Open Thread for Episode 21.11: Tracie and Special Guest, Phil Ferguson


Tracie is joined by special guest, Phil Ferguson, host of The Phil Ferguson Show, a podcast about skepticism, atheism, investment philosophies, economics, and politics. Brief interview with Phil, followed by conversations with callers.

Comments

  1. Murat says

    A very basic question:

    How come the concepts of FREE WILL and SLAVERY be under the roof any single religion?

  2. Mobius says

    For Tracy –

    As I was going up the stair
    I met a man who was not there.
    He was not there again today.
    I think he’s with the CIA.

  3. Mobius says

    On the next to last caller who wanted to talk about Intelligent Design. I think Matt’s response would have been, “Why are you calling an atheist call-in show and not some biologists. We are not experts on the subject.”

    Where Meyer goes wrong is pretty subtle and one needs to know a lot about the subject to explain his mistakes.

    I do think that Phil’s point about falsifiability did address the issue to some degree, though, and the caller dodged the question.

  4. Sp00ky BedHair says

    Really enjoyed the new fangled chat feature. Thanks NonProphets mod person. ; )

  5. says

    adam’s mistake was really basic: logic is only half the solution. logic does not get us to what’s true; it only gets us to what’s plausible. evidence is the other half. evidence demonstrates whether a logical argument conforms with reality.

    for example, in a closed room a group can present their arguments why the sky might be one color versus another. they may all have logically valid reasons for their positions but the only way to find out who’s right is to open a window.

  6. says

    tracie’s point @1:09:04 regarding the misdirection of natural beneficial social behavior into harmful behavior hits on what i’ve long viewed as a major source of corruption and cronyism: the desire to hand out favors and enrich one’s family and friends — normally positive behaviors that become harmful when performed to the detriment of those outside the social circle.

  7. TheYouTubeGuy says

    I really think the call with Adam was handled sloppy. When it comes to logical deduction, you can prove things. This is actually the ONLY way to prove things. Science only shows evidence. If Adam was right with his argument than he has shown a God exists and they are not atheist. He was right, the show is over and they’re deists.

    Sorry I sound so rough on this but Phil does not seem prepared on his ability to debate these topics. Tracie comes from a VERY educated standpoint on biblical matters and is good at walking people through the flaws in what they believe. I’m not really seeing any expertise or ability to debate from Phil.

  8. Mobius says

    @5 aarrgghh

    Precisely. A valid argument does not mean the conclusion is true in reality, only that it follows logically from the premises. As Tracy was trying to point out, the conclusion needs to be tested against reality in order to determine whether the premises are themselves true.

    And, as Matt so often points out, the conclusion of the Cosmological Argument is merely that the universe has a cause. It says nothing about that cause or what it is. Saying it is a god, and in particular a certain god, is adding a lot of baggage that is not justified by the premises.

    And as quantum mechanics shows us, the first premise, that everything that has a beginning has a cause, is problematic. There are quantum events that happen without a cause in the traditional sense.

  9. atriokke says

    I was not entirely swayed by the whole argument thing with Adam, isn’t that the point of making logical arguments. Inductive reasoning is what is used in science, so if his inductive argument is true, shouldn’t we be in a position of accepting the conclusion that there is a god?
    If we accept the premises and the conclusion, are we not the ones that are being unreasonable in believing that there is no god?
    Like to some degree I can understand what they are saying, like you can’t argue something into existence, but im failing to see the distinction between arguing something into existence vs arguing that something is true (eg. existence)? Would the latter not be sufficient reason to believe that X exists anyways?

  10. says

    @ atriokke:

    adam’s argument was not merely that his reasoning should be convincing; he was insisting that it was true (conforms with reality) solely by virtue of its logical structure.

    many can be and are convinced by argument alone but it is perfectly reasonable to remain unconvinced as long as no evidence is produced.

  11. marx says

    The first caller was uncalled for!
    Tracie and Phil had an excellent show(especially Tracie,with all due respect)&
    Phil should become a regular(entertaining guy)

    I hope more shows in the future are like this!

    Matt’s on next week and I hope Stephanie phones in.
    Sweet!

  12. Adam Boghosian says

    I wish to see no more of Phil. “I don’t do arguments” means you just don’t do then well. Adam was right to laugh. But that’s where him being right pretty much ended.

