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Sep 04 2011

Open Thread for show #725

Matt and me (Tracie) today. Since it’s just an hour, informal conversation and some calls, I’m sure.

Also, just to let you know there’s now an unofficial fan page for a virtual after show dinner, but it’s also running during the show if you want to stop by it:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Atheist-Experience-virtual-After-Show-Dinner/136839649738723

Days when I’m not cohosting, and not at the dinner in Austin, I do go and show support there. Just letting others know it’s out there as well.

Enjoy!

49 comments

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  1. 1
    JT

    Man, the cognitive dissonance these apologists have regarding their "good" book is severe enough to tear a hole in the spacetime continuum.

  2. 2
    Admin

    Wouldn't it be a better law to write in the bible that a woman is not to be shunned from society if she had been raped? Wouldn't that be a nicer, more moral law for an all-good god to sanction in its holy book?I'm tired of "moral" Christians making excuses for repulsive behaviour.

    1. 2.1
      lolz

      Is this for real Tracie?…omg

  3. 3
    rrpostal

    I can't believe he tried it again. Mike says "Well we could talk about this verse if you want, do you want to?". Of course he wanted to. Actually, you were right in the middle of talking about it. Derp. He actually thinks there is something hidden somewhere between the words that explains away this problem, but he just doesn't remember what it is without looking into it. Furthermore anyone who resorts to claiming god meant a happier nicer version of owning other human beings is a complete toll. I generally dislike these early hang ups, but he had been given plenty of rope. I also am getting tired of people who complain about the hosts asking questions of the callers. It's called a "conversation". Both sides have input and need clarification, and try really hard to understand what the other side is saying. If the caller is a dimwit and bad at making their point, questions are required.

  4. 4
    rrpostal

    What is a "complete toll"? I really wish there was an edit function.

  5. 5
    Admin

    complete toll (noun); 1. the full price of passage, usually over a bridge or across a river 2. the full-length, uninterupted ringing of a bell, esp. a church bell

  6. 6
    Petr Kudláček

    I miss Matt Slick and his TAG. At least "back then" Matt got to engange in an actual argument.Instead we witness shows that are mostly filled up with dimwits who need Tracie (brilliant job by the way) to help them to even be able to identify why exactly it is they're calling.Sigh.

  7. 7
    MAtheist

    wait, are you implying that Matt Slick isn't a dimwit?

  8. 8
    Admin

    Petr, you must realise that this is what most Christians are like. What they get on the show is a representative sample. One might even argue that these Christians are more knowledgeable than average, because they take the time to call an atheist show to defend their beliefs. The average Christian probably can't even list 6 of the 10 commandments.

  9. 9
    Admin

    Average Christian = dimwit who has never even thought about their beliefs

  10. 10
    KKDragonLord

    Next time they should ask him to read a passage, or wait for Matt to read it, and make him clarify the context before putting him on hold and completely demolish him.

  11. 11
    M J Shepherd

    Wasn't expecting the abrupt hang up, but quite honestly I think he deserved a rude awakening of sorts to get across that he's out of his league.

  12. 12
    Terry

    Good advice on finding out if what you arguing about (i.e. evolution, free will, etc.) will change a person's belief in god if it can be conclusively demonstrated. Thanks Tracie!I hope Mike calls back, but don't give him much air time until he addresses the morality dilemma concerning slaves. Mike wants to use the bible as the absolute guide on morality, but how does one determine who has the right interpretation of the bible or who understands the context properly? If it was so easy Christians would all be united under one sect.

  13. 13
    Andrew

    I don't know, I kind of wish Matt would have been more patient and indulged Mike a little more. Instead of launching straight into the rape and slavery issues, he might have let him give his own example as to why the Bible is valuable. As it was, it seemed like he was in a hurry to get rid of him.Also, good or bad moral content, I'd like to hear Mike explain why he thinks the Bible is a divine book.

