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Sep 13 2011

Open letter to Mark/ChrisLanganFan et al

Dear Mark,

I’ll call you Mark because that was the first name you used when you called us, and I’ve spoken to you at length using that name twice.  If that’s not your preferred name, please let me know what name I should use instead.

For a long time, I denied that your calls were coming from the same person — I suppose due to some kind of misguided pride.  After all, I thought that you and I had some interesting and even somewhat productive conversations when I was talking to you.  I didn’t want to feel like those conversations had been a waste of time, and I was unfairly annoyed with the viewers in email and chat who were trying to point out the obvious — that you were disguising your voice to keep calling.

Even after accepting that you were faking the British accent, I wasn’t completely convinced that you were the original “Mark.”  But obviously, you gave the game away when Matt asked you about it this past Sunday.  Instead of asking “Who’s Mark?” you answered by repeating an argument from another of your alter egos, which was basically as good as an admission.  And I know you read this blog, because you’re obviously the one writing in as “ChrisLanganFan” (and Andrew, when you double-posted) so I thought I’d ask you about this directly.

First of all, why do you feel the need to disguise your identity?  We don’t avoid conversations with real theists.  A few months ago I invited you to meet us for dinner, and I was serious about it — I’d be happy to meet with you.  (Granted, I was also trying to work out whether you were really a native of Austin as you claimed.  I guess I have my answer now, and I’m disappointed.)

I recognize that the internet and phone-only conversations can feel impersonal enough that you don’t need to reveal every detail of your identity, but I’ve always valued honesty a great deal.  On the web I sometimes go by the screen name “Kazim,” but I’ve always been up front about who I really am and what my real values are.  I tend to expect that of others — sometimes, unfortunately, incorrectly.

I had a phone conversation about you with Martin once, when I wasn’t sure whether you were really calling in with multiple names and voices.  Here’s what I said in a nutshell: “I suppose Tom might be Mark, but I don’t understand what his goal is.  The way I see it, there are three possible reasons why he might be doing it: 1. To make us look bad; 2. to make us look good; 3. Some kind of weird performance art.”  Number three doesn’t make much sense to me (again, as someone who values honesty).  If it’s number two, we don’t need your help.  And if it’s number one, well, first of all you’re not doing a very good job of it; and second of all, I don’t see how it helps you in your goal to use fake identities.  Shouldn’t the arguments speak for themselves without worrying about the personality?

I guess what I’m feeling most of all is disappointment mixed with a bit of confusion.  On some occasions, you seemed to be very angry about the show.  On other occasions, you seemed like you were actually listening to the people who were talking to you and trying to understand what they said.  And in the latest calls you’ve started out angry and then switched topics repeatedly without settling on one point long enough to make a lasting impression about it.  This Chris Langan fascination seems like a new development — you never asked us about him in your first few calls, and you always seem to hang up before any real discussion about him can get underway.  Besides that, you appear to be more fixated on the idea that Chris Langan himself should speak to us directly to defend his ideas rather than being willing to do it yourself.

So I’m just wondering which one is the real you?  How do you really feel about our show, and why is it so important that you keep talking with us at all costs?  Is it because you really like us, worry about us, hate us, want to shut us down, or what?

I really am interested in trying to understand you better, but I can’t do it without your help.  Doesn’t it bother you to try to keep all these lies straight?  Wouldn’t it feel better to come out and say what’s really on your mind?  Come on, give it a try.  What do you say?

If it IS performance art, then I guess you win.  You’ve gotten past the screeners multiple times, and now you have a lot of people talking about you.  That must really stroke your ego to get all that attention, I guess.  Do you want to supply a web site or a podcast so people can admire other facets of your work?

Ball’s in your court, Mark.

Sincerely,
Russell Glasser

Update: “Mark” came clean in comments, pronouncing that he’s an atheist who is deliberately prank calling.  He repeatedly states that he will only stop if we devote 75% of the show to theist callers.  He is now banned from this blog for all the previous posts in which he’s lied.

128 comments

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  1. 1
    JT

    Markuze 2.0 needs to get a life.

  2. 2
    KKDragonLord

    Hey Mark you might wanna read this if you are so interested in understanding Chris Langan better: http://scientopia.org/blogs/goodmath/2011/02/11/another-crank-comes-to-visit-the-cognitive-theoretic-model-of-the-universe/Maybe you wrote this yourself and that is the real you and your objective is to make the AE crew disprove Langan.

  3. 3
    Warren Grubb

    I think your option 3 might actually be changed to "troll" rather than performance artist. I suppose trolls could be considered a modern performance artists in a way. If he is a troll, your last paragraph still applies and he certainly has gotten a lot of traction. I don't blame you for trying to make an effort to investigate, though- he has certainly done a good job of making it interesting by making his various identities curiously inconsistent. And I can see how all the attention the hosts and viewers have given "Mark" would give such a troll great pleasure- other callers come and go without much of a fizzle, but he is becoming AETV legend.

  4. 4
    Kazim

    Warren, just trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.I hope Mark will not just ignore this post, because then I will have to refer him back to it the next time he tries to get in touch with us.

  5. 5
    Warren Grubb

    I'm with you, I have been teetering on the fence of the camp that he is an atheist with odd tactics, so I hope he enters a dialog that will be worthy of all the time he has put into it so far.

  6. 6
    ChrisLanganFan

    1. I want more hostile theist callers. Like this guy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAuFJKQh83YAnd this guy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YO8eubj23dQ2. My friends and I will continue to prank you until you get something like 75% hostile theist callers. If you hang up that doesn't count. I want 75% of the SHOW to be hostile theist callers.3. Currently it seems like you have about 20% hostile theist callers. You have a ways to go. 4. A good start would be Chris Langan. And keeping three lines open for theists. 5. Good luck.

