-creationist axe to grind.
He introduces the grandmother’s monologue with the question “What do you do when someone persistently gets the science wrong, not by mistake, but through wilful self-deception?” and concludes his intro with: “Should we worry about our credulous neighbours, or family? Well, Mildred Studders does. When I asked her how she should be described, she said simply ‘as a grandmother who lives in Brisbane’.”
We reproduce below the Mildred Studders transcript, in its entirety, in red font, with our own responses interspersed.
Mildred Studders: Do you know how old the earth is? Young Michael says it is a bit over 6,000 years. That’s what he was taught at school. He is the youngest of my eight grandchildren. None of them say he is very wrong. Three went to his Christian College, five to other schools. All are involved with modern churches.
Their three sets of parents are not bothered by such dodgy science, so I stepped in. I hoped to encourage them to think for themselves without direct attack on their teachers. However, I did upset at least one for a while. I asked them questions by email. It took a year—not everyone answered every time. Here are things I found out.
Some thought everything started as much as 10,000 years ago, to three it doesn’t matter. Most thought the length of a creation day was 24 hours as we know it. They told me the earth appeared first, then water, land and plants. After that came sun, moon and stars….
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