  13. says

    And Jesus was a sailor, when he walked upon the water.
    And he spent a long time watching from his lonely wooden tower.
    And when he knew for certain only drowning men could see him,
    He said, All men will be sailors until the sea shall free them.
    But he himself was broken, long before the sky would open
    Forsaken, almost human, he sank beneath your wisdom like a stone.
    ” Suzanne”
    L. Cohen (a tribute)

  14. Jack Thornton says

    At the top of the show, right from the first call it seemed like Phil thought he was there just to rip on theists. Fortunately Tracie did a good job of reeling him in… but boy did he looked miffed for the rest of the show.

  15. kimsland says

    Um, worst atheist experience ever.

    From not listening to logical arguments (very strange), to stating you’re a deist and now how to use science to prove it, to not understanding what a moral system is (you guys got hung on biological nonsense). I’m sure others loved the show, I felt it went backwards and the only good thing was that you’ll probably get a lot of theists calling in next week and THEN they’ll get Matt. So I feel next week will be quite good.

    But this episode? Um, hmm, you can’t delete it can’t you? Well lets just call it a theist bait show then 😀 Thanks for listening to my opinion. I feel my decades of watching thousands of atheist shows documentaries and Matt 😉 And also listening to the delusional theists has finally paid of. Now I know when I see a bad episode, and my opinion is based on good reasoning.

  16. TheYouTubeGuy says

    I agree with Kimsland. They basically asked him what do you believe and why then when he said he believes the Kalam shows there must be a God then they:

    1 – Didn’t debate the Kalam
    2 – Said they accept the Kalam (Thus going against the Atheist Experience)

    I know “accepting” was to get the point across that the Kalam doesn’t get you to anything about that “God” but why not say to him.

    “Matt has handled the Kalam a lot. If you want that part of your argument handled, he will be here next week. He has debated this a lot and is the best to speak on it. With that said, are you a Christian? If so, how do you get from the Kalam to Christianity?”

    It was clear they did NOT want to handle the Kalam. All you have to do is use universe creating pixies and show that they’re sufficient instead of a God. They have everything needed to create a universe but aren’t Gods. They merely create universes and then stop existing. I know they would’ve basically copied Matt to say this but it is a complete take down of the Kalam.

    There, Kalam destroyed. The Kalam is not logically sound and anyone who has seen more than a few episodes of the Atheist Experience should be able to take it down in moments. I find it hard that they’re incapable of this. Their pick of a special guest this week was a bit lacking in abilities.

  17. says

    @Atriokke

    >I was not entirely swayed by the whole argument thing with Adam, isn’t that the point of making logical arguments. Inductive reasoning is what is used in science, so if his inductive argument is true, shouldn’t we be in a position of accepting the conclusion that there is a god?

    No, because “in science” it isn’t the reasoning that leads one to believe X should be our model of reality—it’s the verification of that reasoning. This is something I pointed out. We don’t stop at a hypothesis, no matter how iron clad it may seem. In many cases what scientists theorize *will* occur is not what occurs. And I’ve heard researchers say this is when things get most interesting, because, if there was not an error in methodology, then that element of the unexpected means we’re likely to be on the brink of discovery—learning something that impacts our expectations and interpretation about the world around us that we previously weren’t aware of. Verification—being able to repeated fail to falsify or to detect that which is theorized—is what matters more than the hypothesis. A theory that can’t be tested is not useful in validating our map of the world.

    >If we accept the premises and the conclusion, are we not the ones that are being unreasonable in believing that there is no god?

    A conclusion can be true even if premises are not, correct?
    And if premises are deemed to be true, a conclusion can still be incorrect if there is missing information.

    The argument often used is:

    All men are mortal
    Socrates was a man
    Therefore, Socrates was mortal.

    Until the discovery of black swans, this same argument could have been made for any given swan, to demonstrate it’s white. But because we weren’t aware of black swans, we’d be making a bad assumption—even if the swan in question turned out to actually be white. The fact you can get others to agree with you that “all swans are white” does nothing to demonstrate that a swan must be white, if we’re incorrect in our assessment of the range of swan colors.