  7. 7
    Warren Grubb

    wow, thanks for finally spelling out your motives if this is for real (reluctant to commit to believing this after all the deception, ha). I do listen to the early episodes (thanks especially to whomever seeded the archive a while back) and I do sort of miss some of the theist callers of old, but I prefer the ones who at least try to think more than the hostile or condescending ones who obviously aren't interested in a dialog.

  8. 8
    ChrisLanganFan

    1. This is a good call.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qs3RKZjSzYg2. This is a good call. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DREEgskhcrY3. This is a good call. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSXhHDjrt6o&feature=related 4. Fact: 80% of your calls are not like this.

  9. 9
    Gene

    Funny. Many of the viewers, and I believe even the hosts, would like the show to be 75% theist callers as well–if not more.There's no need to be dishonest about it. Just call.

  10. 10
    Kestra

    What are you, twelve? Thirteen? "Do what I want or me and *my friends* will be MEAN to you!" {stamps feet and holds breath}Seriously, if you want an internet atheist call-in show with nothing but assholes and ill-informed theists calling in, make one yourself. The AE team runs their show as they see fit. You don't get to internet-grief them into submission. Grow up.

  11. 11
    ChrisLanganFan

    You should invite Church pastors to call in. You should schedule hostile church people ahead of time. You should be fair to them and not hang up.If you do this, my friends and I will stop pranking you.

  12. 12
    Petr Kudláček

    "ChrisLanganFan: 1. I want more hostile theist callers…"I agree with you entirely (ignoring your smug attitude of course). I'd love to see more Christians call the show and get smashed into bits by Matt, Jeff, Russell, Tracieh – or whoever just like you did over and over again. That's what makes the show so much fun and so educational. And please tell your Chris Langan to call in; We would love to have him. After all we need a new version of Matt Slick and TAG to beat up on.Cheers mate.Also, you're a dick.

  13. 13
    JT

    Why does that sound like an ultimatum?

  14. 14
    Gene

    You realize you've pranked no one but yourself.

  15. 15
    ChrisLanganFan

    We will stop calling as soon as the show gets 75% hostile theist callers. It's not hard. You live in Texas. Thanks,The ChrisLangan Club

  16. 16
    John K.

    Every indication is that the show gives extreme precedence to theist callers. You must know this since you have been able to get on the air so often by claiming to be a theist.How exactly are they going to control what kind of calls come in? You want them to sit around and discuss the news until they get a theist caller? Your "demands" are asinine.Lastly, you are trying to get your way by prank terrorism. How terrible and pathetic all at the same time.If you don't like the show, don't watch it. Make your own show and conjure up your own theist callers. Most of all, Get a life douchebag.

  17. 17
    lynnea dally

    Are you… using your own calls as examples of good calls? That is just the height of arrogance.

  18. 18
    ChrisLanganFan

    Once they start to call, the show will generate more views through Youtube. This momentum will build. It will become easier and easier to fill a 75% quota of hostile theist callers. Word will spread. They will call. This will be a revolution.Yours, The ChrisLangan Club

  19. 19
    AthiestJames

    @CLF: If you're so adamant the show needs more 'hostile theist' callers, why 75%, why not 100%. Seems that the whole demand for percentage is rather arbitrary. Why not simply request for one of the hosts to look over your argument with the week build up to the following show, then present the information for the views at the next episode. Bottom line is, it doesn't matter if you're hostile, or gentle, your argument wont gain any weight just because you're louder and more obnoxious.

  20. 20
    Dustin_Calgary

    We'd all love to have more theist callers, I'm really not a fan of atheists calling in!Unfortunately prank calling the show isn't the way to fix this, the best thing to do, is to promote the show in theist circles encouraging them to call in! The more theists that actually call, the more we get to talk to!I respect wanting more theist callers, but it's a fairly ridiculous way to go about achieving that goal.

  21. 21
    Tom Foss

    90% of everything is crap, CLF. No show is ever as good as the highlight reel, which is essentially what the YouTube clips are for TAE.go ahead and encourage theists to call, but people calling disingenuously doesn't make for any better television than people calling to gush and praise. As for Chris Langan, his argument is gibberish. There's no more point in discussing such a silly and obscure apologetic on the show than there is in debunking the Time Cube. His claims to being super-smart are spurious at best, and such intellect is useless withoutexpertise in a relevant field.You want better calls? Stop taking up lines with trolls and pranksters. You want Chris Langan debated? Have him schedule a debate, or call in with more than "Chris Langan proved God"–such as, I don't know, a clear paraphrasing of his argument? Hell, even the king of "baffle 'em with bullshit" William Lane Craig's typical arguments can be easily rephrased and understood. But being a troll doesn't help anyone. It just makes you look like a tool and your God look like a foolish fiction. And neither of you needs help in those regards.

  22. 22
    ChrisLanganFan

    How you do it is not our concern. This will be our last communication with you. Goodbye,Good Luck, The ChrisLangan Club

  23. 23
    Daniel

    Wow "ChrisLanganFan" you and your friends are making asses of yourselves. Do this or else? Why should they? They don't control who calls in…. that's why it is real instead of staged like you want. You want entertainment, we want real people calling in.

  24. 24
    KK_Me

    Why don't you encourage more theists to call into the show? It isn't the hosts job to actively go out looking for every call. I enjoy a good discussion no matter with whom, even if the caller isn't 'angry'.And if you keep 'prank calling' you are shooting yourself in the foot, since real theists will think that this isn't a show where they will be taken seriously.btw: my word verification for this comment was 'MARKD'. Irony!

  25. 25
    Petr Kudláček

    By the way stop using the word "we". You are one guy calling under different names, linking to your own calls. That's how sad you are. Nobody else is sad enough to share your little trolling venture. Now go away troll.

