Browsing through some atheist and theist websites recently, it’s evident that theistic educational courses are big business. Many of the sites I visit offer contextual advertising, which automatically picks up on key words, phrases and themes within a site and offers visitors advertisements they may actually be interested in. This blog carries such advertisements, provided by Google. It’s become difficult to ignore the number of pro-theist ads appearing all these sites, most of which are atheist orientated. Some of the promises they make include “a riddle no atheist can solve”, the “truth behind the origin of the universe” and other equally intriguing promises.
Temptation got the better of me, so I followed some of the links to see what lies through the rabbit hole.
Selecting the Right Ad
I choose to follow the ad highlighted in the image at the beginning of this post. It appears to be the most prominent ad on almost all the sites that carry this advertising, which suggests they have fronted some serious money for their campaign. Upon further investigation, you discover that it’s a free five day course that will help you “Learn the secrets of the universe”. Wow, the secrets of the universe in five convenient emails! It takes makes most people years just to scratch the surface.
So I can take the hit for you, I signed up for the course (using a disposable email address, of course), so I can report on the inevitable revelations contained within.
For the purpose of disclosure, I want to make it clear that i followed an ad naturally on a different website, not my own.
Over the next few days I’ll respond to the emails I get. I’m genuinely intrigued, I have no idea what golden nuggets of information are heading my way. I’ve seen similar courses before, and I’ve heard that they prey on misinformation and rely on the fact that the audience sign up expecting to be convinced. If people want to have their faith confirmed, validated, then that’s what they’ll get out of the course.
I’m heading in as a sceptic. Am I open to being convinced of something I do not currently believe? Absolutely. But I will take convincing. I want to make it clear that I am not heading into this brief experiment with the aim of debunking the claims that will be made, I’m going in hoping to find out more. So what can I look forward to?
Day 1 – The mistake Einstein later called “the biggest blunder of my career” – and a dangerous assumption that nearly blinded him to the greatest discovery of the 20th century.
Day 2 – Bird droppings on my telescope” – a strange piece of radio data that was almost attributed to… well, birds – and how this Nobel Prize-winning experiment now shapes our understanding of time itself.
Day 3 – How “one extra atom” at the birth of the universe could have wiped out entire galaxies, or even the whole cosmos.
Day 4 – Тhe Atheist’s Riddle: So simple, any child can understand; so complex, no atheist can solve it.
Day 5 – Тhe Big Bang and new implications for science, philosophy, and beliefs about God.
Fantastic, let’s get going!