    This is why verification matters. Convincing me and Phil his argument holds water doesn’t demonstrate his conclusion is true. And this is especially the case in a world view altering situation where “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

    Additionally it wasn’t a formal logical argument that deconverted me. It was 10 years of investigating the evidence for the existence of a god and finding nothing. It was repeatedly coming to the end of an apologetic claim and finding nothing, which made me begin to question whether my belief in an existent god was correct.

    Zeno’s paradox, for example, can be stated in argument form—sloppily as:

    Any distance can be cut in half.
    Between any two points there are, then, infinite points.
    Traversing infinite points is not humanly possible.
    Therefore traveling any distance is not possible.

    Many people have tried repeatedly and patiently to explain to me where the paradox falls apart. I have difficulty seeing it, no matter what I’m told. But in the end, the fact that I am able to advance in space by merely taking a step shows me that regardless of whether I see the flaw or not—even if no one was able to see the flaw, when vetted against reality—it fails. No matter how many people I can convince that the statement above is correct, it’s demonstrably incorrect. And when reality and claims don’t align, then the claims are what I toss, not reality.

    He was saying that if his premises were true, then his conclusion must be. The problem is—what if his premises aren’t true, but he’s not aware of it? He seems to think the remedy for this is running it by me and Phil. But what I pointed out was that Phil and I could also be misled, therefore verification is what would tell us if we’re all going down the wrong road. How do we verify it? If we can’t, then we have this interesting argument for the existence of god, but no way to determine whether it’s flawed—so what good does it do? We can’t verify whether it’s true or not. We can only say it makes sense, but could be wrong.

    >Like to some degree I can understand what they are saying, like you can’t argue something into existence

    Correct.

    > but im failing to see the distinction between arguing something into existence vs arguing that something is true (eg. existence)?

    Again, when what you’re arguing *for* would significantly alter the world view we now have supported by our “best tool ever devised to understand the way the world works,” (paraphrasing an old quote), which has so far found no evidence to support claims regarding the existence of god, you need more than something that seems to make sense. You need a method to verify it as well. I don’t think that’s too much to expect or ask?

    > Would the latter not be sufficient reason to believe that X exists anyways?

    Why? Since there is no compulsion to believe a god exists (it’s not like we’re in court and forced to make a determination), why wouldn’t we say, “that’s a heck of a claim you’re making, and I understand your reasoning, but how do we set out to see if you’re actually correct?”

    Basically I’ve blogged about this before–I call it “The argument from it just makes sense to me”:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2013/01/21/the-argument-from-it-just-makes-sense-to-me/

  18. hermantf says

    I have to agree with those here that have posted that this episode, and specifically the call from Adam, was the worst I’ve ever seen.

    The call was handled very poorly, and Adam definitely “won” the day in both his argument, and in how both sides came across to watchers on the other side of the screen.

    l of course understand the flaw in Adam’s argument (because I’ve listened to how Matt D. and others explain how it’s flawed, and I’ve researched it on my own), but Tracie and Phil looked like second rate amateurs that got schooled by an average caller because of how they handled the whole thing.

  19. says

    Deleting debates because they didn’t turn out the way you wanted is what theists do.

    Stating the opinion that the call didn’t go well… thanks. Thanks for your contribution to society.

  20. 333and333 says

    I really enjoyed this show! Aside from the dickhead first caller/troll, and the arrogant little shithead that seemed to think that verifying one’s position is an unnecessary step in proving a hypothesis, I think all of them were actually willing to take a look at their own preconceptions and actually think about the reasons they have them. Tracie has this way of presenting counter arguments that don’t put people so much on the defensive, compared to other hosts like Matt or Russell. And don’t get me wrong! I L-O-V-E the way Matt can intellectually dismantle the lunatic beliefs presented to him, and I LOVE it when Russell just flat out tells people “No, that’s ridiculous, and there’s no good reason at all to take that position.” (or something to that effect) — I’m just saying that Tracie has this way of approaching the arguments that seems to sneak under the radar of some of the defense mechanisms that these people rely on to perpetuate their beliefs.
    I don’t think either way is necessarily a “better” approach at dealing with these arguments, they all have their merits and faults, I just think that it showed in this episode, how her “nice” approach can sometimes work just as well as a good ol’ “Dillahunty Destruction.”
    Some callers would be much better dealt with in Matt or Jeff’s more abrasive style, like the kid who ended his call with the bratty “well then that makes you a more reasonable person” quip .. I think in that situation, even though after the call, Tracie was able to show exactly why his argument still got him nowhere at all, I think Matt would have been able to make that kid admit, before he hung up, that his position was fallacious and didn’t prove a goddamn thing. Sure, those of us that know better were able to identify the caller’s fallacies, but I think Matt would have been able to get through to the caller himself better than Tracie was able to, by forcing him to realize what was wrong with his argument. The kid was resorting to some bullying tactics, and Matt is just really good at turning the tables on callers like that, whereas Tracie is better at working with callers who aren’t so arrogant in the way they present their thoughts.