  26. 26
    Hannah

    Hahaha, dude thinks he's some kind of God.

  27. 27
    Martin

    Mark/CLF is clearly a fellow with something very very strange to prove. I'm not sure what it's all about, and frankly, life's too short.

  28. 28
    Kazim

    Interesting.Let me get this straight, Mark. You have been making fake calls to us because you think that your calls in particular are making our show better.Let me to disillusion you, then. People hate your calls. Even before it became obvious that you were a fake, we were getting flooded with mail demanding that we stop talking to you. When you started up with the multiple personalities, people were angry at us for continuing to talk to you. Some of them even accused us of staging the calls ourselves — unfairly, as you are obviously well aware.It sounds to me like you think you are helping the show in some way by playing a fake theist, but that's not the case. For one thing, you're intentionally eating up valuable air time that could potentially block the real theists who do try to call in with real arguments. For another, you are making the atheism movement as a whole look bad. When we regularly accept calls as genuine which turn out to be an atheist like yourself, you're unwittingly throwing the entire open dialog aspect of the show into question — thanks partly to you, even the genuine theists who now call are dismissed as "poes," almost always an unfair accusation. You're wasting our time and theirs, and you're proposing to deliberately sabotage the purpose of the show instead while pretending to improve it.Even when we were just a local show on cable access, no internet clips, we never got 75% theist callers. We can't force theists to call. Since we've now got an international audience that is mostly favorable to us, the call screeners already are working overtime just to make sure that the lines that YOU ARE FILLING can accept the few theists who do voluntarily call.And furthermore, most of the theists in the world are actually reasonable, mostly sane people. If you'll recall, I DID invite a local pastor to join us on the set one time. He was really nice, the conversation was reasonable, and people were bored with it. That's what you want more of?Mark, you're a weak troll at best and a terrorist wannabe at worst. Please stop making yourself the biggest example of what you claim to dislike about the show.

  29. 29
    JT

    To some degree, I can't wait for AE to move to its own studio… then they can actually get caller ID, and this loser can be banned into obscurity.

  30. 30
    Matt D.

    If one of the admins would like to block that account from the blog – I approve.

  31. 31
    Yarn Adroit

    I don't think the hosts of this show will be "upset" if they get hostile theist callers. They deal with that on every show. And in their daily lives. Do you really think that its going to break their spirits? If anything, it's only going to strengthen their non belief.

  32. 32
    Jimbo Slice

    Chris Langan Fan,You are a liar. I don't believe that you are a club, you are one lonely person. I also don't believe that you're being honest with your goals. If you really want to make the show better, they don't need pranksters calling in being dishonest. You are actually making the show worse by doing that. Stop being a dick.

  33. 33
    Warren Grubb

    I haven't seen anyone else bring up the fact that there are now supposedly a group of people prank calling as theists- I have noticed a few others recently that didn't seem to really believe what they were arguing for (but clearly weren't the same voice)so I wonder how many theists even get through anymore.

  34. 34
    Matt

    This guy has some serious issues. I think Mabus 2.0 isn't far off the Mark.

  35. 35
    Rx

    Someone needs to up their meds.

  36. 36
    FunkyZx

    "How you do it is not our concern. This will be our last communication with you."So if that was their last communication with you, then does that mean they wont be calling the show anymore?

  37. 37
    Improbable Joe

    You know, in this day and age of cheap basic gear anyone and everyone can start whatever show they want, and if other people like it then it will be popular. It strikes me as both arrogant and incredibly lazy to complain about the work of others when you have every opportunity to create something of your own.

  38. 38
    ChrisLanganFan

    Kazim,You said you hate our calls.Good. You know how to stop them.-The ChrisLangan Club

  39. 39
    Kestra

    Chrisandrewmarkmikelangan, EVERYONE hates your calls. You are neither insightful nor hilariously misinformed. You are just boring. If you need a new hobby, why not take up masturbation? I hear that's fun.

  40. 40
    Petr Kudláček

    ChrisLanganFan: Dramatic exit fail…

  41. 41
    Flexible Elf

    He doesn't give a crap about the show's content, so long as he's a part of it. He's a narcissistic punk who thinks he is 'Anonymous'.If he really did care about the 'angry theist' quotient of the show, then by pranking, all he'll do is lower the youtube interest he says he's so keen in generating. All the show will become then will be squelching his prank calls like it's going out of style.Either way Mark, you're a waste of skin and air. Go away.

  42. 42
    ChrisLanganFan

    Your fear of theist callers is obvious. And especially of Chris Langan. I'd be scared too if someone had proved God and I was an atheist. -The ChrisLangan Club

  43. 43
    Warren Grubb

    haha, I was counting the seconds after the "final transmission"

  44. 44
    Petr Kudláček

    ChrisLanganFan: Yeah, I'd also be "scared". Good thing that nobody did prove God then, isn't it?

  45. 45
    Rx

    Kestra has it right. Your calls are nothing. It's the epitome of arrogance to try and hijack someone else's show to try and push whatever petty and ridiculous agenda you have.And I think we're giving this troll way too much attention.

  46. 46
    Kazim

    Matt was right, "Chris," you can fuck right off now. Banned.

  47. 47
    Kazim

    Reposting your admission of trolling just for posterity before you go:1. I want more hostile theist callers.Like this guy.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAuFJKQh83YAnd this guy.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YO8eubj23dQ2. My friends and I will continue to prank you until you get something like 75% hostile theist callers. If you hang up that doesn't count. I want 75% of the SHOW to be hostile theist callers.3. Currently it seems like you have about 20% hostile theist callers. You have a ways to go.4. A good start would be Chris Langan. And keeping three lines open for theists.5. Good luck.