  14. 14
    Jukka Lattu

    Yeah, I have to say the first caller was making a decent point. Maybe being married was a more practical solution than being made an outcast, at the time. I'm not going to speculate on that further, but Matt was kind of screaming at the guy every time he tried to get a word in, so I'll have to agree that you guys dismissed him a bit too eagerly….And playing the "Shut up, I'm an expert cause I've studied the Bible"-card didn't help much ^^

  15. 15
    JT

    It wasn't a question is dismissal. It's a matter of protocol. The guy kept trying to squirm and weasel his way out of a sticky situation.The point being made was absolutely critical. He's trying to make the point that the Bible is a moral book, and pointing out the slavery/rape issues refutes that point. It renders the rest of his argument moot.Mike either had to adequate counter the refutation, or concede the point in order to continue, otherwise, the conversation is over.

  16. 16
    JT

    Mike had plenty of opportunity.

  17. 17
    Terry

    Is there ever a morally good context to owning a slave? Probably not. However, if a guy killed my family, I'd really have no issues with enslaving him – if I was allowed to – and he was wearing one of those Fallout 3 collars.

  18. 18
    Robert Ronald Wilson

    Yeah I just heard Mike's call and I'm in the "he had plenty of opportunity" camp. Mike was not interested in a conversation, he was interested in imposing his view. Every answer he gave was an excuse, nothing he said replied to Matt and he seemed to think he had some sort of right to direct the conversation his way. He doesn't, his rationalizing immorality and he needed to be called on it, not given the opportunity to say whatever he wanted.

  19. 19
    rrpostal

    Jukka- I think this point could have been more clearly made on air, but what you are suggesting is ludicrous. I get the point that it was an attempt to make the man "take care of" the woman because she would be worthless after he raped her. But don't you think the master of space and time could instead say "hey, a woman is not broken because someone else violently attacks her"? Instead he implicitly asserts that she really is damaged and unworthy. There is no way this is the best moral lesson. Why should we allow a god to teach a standard only a slightly better than the worst possible ideal? You can add things that are not actually written and make assumptions that place things in the best possible light, but it is still hideously immoral. Trying so hard to find a context to excuse this rule, or slavery, sacrifices the morality of the reader. That was the point.

  20. 20
    Jim Boomba

    Tracie was quite right about Jesus being born in the Middle East and not in Australia.Having lived in Oz for forty years I can tell you it would be difficult to find three wise men or a virgin!Just kidding guys:)

  21. 21
    Mikedetroit

    Hi all. This is mike from Detroit. I wrote Matt an email explanation. I want everyone to see what I was going to say! He didn't let me finish my points, it's ok. I will call soon to talk to him about evolution. Here's my email to him:Ok, I can't copy/ paste the email. Maybe Matt will do it for all to see, sorry. Matt, if you do post it, post the whole email :)

  22. 22
    Kazim

    If the email's too long, you could always split it up and post a few paragraphs at a time. Or, start your own blog, post the whole thing, supply a link to your post, and see who's interested. Or, tighten up your argument and repost the essence of it just for this audience.

  23. 23
    Whowhatnow

    I have to absolutely disagree with Tracey on her statements this episode. Even if proving evolution, or the age of the earth will not deconvert a theist it is always, ALWAYS, a conversation worth having. Education is never an endeavor that should be ignored for any reason. Even if you can't shake their faith, you will at the very least made a theist who believes in evolution, or a theist who understands how planets are formed. And small steps lead to great strides, to ignore this is folly.

  24. 24
    Warren Grubb

    I think Tracie's point was just that people enter argument A (e.g. God exists) because of argument B (e.g evolution is wrong), but if they admit that the validity of B has no bearing on their belief in A, then there is no reason to pursue B in attempts to prove A.In other words, something like:God exists because there are no Black swans. Well if I found a black swan, would you stop believing in God? No. Well then why bother arguing it?it's cool to find out there are black swans, but it's annoying to go through the process of proving this (often for the umpteenth time) if it isn't addressing the original argument.

