Thursday, January 13, 2011

I Could Have Never Known

Well, that was exciting!  For any of you who missed it, the past three days of my life have been jam-packed. Honestly, I’m still a bit overwhelmed. I started Monday by checking my blog stats and was 2 views away from 1000. Having been averaging about 50-60 hits a day, I was thrilled and proud of what I had accomplished.  I planned on celebrating later by writing a 'thank you post' to all my readers, whether they offered support, criticism, or both. I was excited about breaking the big 1000, but what was about to ensue blew my mind; I could have never known. 

I went through a normal day of classes…kinda. I left my mac in my room as motivation to pay attention in physics, not that it really worked. The rest of the day was filled with more classes, an apartment visit, and a great evening discussion with the UC Provost and UC Dean of Graduate Studies about various topics from science education, theology, and synthetic biology. Pretty cool, right?!  It was wonderful to have an open and friendly discussion about ‘The Big Questions’ of life even though, for the most part, we cordially disagree. I’ll remember this meeting for a long time, as it was very encouraging, enlightening, and the direct predecessor to the most exciting night of my life thus far.

Arriving back at my dorm, I hopped on my computer for the first time since morning. While surfing the web as usual I came across my blog stats, did a double take, and literally about passed out! An unprecedented 800 page views and counting for the day! What the hell happened!? Ken Ham happened. After reading a few of the many new comments, I was directed to Ken Ham’s facebook page.

For those of you who don’t know, Ken Ham is the founder of Answers In Genesis and builder of The Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky. He is also working on a new Noah’s Ark Exhibit that will attract 1000s of children and their families from all around. From my perspective, Ken Ham is one of the greatest con men and deceivers alive, as he is one of the largest advocates of the intelligent design movement- a group solely devoted to teaching a literal view of the Bible and a 6-day creation of the universe by the Christian-Judeo god.

So why did he post my blog to his facebook? Well, for one, we know each other. As I’ve mentioned before, whenever he was in the states Ham attended the same Baptist church as I did while growing. He was a celebrity, a hero; always giving guest lectures on ‘creation science’ at my school and church. Furthermore, Ham decided to make a demonstration of my deconversion story as the terribly sad path a great number of my generation is taking- the path away from God.  A trend he has written a book about called Already Gone. However, I couldn’t have cared less what Ham thought of my deconversion; I was getting hundreds of blog hits! Any publicity is good publicity, right? And as it unfolds, that statement holds true. Ham merely sparked the flame, and for that I owe him.

Fortunately, I didn’t take the opportunity for granted. I immediately tweeted all of my favorite skeptic and atheist youtubers and bloggers with the news. PZ Meyers retweeted:

Congratulations! You made Ken Ham cry! RT @BMEJake: KEN HAM Put a link to my blog on his twitter and facebook!

as did some other big name tweeters. The blog views continued rushing in and I soon became completely and totally overwhelmed, all I could do was laugh and pace around my room with excitement. That is, until I caught wind of the comments on Ken Ham’s post put forth by his groupies. As if my rejection of Christianity wasn’t hard enough on my parents, many of Ham’s minions blamed them for my deconversion, causing them much undeserved pain and upsetting them greatly. I had intentionally written a beautiful disclosure to my parents to ward off any flack they might receive in the crossfire. I know my deconversion wasn’t their fault, but try telling that to someone who’s hero (Ken Ham) just announced all over the web that their firstborn is an example of a degenerate trend in society. I know it hurt(s), but there was nothing I could do but reassure my undying love for them. Rarely have I felt more helpless than when my actions or words cause my parents unintended and unwarranted pain.

 All in all, I have met many great people throughout the past few days. Much of the conversation has been constructive, and that which hasn’t only further drives my passion for science education. I’m amazed at how many people don’t comprehend the basic concepts of biological evolution and build mountains of assumptions and arguments off a false premise. The same goes for atheism. I received many comments accusing me a joining a ‘group of hate.’ The truth is I was never more hateful than when I was a Christian. I hated gays. I hated evolutionist. I hated liberals. I was racist. I even hated other Christians. I harbored more anger throughout high school than two men should in their entire lives. My peers may confirm this if they like. However, I do know that not all Christians are hateful, and a lot of my anger was due to the wretched environment I was caged in for so long. So, please, don’t throw that comment at me. I don’t think all of Christianity is a petri dish for contempt; some Christians are very capable of compassion and respect. I thank and commend those of you.

 While wrapping this post up I’d like to give a special thanks to PZ Meyers and Ken Ham (lulz) for the traffic flow. PZ has long been one of my heroes and the simple retweet was an incredible honor. To everyone that spread my blog, THANK YOU! Overall, I was graced with over 2000 page views this week and broke 3000 all-time page views this morning. I thank each and every one of you for taking the time to read, whether you support me or not. I’m really looking forward to getting more involved in this niche of a community and would appreciate any help you can throw my way. If you have blog topic suggestions, I would love to take them in for consideration. Also, if anyone is good with blog design, I could really use some guidance, as I’m totally lost when it comes to html.