  48. 48
    Flexible Elf

    So.. you prank as a Christian who is so feebly equipped to argue as to appear as an atheist troll that is making fun of Christians… in order to prove God?/thermonuclearheaddesk

  49. 49
    Hannah

    Newsflash, Chriswhatchamacallit: they're not going to obey your every whim so you'll go away. Best way to get rid of a problem such as you is to ignore it, and that's the most likely outcome of your irritating behaviour. This is the real world, not a movie in which some anonymous, mysterious caller hiding on the other end of a phone line can pathetically half-assedly (quasi-)blackmail the world into being how he/she wants it to be. Make your own damn show.

  50. 50
    Warren Grubb

    yeah, thanks for banning, he had just reverted right back to low troll after he got bored.

  51. 51
    tracieh

    Sounds like "we," "our," "my friends(?)," are being used in the royal sense in Mark's case. I agree with Kazim 100%. And I'll add it's my assumption Mark doesn't care a whit about improving the show. He just likes to hear himself on TV. I vote "performance art." We actually had a kid ("James calls in") who used to do the same thing–pretend to be a theist and see how far he could get before either Matt caught him or he gave himself up. Not very mature. Not very useful to the programming. The only difference was that James actually made better points–even as a crank. Oh, and James used to be on Youtube where he posted his prank calls. At least he took credit for his jokes.

  52. 52
    Odd Megan

    this makes me think that this guy is an atheist, and he just wants to improve the show by getting more theist callers, alot of fans also want this. i dont understand why you would do it this way though. i think he might be a kid, maybe 14/15, and thus not mature or smart enough to know the right way of doing things. the show already prioritizes theist, they cant put on calls that they dont get, what more can you want?

  53. 53
    Essmarr

    >>I'd be scared too if someone had >>proved God and I was an atheist. Can you say projection???What's obvious here is that CLF is scared because the evidence is working the other way disproving his god's existence and he's incapable of coping with the cognitive dissonance. So, in an effort to justify his beliefs rather than logic, he imitates multiple people to make it appear that he has more people on his side (see Maslow's hierarchy.) His attempts to debilitate the show feed into this same need. It's the same method modern conservatives have adopted, such as downrating "liberal" books they haven't read on Amazon, simply because the viewpoints are contradictory to their beliefs. If the show bothers you so much CLF, don't listen.

  54. 54
    Arcas

    At least when Matt's fiance called, it was funny."Mark" and his imaginary friends all lack that talent.

  55. 55
    JT

    this makes me think that this guy is an atheist, and he just wants to improve the showHe's definitely not a Vorlon.

  56. 56
    MJ

    I guess we need another foolish atheists show?

  57. 57
    marlo rocci

    I guess the theists have admitted defeat. We're having trouble getting an authentic theist to call in. Maybe we can rent one. Is there a "rent a fundie"?

  58. 58
    marlo rocci

    Grab the number. Contact Skype. They can cross reference with the account used and then you can ban is lying butt.

  59. 59
    mistergone

    As a fan for years now, I don't really think the show needs more theist callers, so I will throw my possibly dissenting voice onto the pile. Here're my reasons, with numbers to give them the illusion of being organized:1) Most theist callers aren't even good enough to talk in obfuscated circles, more or less provide a proof of god. You occasionally get the caller who can change the subject enough to provide chase, but that's just frustrating.2) Seriously, at this point, what possible new, original and exciting argument is a theist going to make? If they had a new and exciting argument to make, it'd be all over the 24-hour news networks already. "Jesus Returns, Orders Turkey Sub." Some schmo on the phone isn't going to reveal this to us.3) Atheists still have a lot of issues to discuss. There's political issues, child-rearing, conflicts with loved ones, conflicts with employers or employees, conflicts with other atheists, conflicts with skeptics, Christmas, Buddhism, UFOs, black body radiation and the always-popular abortion. Let's get over the part where we laugh at the crazy theories of the non-fact-based community and move to the next step.4) Sure, it's fun to watch people get shot down every once in a while, but there's an element of it that's pure spite. I don't like spiteful atheism. I like cold, dispassionate, "There's no proof so why should I believe it?" atheism. Really, who wants to support spiteful atheism?5) I like lists that have five elements. It's kind of a superstition, except I just like it and don't expect it makes the lists better, nor that it keeps the juju away. Even I can be irrational. It's kinda fun.That said, I'm a fan, not a meaningful contributor. You guys do whatever you need to do, even if it means discussing free will versus determinism.

  60. 60
    Martin

    Mark, you are an arrogant, lonely, annoying, and stupid individual. You haven't the intelligence to come up with a good plan, and you haven't the comprehension to understand your "plan" (if it can be called that) is complete garbage and self-defeating. You waste time of both parties (you and the show) with your annoying prank calls, and yet are arrogant enough to think your calls are entertaining, and even doing something good for the show. Both of which are not the case. Please break your tv and your phone as well as your computer because you have clearly demonstrated you can't handle them responsibly. go away and don't call back. NOBODY LIKES YOU!

  61. 61
    NFQ

    This incident is obviously bizarre in a multitude of ways, but the one I'm stuck on is: how does it make sense to demand of you that you have some percentage of callers with certain beliefs (theists) and in a certain emotional state (hostile)? You don't control who picks up the phone and calls into your show. What did he think you were supposed to do if you don't have enough hostile theist callers dialing in? Just talk to one of them for thirty minutes?Sigh. People can be so strange sometimes.

  62. 62
    Brian

    We're forgetting the worst part: Matt had to waste an afternoon in fucking CHURCH because of this clown.

  63. 63
    Kazim

    Brian, that brings up an interesting point. When "Mark" claimed to be from ASC, he came across as angry, hostile, and wanting to shut us down. The REAL representative of Stone Church turned out to be friendly and welcoming.Mark's got this fantasy theist caller in his head which only VERY rarely corresponds to a person that actually calls in. And like some theists, he's gotten very hostile when reality doesn't match his expectations.

