Aron Ra is a well know atheist activist, former president of the Atheist Alliance of America, and the host of the Ra-Men Podcast. He is also the former Texas state-director of American Atheists, an expert on evolution and phylogeny, and one of the fiercest debater against creationists.
I was invited on Episode 91 of the Ra-Men to talk about my book The Covenant. The discussion lasted nearly 80 minutes! At first, I was intimidated by such a prominent “public figure”, but I quickly found myself in the presence of the most generous, knowledgeable and kind person. What a treat!
When something I said backfired…
The discussion was fluid and positive comments started pouring in as soon as the video was released. Unfortunately, at some point during the interview, I did say something that kinda backfired on me. Indeed, while discussing the reception of my work among scholars, I pointed to the Non-Sequitur Peer Review event that took place on YouTube a few weeks ago and said (@ 35:40): “It was good in the sense that they couldn’t find any flaws. They did not necessarily buy into the hypothesis, but they couldn’t find anything wrong with it.” In retrospect, I should have said that “they did not offer a decisive rebuttal.” As a result of a poor choice of words, I could have misled some into believing that these scholars (@digi_hammurabi and Dr. Maggie Bryson) did not take issue with my work, which isn’t the case.
While the disagreement is real, I feel that the issue has more to do with my interpretation of the data than the data itself. In other words, we disagree on the the interpretation I am making of the data. This is an important distinction, as it is a fundamental claim of my work that a new perspective must be adopted in order to fully appreciate it.
There is no doubt that, taken individually, virtually all of the arguments I am making can be challenged. After all, scholars already have developed good explanations for the data we have. It is therefore only natural that they would view the perspective they are most intimately familiar with as the “better one”.
This is simply a bias we are all culprit of. Popper has written extensively on the immense challenge associated with the introduction of a new paradigm. Unfortunately, it is not realistic for me to expect that any scholar would devote the amount of time required to properly assess and fact check a research that appears “flawed” in their eyes.
I nevertheless believe that there is hope as many readers, who never had to embrace the current academic paradigm, are fascinated by the peculiar way in which the hypothesis of a secular covenant offers an amazingly efficient solution to an otherwise complex problem; and are quick to recognize that such results could hardly be explained by sheer coincidence.
Thankfully, I believe we’ve been able to clear things up and we are talking again. This is important to me, as I have the utmost respect for these scholars. I have also learned my lesson and will be more careful when representing someone else’s view in the future… I guess that, for the time being, we can just agree to disagree.
Special thanks to Kevin Francis from the Left At The Valley podcast for facilitating this connection!