    On a different note – HEY CALL SCREENERS – STEP UP YOUR FUCKING GAME, YOU GOT FUCKING PLAYED LIKE FIDDLES TWICE ON THIS SHOW. Yall really shit the bed this week. OK, here’s a thought – when a caller sounds like a fucking 14-year-old, maybe put them through the wringer a little before just letting them waste everyone’s fucking time with their childish bullshit? You guys really dropped the ball, and you need to be more fucking diligent, ask more questions, ESPECIALLY when you can tell it’s some shitstain high schooler on the line. DO MORE than just ask them what their position is and what question they have. Make them explain what they want to discuss, why they feel the way they do, what would change their minds, etc. because I can guarantee you neither of those fucking retards would have been able to come up with a sound argument or a valid position, while being preoccupied with their little troll idea. And on top of that FAILURE, yall managed to let fucking HAMISH play your asses as well. Did you REALLY fucking think there was just ANOTHER Scottish dickhead with the same exact arguments and the same exact accent calling in? It was OBVIOUSLY him, just trying to talk a little faster than normal. Seriously, yall FUCKED UP MULTIPLE TIMES and you’re lucky Tracie is able to roll with that shit as well as she does.

    Other than that, though I really really enjoyed this episode. THANK YOU to Tracie and Phil!! And all of the spaghetti monsters flying behind the scenes running the technical aspects! Besides the call screeners. Yall sucked this time.

  21. says

    I’m a fan of the “no logical arguments” thing.

    Maybe not as an all-the-time policy, but once in a while it’s worth pointing out that having a logically consistent argument is pointless if there’s no way to provide evidence.

  22. guyblond says

    Wow, the first caller propositioned Tracie for sex! A Christian I bet. Tracie probably did the right thing and didn’t make a big deal of it. But it looked like Phil wanted to hit the button. And you know that Matt would have cut the caller off within a millisecond of figuring out what was being said. Matt might have added a “fuck you!”

    And by the way caller, if you have to tell someone how good you are, you’re not that good.

  23. Monocle Smile says

    I’ll have to watch the show, but if Phil really said “I don’t do arguments,” then he probably shouldn’t be a regular. I mean, I get it, but if the show is going to be about discussing why theistic beliefs are unreasonable, then the hosts need to be able to engage the arguments with which they are presented.

    Also, I’m disinclined to watch yet another show with Hamish. At this point, it’s just a failure of the call screeners; Hamish has called enough in the recent weeks to recognize.

  24. Vivec says

    I was absolutely not a fan of this episode.

    The call about arguments was poorly handled, Hamish managed to get in and ramble, and the screeners really dropped the ball here.

    While I think that Tracie is correct in her criticism of Adam’s position – logical arguments without any evidence can’t be shown to be sound – the way it has handled sounded like technobabble to anyone with an understanding of logic. I think it would honestly have been better to go ‘not my department, call in when Matt is on if you want a more informed answer.”

    I’m sure it’s going to end up on youtube on a clip called ‘Rambling Theist gets Spanked With Logic’, but I know that if I was a theist, I’d have come away thinking you were smug laypeople punching above their pay grade.

    Also yeah “I don’t do arguments” is not really a good outlook to have on a show based around confronting people’s fallacious beliefs. While it’s true in fact that they lack evidence, I don’t think pointing that out is really an effective way of contradicting theists because many of them totally acknowledge that.

  25. mond says

    @Monocle Smile and 333and333

    Hamish was NOT on the show.
    Connor from Scotland called in and Phil Ferguson heard the accent and suggested that it was Hamish.
    Tracie actually had a coherent and interesting conversation with Connor.
    I am sure on other occasions it has been suggested that a Scottish caller has been Hamish using another name when it was not.