  64. 64
    Brian

    I don't get it. The show doesn't get enough theist callers, so how does taking up air time with bullshit solve this problem? Also, the gall "Mark" has is unbelievable. What fucking right do you have, Mark, to tell other people what to do with their own show? If you don't like it, START YOUR OWN GOD-DAMNED SHOW, and then we can all call and bitch to you how you can't find any theist callers.

  65. 65
    Brian

    Russel, I'm starting to wonder if "Charlie the Atheist Homophobe" wasn't part of Mark's cabal. That was his M.O. as well. He called expecting Matt to respond to his questions a certain way, and when Matt didn't conform to his script, he became totally unglued and incoherent. I hope I'm wrong. The idea of other atheists like Mark out there gives me the willies. We don't need an atheist Dennis Markuze.

  66. 66
    Neato Spiderplant

    "How you do it is not our concern. This will be our last communication with you."Oh for the love of Jebus! Mark probably thinks emergency meetings are being organized as we speak to figure out how to deal with this 'threat'. I say take atheist-only calls as "punishment" for a show or two and anytime Mark is caught…or SUSPECTED of calling in, do another few atheist-only shows. I'm pretty sure there have been TAE fans that have issued challenges for theists to call in by posting on theistic message boards and facebook groups. Why can't he do that if he wants theists to call in? Why should the hosts or crew ALREADY volunteer so much of their time, be responsible for yet another task?

  67. 67
    John K.

    It is definitely time to cut off the attention. All praise be to the ban code!

  68. 68
    Howard

    I wonder if Mark thinks 75% unfunny poes is good enough. Because if getting more theist callers is his real goal, he's not exactly helping to remedy it by eating up airtime. The last caller, an apparently geunine theist, got only one minute of airtime thanks in part to Mark.

  69. 69
    tracieh

    Charlie has a similar MO, but he argues the same crap on other atheist forums. So, he's just an idiot who likes to use other people's formats to grandstand his stupid, but seemingly sincere, ideas. "Ask An Atheist" told me they had trouble with Charlie calling in incessantly as well, and said he had a Youtube channel that didn't allow comments. My thought was, if you have a forum and won't let others argue w/you there–then don't expect to come hijack our forum for your personal, constant use. Maybe if you would allow commentary from YOUR own audience, you wouldn't need to come and try to monopolize on other peoples'.

  70. 70
    Thom True

    I don't know how many times over the years Matt and others have repeated that if you are a atheist trying to play as an theist that they don't want your call because there are plenty of theist that they want to get through. Every time that Mark/Christ called in he was stopping the very people that he says the show needs. With more than 700 shows under their belt the ACA has a pretty good idea of how to conduct their shows. I do have some worries about the technical aspect but that is because I come from a professional television and radio background.Anyway, If Chris wants to do this he can make his own show and I am sure if done in a civil mannor that the ACA would even mention it onthe air to let people see what he has to say. But I would love to call in but I have nothing to add. Yes Tracie, Russell and the gang, your are doing great keep it up. Well I have told them that in person when I have seen them. SO deed is done. If I ever convert back to a theist I will be sure to call in and be honest about it too. But I don't need to call in and pretend I am a adherent to a theology that I don't ascribe too.And nether does anyone else.

  71. 71
    Daemon6

    "this makes me think that this guy is an atheist, and he just wants to improve the show"This makes me think of the old adage "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." The religious reference not withstanding, the intent, in my opinion, is valid.I find it profoundly ironic that his actions actively contradicted his supposed goal. Every time he called as an atheist masquerading as a theist he was potentially taking time away from real theists. It's astonishing that a person can be so stubborn and short-sighted that they can't realize how counter-productive their actions really are.All of this, of course, is going on his stated goal, which, considering his less than exemplary honesty, is still under question.In any case, I can't find even a modicum of respect for Mark-if-that's-your-real-name. Unless of course he turns out to have a mental disorder, in which case he has my sympathy. If not, then his flagrant disregard for the truth, and astonishing arrogance is worthy of only contempt.

  72. 72
    Phill

    I personally don't think Mark is an atheist. I can't imagine an atheist doing what he's done, as it's an entirely pointless exercise. Most atheists aren't 'evangelical' in their rejection of others beliefs; if questioned we'll state our case, but generally we don't go looking for a fight. However, people like Thunderf00t, AronRa, Pat Condell and The Thinking Atheist do make the effort to proselytise against religious dogma.The point I'm trying to make (rather badly) is that if HE, Mark, was an atheist, it would be natural for him to be a loud noise against theism, rather than pretend to be with it.I think the tipping point came a few months ago, when he was talking after the show to Matt and Jen; he'd backed himself into a corner and Matt with his clear logic, kept him up against the ropes. He realised that people decide what is good or bad and not a god.A couple of weeks after that he reappeared in one of his persona's. I THINK he was preached to by his theist peers and his dogmatic beliefs had been reinforced. However, after his near conversion to an atheist, he's too ashamed to call in again as 'Mark' and creates these characters to shield his 'shame'.Now that he's been truly found out, rather than confess his doubts as a theist, he creates this fantasy where he was an atheist all along.That's my hypothesis, based on my own observations; I do not say it as statement of fact.

  73. 73
    Kazim

    Most atheists aren't 'evangelical' in their rejection of others beliefs; if questioned we'll state our case, but generally we don't go looking for a fight. However, people like Thunderf00t, AronRa, Pat Condell and The Thinking Atheist do make the effort to proselytise against religious dogma.Careful, Phill… you're skirting the "No true atheist" fallacy.

  74. 74
    Infinite Possibilities

    Well, I suppose if we want more theists to call in (or really anyone you would like to hear on the show), we could always put on a campaign, hand out fliers at churches and such. If we could get one of the big tv preachers to mention the show I bet we could get some good callers in.