  25. 25
    nude0007

    Mike was being absurd. There is NO context where slavery is good or even just, or morally neutral, or anything but ridiculous and wrong. The fact that he can't see that is utterly amazing. I would have thought you couldn't find an American who would think slavery is ok for ANY reason. Guess I am still naive about some things.

  26. 26
    JT

    It's because he's somehow warped, what would otherwise be virtually identical to American slavery, into a version in his mind where a slave is a person who's hand-fed M&Ms and given massages.So it's not even bad to begin with, so no context is needed to make it good.

  27. 27
    Terry

    Mikedetroit said… "…it's ok. I will call soon to talk to him about evolution."Trying to change the subject?

  28. 28
    JT

    To tell you the truth, I've love to hear what "moral slavery" would consist of.

  29. 29
    School Master

    What's wrong Mike? Can't answer Matt/Tracie's simple "yes or no" question that you have to change the subject?

  30. 30
    John K.

    @JTThis is kind of a stretch, but incarceration for heinous crimes could be considered a form of enslavement. People unfit for normal society might be made to serve it while being removed from it, something like slaves of the state. I'll admit that the personal ownership component is a rather big omission in my model, though. I can't think of any type of moral ownership (buying, selling and trading) of another person, and perhaps my model cannot be considered slavery in that regard. Not that this would vindicate the bible at all. You cannot account for beating someone as long as they don't die too soon being OK, and the Bible only seems to distinguish between Jews and non-Jews for enslaving, not any sort of conduct."Moral slavery" is an interesting idea, so I just wanted to take a crack at it.

  31. 31
    Terry

    What about a guy like Anders Behring Breivik? Who would shed a tear if he was made to be a slave? I think slavery might be an alternative to capital punishment, provided it could be properly controlled.

  32. 32
    Felipe Shide

    No, man. Human beings regarded as property is not OK and wouldn't be OK in any context, with anyone.

  33. 33
    Terry

    Why should all humans be granted the same basic rights? Seriously. We're all just animals after all. On whose authority were these rights granted? I never got to vote on it. I once believed that God would sort it all out in the end, but now I see justice as something that must be dealt here on Earth. Prison is too good for a guy like Breivik. He needs to pay for what he did by forfeiting his life to society.

  34. 34
    JT

    @TerryI'll take a crack at some of these.Why should all humans be granted the same basic rights?If the set of basic rights weren't held by everyone, they wouldn't be "basic". It wound't be very civilized if we didn't cut even bad people some slack, and have the attitude that they could be salvaged.We're all just animals after all.We're also mammals and vertebrates, but that's not the basis for rights. On whose authority were these rights granted? By us. We made the effort to wield weapons, band together, smack anyone around who disagreed, and with that new-found power, decided to establish some basic rules regarding what the individuals in that group are allowed to do (rights).Most of the basics were voted on before you were born, by the club-wielding society around you.

  35. 35
    Felipe Shide

    I hate the "we're just animals after all" argument because it's completely irrelevant. I see how religious people might think that we should have rights because we are supposedly more than that, but I'd like to think that fellow atheists would come to the necessary conclusion that the authority that decides such rights is us, as a collective society, and that we decide on the basis of what makes our lives better and what protects us from each other.Even leaving the reasons aside, though, the basis for the rights that we have is that we should have all rights possible, and then we start to limit specific things that are harmful to individuals and society in general. That's why we lock people up. We surely could argue about whether some specific crimes should be punishable with incarceration, but the point is that Breivik is incarcerated because he is a danger to others, and we shouldn't kill him or make him a slave because:1. There's no reason to;2. It would be an unnecessary violation to the "prohibition" of slavery that we extend to all human beings.One important difference between being in prison and being a slave is that you're not property when you're in jail. The state can't do anything it wants with you. There's a specific reason why you're kept in jail.And Terry, I know that you didn't say we should kill him, but I hear similar arguments for capital punishment.

