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Kevin Jacobson

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I'm a little nervous about giving my atheism speech at school.

My writing teacher has given my class the assignment of writing a persuasive essay. Most people chose quite petty subjects to write on, but I decided to write about something that neither I or anyone else has ever written about. I'm going to give a speech on the the truth of science and atheism.

I believe I have very convincing coherence and evidence in my essay, but I'm extremely nervous on how people are going to handle it. I've already told a few people on what I'm writing on and both of them seemed a little offended and enraged. I'm only an eighth grader and so are my class mates. They might not fully comprehend my essay and just be extremely mad at me. Any suggestions on how to cope with this nervousness?
PS:My teacher already approved of my subject.

Topics: education
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    Oct 14 2012: Kevin,

    I've followed this topic since it started, refraining from comment until now. There has been very good advice, from both "sides", already. Keep in mind the type of advice you get will depend on the individual's already-formed beliefs...do THEY think science or religion is right? That said....

    I feel I have to point out one major discrepancy in your topic narrative. You stated, "...but I decided to write about something that neither I or anyone else has ever written about. I'm going to give a speech on the the truth of science and atheism." Where on Earth did you draw that conclusion from? Do you honestly believe NO ONE else has ever written or given a speech about the conflicts between science and religion? You are entering one of the major "conflicts" that exist in the history of Mankind, and it has been conducted in both written and spoken words uncountable times in the past.

    I want to address one other thing for you to consider. The TITLE of your topic is, "I'm a little NERVOUS....". Well, you should be. Reason? Because history shows that BOTH sides can get MORE than just "...extremely mad at (you)". Some people on BOTH sides of the issue will ACT OUT on their beliefs, including taking violent actions against the opposition. So yes...you SHOULD be nervous about it, if nothing more than considering your own personal safety.

    You have to decide whether the risks of giving your speech are worth the possible consequences you may suffer from it. Regardless of how "right" you (or anyone) may think or feel about your (their) position, you will not convince everyone else to join your side. And some of those you can't convince may be physically dangerous to you.

    How "desperate" are you to try to convince everybody else of your position? Are the risks associated with it worth it to you at your age and life position at this time? I applaud your motivation to try to "change the world", but just be very cautious about how you go about it.
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      Oct 14 2012: Rick,
      Kevin was talking about what the other kids were doing, and what was done in his school or class....that is the impression I got when he wrote it's never been done before. He's bright enough to know this has been addressed before, but perhaps not in his school. As I recall, Kevin has been in several conversations here on TED regarding this topic.
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        Oct 14 2012: True. Though I haven't been on TED very much lately. At least not since the end of summer vacation. School keeps me pretty occupied.
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          Oct 15 2012: OK, that's what I was hoping you meant about the never being done before.

          I will offer one other piece of advice. As you are probably already aware (since your teacher gave you a "persuade" type of speech assignment), there are 4 basic types of speeches and reasons to give them: to inform, to instruct, to entertain, and to persuade.

          The definition of persuade is:

          1.Cause (someone) to do something through reasoning or argument.
          2.Cause (someone) to believe something, esp. after a sustained effort; convince.

          Please note that a persuasive speech is NOT designed to "teach" (instruct) TRUTH about anything.

          Your topic indicates that you are going to try to "persuade" other people to "believe" more in Aetheistic views than Theist views. And you state you are going to use "science facts" to try to "prove" aetheism is the "true" view of things.

          Can't be done. Science has not proven the non-existance of a Deity anymore than religion has proved the existance of one.

          If you present your "persuasion" speech as an "I'm right and everybody else is wrong" presentation, you are wrong to begin with. Don't try to cram those scientific "facts" down their throats, because those "facts" have done NOTHING to prove the non-existance of a deity.

          And because of that, look at the two definitions of "persuade" again.

          Definition #1 would cause anyone USING reasoning to reason that science has not proven the non-existance of a deity. So there is no "truth" to any claim you might make that science proved the non-existance of one.

          Definition #2 means that if you manage to make someone BELIEVE that science has proven the non-existance of a deity, then you have made them believe something that has NOT been proven by science at all.

          Just remember, you are trying to PERSUADE, not teach "Truth". Your topic states, "I'm going to give a speech on the TRUTH of science and atheism."

          No you aren't. There is no "truth" concerning atheism. Science does not disprove a deity's existance.
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          Oct 15 2012: (Added to above reply)

          You can use you scientific facts to disprove ONLY some of the reasons used by theists to try to prove the existance of their deity. For instance, science proved that the Earth was not the center of the universe with everything else revolving around it. But THAT still does not disprove the existance of a deity itself.

          So use your "science facts" carefully. But understand, even if you combine ALL your science facts, they still do not disprove a deity exists. They may disprove reasons historically given by theists to support a deity's existance, but that is all they will "prove" as far as "truth" is concerned.

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