  75. 75
    DobermanGuy

    cant see "Mark's" comments cause hes banned. >:(

  76. 76
    Kazim

    Right-click and view source if you must.

  77. 77
    Lukas

    Remember, everyone, being crazy doesn't necessarily say anything about your theological standpoint, one way or the other.That said, I agree with Phill. I doubt this guy is an atheist. I doubt he has any well-defined position at all. So far, he hasn't demonstrated the intellectual capacity to hold a position.I think he's just another crazy-ass internet troll. A broken human being on the waste-pile of society. Sad, but utterly trivial.

  78. 78
    Lukas

    Right-click and view source if you must. Thanks for the tip, it's hilarious. I especially like the part where he says "This will be our last communication with you" and then proceeds to post two more comments.I mean, it's like he's not even trying. Ten bucks says he'll try to call in next Sunday.

  79. 79
    Phill

    Russell, I know your comment is 'tongue-in-cheek' but after I mentioned my suspicions about Mark in the the AE youtube channel, Jen accussed me of being like a theist, making claims without evidence.It's just my opinion, put out there for discussion, I'm not asserting a fact. Don't you realise that sometimes 'you atheists' (as the religious call you) sometimes appear just as dogmatic as theists are?. The 'logical fallacy' comeback is akin to theists quoting scripture; put out to end discussion, not encourage it.

  80. 80
    Darren Cubitt

    Kudos to you, Russell, for giving him the benefit of the doubt long after others would have stopped. I think that's a commendable attitude.

  81. 81
    Matt D.

    "Don't you realise that sometimes 'you atheists' (as the religious call you) sometimes appear just as dogmatic as theists are?. "Appear dogmatic or are dogmatic? And appear dogmatic to who? People who don't understand what dogma is?"The 'logical fallacy' comeback is akin to theists quoting scripture; put out to end discussion, not encourage it."Nope, discussion can continue, just not with anything that is derived from the fallacy. Fallacies, when recognized, should end that line of reasoning. Full stop.

  82. 82
    Rob

    @mistergone: You've meaningfully contributed to my day, had a nice laugh, Thank You!

  83. 83
    Phill

    Appear dogmatic or are dogmatic? And appear dogmatic to who? People who don't understand what dogma is?"I said 'appear' and put 'the religious' in brackets to indicate what I meant. Some religious people, view some atheists in much the same way we atheists view them. They are unable to use common sense and are quick to quote scripture or make accusations of 'lack of evidence' or any number of logical fallacies in an attempt to shut down the person they are talking to.In questioning the authenticity of 'Mark' I was not using any falacious arguement, just offering my opinion based on what my own ears heard and how my brain is able to decode and remember patterns of speech (I assume that's evolutionary). No extraordinary claim, just my stated opinion.After a bottle of chenin blanc and a couple of stellas I seem to be in the position where I'm arguing with some of my heroes. I was only trying to make a point (rather cack handedly it seems).It's bizarre, that after listening to and watching every non-prophets and AE show made, my first contact with my 'idols' is a point of contention.Captain Kirk expressed a similar sentiment about meeting one's 'god' as disappointing.I'm kidding of course. Much respect to you guys. from a real native of England.Best wishes and good luck with the wedding Matt.

  84. 84
    Mark B

    Mistergone;What you said. Thank you.(except #5…freak. J/k)

  85. 85
    Tom Foss

    @Kazim: Careful, Phill… you're skirting the "No true atheist" fallacy.Agreed, though I also think that Mark/CLF isn't an atheist, largely because I don't know why he would keep harping to us about Chris Langan's proof of God and how we're afraid of it if he were. I mean, I suppose he could, but it seems a strange affectation for an atheist troll. I've not been one of the "that guy sounds like Mark!" people from previous threads or anything, and haven't generally bought into the Mark conspiracy theory. That said, I could often see where people heard the similarity in the voice. This time, when it definitely was Mark, I didn't think it sounded like him at all. In fact, it sounded more like Charlie to me. I guess it goes to show how fallible human ears listening to a transmitted-then-recorded voice might be–and it's why I trust the hosts to make the distinction better than I can.

  86. 86
    John D.

    You know what the worst thing about Mark taking up at least a third of the show because he wants to have more angry theists? It's the fact that by taking up a third of the show or more he actually ends up taking time away from actual theists who call the show. Wasn't there a theist at the end of this last show that had to have his discussion cut to a matter of a couple minutes due to the show being out of time?

  87. 87
    jklein

    I knew who this was the moment he started talking. It's nice to finally have confirmation that I was correct each previous time I detected his voice on the show. Whoever "he" is because we still really don't know. I'm just curious if anyone else detected a hint of Canadian to his voice as I did each and every time he called in? In each call he uses the word "about" listen to him say that and see if you sense a north of the border accent in there. Not that it matters one bit I'm just curious.

  88. 88
    Steven

    I never really minded him. Since I couldn't really tell his voice apart from any other caller my 'Experience' listening to the show wasn't lessened. When he was called out by Matt it was mildly entertaining. Just like all trolls I'm sure he'll fade away…. eventually….

  89. 89
    Neato Spiderplant

    I think he's likely an atheist because although he has called in to defend Christianity, at one point, he had his faith shaken (or at least pretended to do these things). An atheist would be able to "play these parts", but I remember thinking (even before the Mark/poe theory started) that his faith shaking was "quick". In just a few short calls, for him to make that kind of "progress" seemed unusual. Maybe the reason he seemed to waiver so easily is that Matt was already preaching to the choir.Also, why would a theist want more hostile theist calls? I think its usually the atheists that want to see the hosts take down a theist. Couldn't he just provide those calls himself if he is, in fact a theist? Why would he be arguing for others to be doing what he is doing? In fact, if he's a theist, can he truly be considered a POE since his defending theism is genuine? I don't know, maybe its just past my bedtime, but it makes no sense to me how he could be a theist.