  36. 36
    Kazim

    Another reason that "we'll treat each other like animals" is ridiculous is that we don't treat all animals the same. We don't treat dogs like cows, and we don't treat cows like houseflies. So which animals would we treat humans like? Other humans, obviously. I treat friends and family just like animals, because they are animals. But I don't treat any other animals like people. It's meaningless word games, nothing more.

  37. 37
    Terry

    With capital punishment we take away ALL the rights of the individual. At least with slavery the individual still gets to live. Perhaps "we're just animals" could have been better stated as, why should we care if an individual is of the same species as us? Anyone should be thrown out of our special "club" if they commit a crime like Breivik did. It's not like he afforded any rights to all those he shot in cold blood."There's no reason to"Yes there is: justice. How else could Breivik ever come close to repaying his debt to society? Short of physical torture, no punishment we could ever devise would be too cruel for him.

  38. 38
    Felipe Shide

    With capital punishment we take away ALL the rights of the individual. At least with slavery the individual still gets to live.And except for the right to live, the individual still has no rights. So what? We're not counting rights here; you said slavery is moral for individuals like him, and your justification is "because it's better than killing"? Also, being regarded as property means that whoever owns you also has the right to end your life, as you surely must know happened in every culture that allowed slavery. Hell, it's even in the fucking Bible.Anyone should be thrown out of our special "club" if they commit a crime like Breivik did.Are you saying that whoever kills anyone is no longer a human being, legally? That's just nonsense.In a free society (or at least one that tries to be as free as possible), we only take rights if we have to. That's why justice took his right to go and do whatever he wants – because he demonstrated that he was a danger to others. Leaving the matter of whether justice has any practical value aside, we incarcerate people for practical reasons.How else could Breivik ever come close to repaying his debt to society?He can't, unless he has the power of resurrection. But hey, maybe if we stop considering murderers as human beings and violate universal rights we can un-kill his victims.

  39. 39
    JT

    He can't, unless he has the power of resurrection. But hey, maybe if we stop considering murderers as human beings and violate universal rights we can un-kill his victims.I'd add too that there's a line where you go from "justice" to "revenge". Revenge isn't justice.Since Breivik cannot undo what he did, the justice is to incarcerate him and take away his life (even metaphorically). Torturing him crosses the line into spite. It doesn't accomplish anything more than satisfying emotions, not because any good comes of it.

  40. 40
    Eyedunno

    Terry:Your version of "justice" is what I'd call "revenge". If the harmful actions of others arouse feelings of sadism and bloodlust in you, I guess that's your problem, but I would hope legal systems would divorce themselves from emotional snap judgments in favor of reason. Ironically, Norway probably comes closer to doing just that than probably any other country.

  41. 41
    Terry

    "..and your justification is 'because it's better than killing'"?No, the justification is that it would be the most severe punishment we could dole out without torturing the guy. I know there are many people against capital punishment (myself included) but the fact is, as a society, we allow it. If we can take away ALL the rights of an individual, we can certainly take them ALL away minus 1."Are you saying that whoever kills anyone is no longer a human being, legally?"No. I'm saying that the rights we grant ourselves (fellow humans) should not be inalienable, but rather a privilege that can be revoked if necessary. "Also, being regarded as property means that whoever owns you also has the right to end your life."Better be a good slave then. I find that anyone would care if it was a guy like Breivik very disturbing. Death would be easy way out for him anyway. "That's why justice took his right to go and do whatever he wants – because he demonstrated that he was a danger to others. "We don't only take rights away because of danger. We also do it all the time as punishment."He can't"We obviously have a difference of opinion on that. "Revenge isn't justice.""Your version of "justice" is what I'd call revenge"Not revenge. Justified punishment. Not my fault you don't have the stomach for it.

  42. 42
    Admin

    Mike in Detroit, you are a sad and twisted individual because you defend human atrocities in public. You refuse to take a stand, even just a verbal one, for human decency. Your mind has been warped by superstition and you have lost your humanity in the process.