You will be noticing some changes to my blog over the next few hours/days. I have decided to change my blog name from The World As I See It, a complete rip off Einstein’s book (also the first science-related book I ever read),  to From Giants’ Shoulders. I pulled this title from my favorite Isaac Newton quote: “If I have seen any further it is only by standing on the shoulders of Giants” This quote means a lot to me as I feel it sums up the essence of science and knowledge. We are all building off of someone else’s ideas. It is the ‘Giants’ we owe so much to. I’m humbled every time I see this quote as I’m reminded that I could never have arrived at this stage of my life if it weren’t for the better men, women, scientist, philosophers, and truth-seekers before me.

Thank you all so much.

With love and respect,



  1. You'll roast in hell for this.

    J/k! Congrats!

  2. You should thank Ken Ham for noting your Blog.
    He put it on the map.

    My advice is, don't let it get to your head. It may be too late. BTW, I been blogging for years and got thousands of responses on many of my posts... It's not that big a deal.

  3. I have to ask once again: smurfs?

  4. You know, if I cited a cartoon for kick-starting my transition from hardcore atheist to fundamentalist Baptist, people like you would justifiably laugh at me.

  5. Hi Jake, Years ago I exchanged a letter or two with Ken Ham. Sheesh, I was only a few years out of young-earth creationism when I did so. In another interesting "Answers in Genesis" related tale, I once sent some geologists' reports to a young earth creationist college student in Australia who read them and deconverted as a result. He was amazed at the lies that Answers in Genesis had been feeding him concerning the Green River Formation and its millions of varves. The fish kills are in specific regions of the formation and at specific levels. The evidence of water fowl and mammal tracks around the edges of the ancient fossil lake, along with the water fowl fossilized nests and eggs lying along specific shore regions also slam dunked it for him. Ancient fossilized lakes. Millions of varves. Also check out my chapter published in 2010 on "The Cosmology of the Bible" to help clear up some more creationist lies. That chapter can be found in the book, The Christian Delusion.

    Ed Babinski

  6. Hi Jake,

    Just recently heard about your blog, and looking forwad to being a regular reader. I've added you to my blog list:

    Glad to see that you to share a contempt of Ken Ham. ; )

  7. I wouldn't be so quick to latch on to science as a replacement for religion (not saying this is exactly what you are doing) because it isn't. I de-converted about a year and a half ago, but I have come to realize that not all religion is completely horrible. There are lots and lots of Christians out there who are respectful of atheists and don't necessarily want to convert. They enjoy talking about things but they aren't like the fundamentalists (James McGrath for one: I feel PZ Myers is a terrible example of how an atheist should act. His way of going about things is acidic and uncaring. For me personally I am very careful to consider different information. Dawkins, Harris etc. were influential in my de-conversion, but on further reflection I have realized that they too are not good at philosophy nor offer good reasons for total disbelief. Their aim is after the fundies, which I fully support. Don't let your warranted attacks against the fundies get in the way of understanding the more liberal theologies (much of which I have come to appreciate, even though I still ultimately disagree with it). Remember that Ken Ham is so totally off his rocker (I met him once at a homeschool conference) that his theology also stinks. That is, he is wrong about evolution and atheism being linked. Don't give him a reason to be correct in that area! I think we as atheists should make it clear to the believer that they shouldn't necessarily de-converted, but that they should embrace the reality of evolution. I'm reading Ken Miller's (a Catholic) "Finding Darwin's God". It's good stuff..

  8. Congrats for having the courage to make an unpopular stand.

    As for this:
    As if my rejection of Christianity wasn’t hard enough on my parents, many of Ham’s minions blamed them for my deconversion, causing them much undeserved pain and upsetting them greatly. I had intentionally written a beautiful disclosure to my parents to ward off any flack they might receive in the crossfire. I know my deconversion wasn’t their fault, but try telling that to someone who’s hero (Ken Ham) just announced all over the web that their firstborn is an example of a degenerate trend in society.

    They don't want to think that the facts don't match up; they want to blame the "sinner's nature" or something like that.

    Don't ever let Ham or those minions of his ever give your parents grief! Good idea to head that kind of thing off at the pass like that.

    That's what people like Ham and co. want to do...I believe that it's a pressure tactic (being publically "made an example of") as well as "scapegoating" your parents. I'm sure your parents will see that your morals, your love for them, etc will not have changed. That may help.

    If you want, I can maybe give a link or two to some sites where I hang out with other skeptics.

  9. Thanks for the kind words Reynold. Would love some of those links :)

  10. Ok, let's see:

    We are Smrt boards. You might like this first one better; they've got sections of the forum dedicated to dealing with particular fundies (AIG, Discovery Institute, ICR, Ray Comfort, etc). Very non-theistic.

    Actually, both are, really.

    Skeptic Friends allows theists to post, as does the first site, though it's only on this site that they actually bother to show up.

  11. Brother it is quite assuring to see younger folks using rational thought to navigate their lives than the superstitious garble that has been fed to humanity since the beginning of civilization. I will frequent your blog and am looking forward to your life journey.