  90. 90
    BeadKnitter

    If "Mark" wants to control who the show devotes its attention to, he needs to get his own show. What an arrogant thing to demand.

  91. 91
    Phill

    I agree with jklein about the Candadian tinge to his voice. I also noticed the way he says 'about'Not that it matters of course.

  92. 92
    rrpostal

    I don't think there's any way to determine what this shmoe's real intentions are, or what he's thinking. Everyone keeps talking as if his actions will make sense if they can just figure it out. It's time to stop assuming the guy is in any way sane or rational. I see no evidence that he consistently knows his own position, so how could we possibly determine it?

  93. 93
    Summer Seale

    It's amazing….Whoever this "Mark" guy is, and if he has friends or not, they're utterly unethical.Trying to hijack a show, which doesn't belong to them in any way whatsoever, simply to make some sort of insane demand that the show get more Theist callers when the show has literally no control over who calls in or doesn't.Not only is it an insane thing to do, it's aslo a fucking moronic thing to do. He's an idiot. He's also a bloody coward who should be utterly shamed for what he's done. I have absolutely no pity for a person who holds other people's hard work as hostage. It's completely fucking disgusting and low.

  94. 94
    Felipe Shide

    Hey guys. Why don't you take no theistic callers next show?

  95. 95
    MattAnderson

    Have you thought of taking emails/phone messages before the show, then have pre-selected people use a code for the call screeners?It would keep topics relevant and give you time to prepare as a bonus. On the other hand, spontaneous discussion is interesting as well.

  96. 96
    Ed L.

    Another shout out in support of mistergone's comments. The theist callers can be entertaining at first, but quickly become annoyingly repetitive.

  97. 97
    Tawn

    You know, Mark / Whatever, you'd probably have more success (and more fun) by prank calling a theist show and demanding they tell their flock to call into the Atheist Experience.Fact is, the AE show staff couldn't comply with your demands if they wanted to. Actually they probably do want to – well up to the point where you demanded it.Think about it.

  98. 98
    Terry

    The worldwide underground success of AE is probably it's own undoing. People like Mark (who crave attention) see it as an easy vehicle to get into the limelight. Imho, the show was better when you were not streaming, and taking more local calls from the bible belt. I know it would be now be impossible to recreate shows like those of yesteryear, but I hope you give serious consideration to "tweaking" the format, so it takes into consideration the new reality. Is it possible to have theists sit in on the show and have a few of the abundant atheists who watch call in questions? Not only Christian guests, but Jews, Muslims, Hindus etc.

  99. 99
    rrpostal

    I completely disagree with people who find common theistic arguments boring. At least in as much as I understand the complaint. Of course there is probably not a new argument for god to be found. But this is the only venue I have been able to find that has people consistently discussing these same failed arguments in a live dialog. It's not that I expect something new when it comes down to the brass tacks, but I enjoy the process of discussion and how people deal with these basic arguments being challneged.I have at least 2 dozen atheist outlets of slightly different varieties bookmarked. The thing that has always made this program unique amongst all the other atheist media, is the discussions with actual, on the street theists. Please know that I cherish it, and I'll happily accept whatever minor issues and annoyances in order to get some actual "water-cooler" religious discussion.

  100. 100
    JT

    I like having a variety of call types/discussions. If it was just wall-to-wall "hostile" calls, I would get fatigued.

  101. 101
    Lukas

    @JTI agree. Not only do atheist callers allow for a bit of diversity, sometimes they open the door for some important information, like local atheist groups and such.This is still the Atheist Community of Austin and so allowing for a bit of community work may not be completely unreasonable.That said, it's often the theist callers that are the most entertaining. Personally, I love yelling at the idiots. Religion may be the opiate of the people, but theist callers are the opiate of the atheist community and I need my fix, dammit!Anyway…

  102. 102
    Teddy of the Lamb

    [this comment has been removed by the cyber police]

  103. 103
    Thomas F. Bourque

    Is there no way to ban someone without deleting all of their posts? I would have liked to read what he said in this thread. :/

  104. 104
    AToTheTheist

    aww Chris/ Mark.. does that mean our " bet" was off, well assuming that it is, it really isn't fun now that you reallly can't do anything. by default, and by result, it seems like I won, Cheers Chris/ Mark- AtoTheTheist

  105. 105
    Muz

    I'm with others saying that it's actually better that this took a while rather than jumping at the calls of Poe early on. "Mark" got boring but some of the others resulted in worthwhile discussion for viewers. It's not the sort of thing you want but the show is plenty robust enough to handle it, is I think the point. Making "Mark" all the more irrelevant.So no need to get twitchy because of this (not that there's any suggestion of such).Those demands of his are the dumbest thing yet, made up long after he started doing this I'd wager. Just kinda shaking my head along with everyone else here.

  106. 106
    Maximilian Vogeland

    You know what we need? Charlie the Schmarriage Guy again, so we can all forget about Mark and his Chris Lang stupidity. If I ever need a self-called atheist looking like an idiot, I will stick to Charlie, thank you very much.No wait I won't. Both of them suck.

  107. 107
    Steven

    What I don't understand is why was he so eager to have Matt talk to Chris, it doesn't make any sense. I didn't even know who Langan was up until reading the first post AE made about Mark/Blah, now I know he was reported to have the highest IQ in America…So what? He's smarter than Matt… ZOMG! HAHAHA…ChrisLanganFan puts to much faith in IQ. If Langan has a theory that someone of -even 100 points- lesser IQ disagrees with, that still doesn't mean the lesser should just take the greater's word for it.

