I’m not a skeptic by trade. I’m a freelance writer. A fair amount of my time this past decade was spent writing advertising, PR, and promotions. So, when I heard that Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis shared my little blog post with his Facebook readers, I couldn’t help but take a peek. (Thanks for the heads up, reader Dave Godfrey.) And, I’ve got to tell you, the man’s a natural born advertiser. Here’s what he wrote:
Skeptics are obsessed with AiG! This skeptic discusses our upcoming Mega conference beginning this coming Monday and the skeptic’s blog is a reminder that:
I’m obsessed? I didn’t realize that. I found an interesting website (I thought the name of the conference was amusing) and shared my thoughts. I guess that counts as an obsession. In advertising terms, he’s begun building an imaginary threat, a common enemy.
1. 2 Peter tells us that those who reject creation and the Flood are ‘willingly ignorant’ or ‘choose to disbelieve’–the just refuse to believe–they deliberately reject the truth.
2. That they have no real foundation for their anti-God worldview except that they deliberately shake their fist at God–so they have to mock and suggest ways to undermine the conference.
Well, I’ll be darned. I guess Mr. Ham knows me better than I know myself. I can’t say I’ve ever “shook my fist” at anything. As for his other comments, I’d appreciate some proof that I’m “willingly ignorant” or that I’ve ever chosen to “disbelieve.” Again, he’s expanding his straw-man theme here.
Truth be told, I’m not trying to “undermine the conference,” I simply noticed it, reported its existence, and jotted a few of my thoughts on the subject.
Now we get to the core of his “let’s build a common enemy” theme:
This blogger states about our conference:
“Adults are welcome. So are married couples and families. I live in Minnesota so I’m assuming all our newly married same-sex couples will be more than welcome at the “married couple” rate. I think we all should go. If a bumch of skeptics showed up, what could possibly go wrong?”
I got quoted! That’s the good news. The not as great news? He makes it sound like I’m planning some sort of protest where I and a group of same sex married couples will descend upon his event and… and… I don’t know… listen?
Nah. I’ve got other things to do.
But Mr. Ham has built a fabulous imaginary threat to ignite his base and drum up free publicity for his event. Plus, he’s stirred the support from his fan base. From reading the comments on his post, I get the distinct impression his readers find my little post threatening.
He closes with this:
It’s still not too late to join the hundreds of families coming to the Mega conference next week:
Ah, the classic call to action.
This is a fine piece of advertising. He begins with an incredible attention getter (a skeptic at a d-rated blog is attacking us!), he builds on this skewed assumption (she and her hoard of same sex couples are out to disrupt our conference!), provides proof (an actual quote from her post!), and finishes with a clear call to action (attend my conference).
I’m actually impressed. Kudos, Mr. Ham, on a fine piece of advertising.
P.S. If you’re an AiG supporter visiting this post, you may find my interview with Terry Mortenson of AiG interesting. I met him when he was in Minnesota and rather enjoyed asking him and evolutionary biologist PZ Myers the same questions so readers could compare and contrast their responses. Terry was a very nice person and it was a pleasure to interview him.