  43. 43
    LadyAtheist

    You break it, you buy it! ummm *her

  44. 44
    Eyedunno

    "Justified punishment."One may argue that committing at least certain kinds of crimes against others is enough to constitute complete forfeiture of one's rights. However, that still doesn't compel society or the individuals in that society to "punish" the person with torture, slavery, or death. I don't consider frogs to have rights in any meaningful sense, but that doesn't mean I go around stomping them or sticking firecrackers up their butts.Society's primary concern should be preventing crimes from being committed in the first place, and not inflicting pain (even on someone who many feel deserves it). When you look at things like crime deterrence and prevention of recidivism, draconian penalties have not been shown to work. To the contrary, Norway has the lowest recidivism rates in Europe, despite having no death penalty, no life imprisonment, and prisons that are cozy by American standards.

  45. 45
    Felipe Shide

    (…)the justification is that it would be the most severe punishment we could dole out without torturing the guy(…) If we can take away ALL the rights of an individual, we can certainly take them ALL away minus 1.Alright. I understand what it is. Now, could you please give an argument for why it would be the right thing to do? You basically just said the exact same thing ("hey, it's not as bad as killing") and then added "well, we already do worse, why not do this?"What you don't get, Terry, is that the punishment you love so much is completely irrelevant and emotional. We don't need to have a difference of opinion about whether he can pay society or not for his crimes, because it is simply a fact that he can't.To make it more clear to you: what does punishment accomplish? Does it remedy the harm that he did? Does it make him a better person?I'm sure you know the answer, so I must ask:How can punishment make things more just if it produces nothing except for satisfaction to people like you?Better be a good slave then. I find that anyone would care if it was a guy like Breivik very disturbing. Death would be easy way out for him anyway.This is very telling. What you're saying here is that you don't grant basic human rights to people that do stuff you don't like. Well, I recognize the difference between rights and privileges, so I do.

  46. 46
    Terry

    "Society's primary concern should be preventing crimes from being committed in the first place, and not inflicting pain"Think I was quite clear I was against torture and capital punishment."what does punishment accomplish?""How can punishment make things more just if it produces nothing except for satisfaction to people like you?"Better to ask the courts those questions, as they hand down sentences as punishment all the time, not because the accused are a danger to the public. Deadbeat dads, pot smokers, tax evaders, etc., can all get time in prison. Are you advocating eliminating punishment for these people too? Sure seems like you are."Now, could you please give an argument for why it would be the right thing to do?"You quoted my answer to that already. The punishment must fit the crime. Can you think of something harsher?"This is very telling."I was being sarcastic in reply to the premise that you put forward, only assuming it would be true, though it would not necessarily be so. It's just funny that an atheist would use the bible to bolster his position.

  47. 47
    Felipe Shide

    What I'm saying is that we decide what to prohibit and what punishments should be applied on the basis of harm. Although it is impossible for the guy to pay for his crimes, we already have a way to deal with it (which is incarceration). Enslaving him doesn't do any good and creates an unnecessary exception to a universal right. The only reason anyone would think this is a good idea would be an emotional one.Deadbeat dads, pot smokers, tax evaders, etc., can all get time in prison. Are you advocating eliminating punishment for these people too?Don't play dumb, I'm sure you realize that not all harm is physical. Oh, and I do, by the way, advocate eliminating punishment for "pot smokers". Where is the harm?Now, I certainly agree that the punishment must fit the crime, but that doesn't mean we should take an eye for an eye. This is a clever word game, but it hides the fact that, given all circumstances, prison does fit the crime.

  48. 48
    Andrew

    Terry says:What about a guy like Anders Behring Breivik? Who would shed a tear if he was made to be a slave? I think slavery might be an alternative to capital punishment, provided it could be properly controlled.Ah, another pro-slavery Christian (in the right context, of course). If only there were some sort of all-powerful being who could just tell these people that slavery is wrong. He could make it a command, even: "Don't enslave people, period." And perhaps he could put it in a list of other basic moral precepts or commandments….

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