  108. 108
    Hugo

    Funny. Many of the viewers, and I believe even the hosts, would like the show to be 75% theist callers as well–if not more.There's no need to be dishonest about it. Just call.Agreed!

  109. 109
    Eyedunno

    My suspicion after the second time he brought up Chris Langan under an assumed identity was that he was like that prank caller who put up his videos with AE (and other Austin public access shows) on YouTube – you know, the "we are the Mormons" kid.He is a much better prank caller than that guy though.

  110. 110
    TroopDawg

    Said it on Sunday's blog and I'll say it again. Trolls be trollin. With such a viral youtube following, it happens that some fans call in their comment/question instead of posting it underneath the video they watch which is unfortunate because it's not really helping anybody. They just want to participate. On the plus side, the show has a viral youtube following. Just don't feed the trolls.

  111. 111
    nude0007

    This shows that atheists are not immune from being MORONS. "I want more theist calls on the show, so I'll call in and take up the time they could be using." Brilliant! But wait, there's MORE! I'll THREATEN the people doing the show to do what I claim I want, even though I am a major obstacle to it actually happening, or I'll become abusive and ….I really have a hard time believing someone who thinks this irrationally is an atheist. Not that we have a corner on it, but it seems that someone this irrational would never have made the rational choices to become an atheist. I try to avoid personal insults, but if you didn't get it the first time, I'll say it again: MORON!

  112. 112
    Tue

    Think we are still being trolled by him…

  113. 113
    adam

    @Thomas F. BourqueI don’t know want browser you’re using but if you use firefox then go to tools then options then content and uncheck “enable JavaScript” ok it then refresh this page (or any other) and you’ll see his comments.

  114. 114
    Pat

    Where is my fainting couch?

  115. 115
    pessimist

    i acutally enjoyed his call fake or not he usually brought up arguments we as atheists hear often. now Charlie the Schmarriage Guy that guy was annoying,

  116. 116
    KKDragonLord

    “If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough”. Albert EinsteinThis would look great as a motto in the show.

  117. 117
    Andrew

    How do we know this "chrislanganfan" is the Mark that called in? Couldn't any 'ol person create a profile on here and claim to be him?

  118. 118
    Anna Bucci

    I'm a theist and I would like to call into the show more often, but I happen to work on Sundays now and I don't really have anything to call in about.

  119. 119
    LesPaulBassman

    So the question is begged:If a Poe (in this context) is basically someone who is an atheist pretending to be a theist and arguing theist points in an attempt to "job" (wrestling term for deliberately lose) to the atheist, what would a theist pretending to be an atheist pretending to be a theist be? Whatever it is, that's what I suspect "Mark" is."I don't know if faith can move mountains, but I've seen what it can do to skyscrapers" – Unknown

  120. 120
    Lukas

    I don't really have anything to call in about. Well, there's always the old faithful (no pun intended): What do you believe and why?And if you can't call in, then feel free to explain here.

  121. 121
    Anna Bucci

    I already told them what I believe in. They didn't ask me why at the time though.

  122. 122
    Neato Spiderplant

    Anna, I vaguely remember that you called. I think if I remember, you believe in a polytheistic religion? Can you remind me what its called? Do you remember when you called in so I can find the episode and refresh my memory?

  123. 123
    Anna Bucci

    3/20/2011, about the half hour mark.My religion is called Fyrnsidu.

  124. 124
    Lukas

    Hah! I was just googling for a bit of background, found fyrnsidu.org, scrolled down the main page and who do I see? :)Anyway, I found this on the FAQ page relating to epistemology:Fyrnsidu embraces the practice of mysticism which is to say, the direct experience of the divine or sublime through non-ordinary states of perception…it is the official position of the Sácerdhád that the truth claims of any religion, with regard to its doctrines or teachings concerning divinity, can only be justified within the context of a religious tradition…Therefore, the goal of epistemology within the tradition of Fyrnsidu cannot be to prove the truth of our religious doctrinesFirst, do you agree with this?If yes, can you justify this as a valid position? My problem here is that this is just a complete surrender; a total abandonment of the project of finding truth. It basically amounts to introducing a premise that says that you're right.Sure, you can just assume that you're right, but someone else with a contradictory position can, with equal validity, just assume that they're right.Ergo, this method does not allow us to reliably identify truth.And if you don't agree, then please describe how you think your beliefs can be examined and validated.

  125. 125
    Tim

    Hey guysSo, you banned him from the blog, that's fine, he's a dick and all, but why did you erase his posts? I'm just now coming to this, and would've liked to be able to follow the conversation. Can you put them back?

  126. 126
    Lukas

    You can view the comments raw by using the "view Source" option in your browser. Use the find feature to go to his comments. Then you can read them.I've done it myself, though, and trust me, you haven't missed much.

  127. 127
    Matthew Meyer

    He was a pranker?? After all of these years and all of these calls??? For crying out loud! There was a time when it sounded like you were finally getting him to think, getting him to question, and it seemed like reason was finally getting to him. It actually felt like a little bit of interesting drama. Then after a bit of silence, he came back more hostile than before, and it turns out it was all fake? What a jerk.Seriously, a person who poses those arguments dishonestly or as a joke is much worse than a person who sincerely believes them. Shame on you, Mark. What a disappointment.To the AE crew, you guys deserve tons of credit for putting up with him the way you did when you thought he was sincere on the show, and for reaching out to him on the blog like this. And for that matter, for cutting him off now that his nonsense has been exposed.

  128. 128
    Scott

    I was one that Russell was rude to awhile back when I said that Bob was Mark. It is good of him to be big enough to admit he was wrong and apologize. I admit, it was so obvious that Bob was Mark and the way Russell was denying it had me thinking that Mark and all his characters were a plant because they know we like theist callers… and I'm not a conspiracy theorist! I'm very glad that I was wrong.

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