    Trust me, as someone who speaks with the same accent as Conner, that Hamish’s accent is from a completely different part of Scotland. I would suggest that Hamish is considerably older than Connor…but that is pure guess work.

    The big giveaway that Connor was not Hamish is that Connor spoke intelligently. He and Tracie actually had a reasonable conversation, that is certainly not Hamish’s style.

  26. mond says

    @the hamish believers

    Another thing struck me about the differences Hamish and Connor calls on a technical level.
    Every time Hamish has called his line has been quite choppy, multiple audio drops. I think he may have a fault on his end.
    This did not happening on Connors call.

  27. Vivec says

    I’m not sure I really buy the “this isn’t Hamish because his call was coherent” thing.

    I will admit that I’m not super invested in that argument because that was more of a side-criticism and not really related to my main problems with this episode.

    But like, the Mark from Stone Temple Church/chrislanganfan guy called in a lot way back when, and would alternate between accents, phone quality, and arguments pretty freely.

    One day you’d get standard american mark being an offended christian, then you’d get british fake accent mark being an offended christian, and then you’d get standard american mark faking a ‘wow my theism is wrong’ realization, only for him to call in again the next week and be an offended christian again, and then an intelligent british person the week after that.

  28. Robert, not Bob says

    Regarding “OK, I’m a deist now”. That’s clearly “I’ll accept your claim for the purpose of the argument, then what?”, not really a conversion. I thought that was obvious.

    Connor very likely wasn’t Hamish. Their accents don’t even sound the same, though both Scottish. Since it was a decent discussion, who cares anyway? I actually agree with Connor that the point is whether a phenomenon can be studied scientifically: a supernatural phenomenon can’t, ever. And that’s an impossible-to-test negative claim, therefore useless.

    I skipped past the financial lecture. “Yes, you can do what’s clearly physically impossible if you just…” No.

  29. TheYouTube Guy says

    To take on Tracie’s comments.

    Zeno’s paradox
    Any distance can be cut in half.
    Between any two points there are, then, infinite points.
    Traversing infinite points is not humanly possible.
    Therefore traveling any distance is not possible.

    Mathematically speaking a number on a number line is non-existent since it occupies zero space (i.e. 4-4 = 0). From this we learn that the number 4 contains no distance between it and itself. This means that the infinite points between two points are infinite nothings. Adding up an infinity of nothing is interestingly enough not nothing.

    The issue is that the points Zeno’s paradox adds up are also infinitely small if we look at the relative distance between it and the next nearest number. However the summation of infinite points between 4 and 4.0000000000000000000001 (Infinite zeroes) is equal to the difference between the two points. Even though this difference is infinitesimally small the summation of these points over an infinite series is the difference between the two numbers.

    Zeno’s paradox seems like a paradox until you realize the points are infinitesimally small and you bring math in to help solve.

  30. mond says

    @36 Vivec.

    I can almost guarantee that if I called many peoples knee-jerk reaction would be ‘Oh that’s Hamish”
    Ultimately I may wrong and Hamish playing us for fools but as someone who understands the nuances of the myriad of scottish accents and I personally convinced that Connor was not Hamish. (Also for the other reasons I stated in earlier posts)

  31. TheYouTube Guy says

    More of Tracie’s comments:

    A conclusion can be true even if premises are not, correct?

    This is very true. Showing the fault in Adam’s argument would not disprove God. It would merely show that his argument does not prove God.

    And if premises are deemed to be true, a conclusion can still be incorrect if there is missing information.

    Then the premises are incorrect. Missing information means we do not totally understand the premises yet. This is why we take on all the premises and dissect them in to little pieces to ensure there is absolutely not fault in them. The Kalam is such an easy argument to refute because the premises and even the conclusion are so faulty. It is one of the worst arguments for God I’ve seen.

    All men are mortal
    Socrates was a man
    Therefore, Socrates was mortal.

    This is very logically sound. It is reasonable to believe that all men are mortal. It most likely can shown at the time that Socrates was mortal and thus the conclusion follows.

    Until the discovery of black swans, this same argument could have been made for any given swan, to demonstrate it’s white. But because we weren’t aware of black swans, we’d be making a bad assumption


    This argument falls apart very quickly and this demonstrates the fault that can be shown in the first argument. How do you know for certain that all men are mortal? If there are immortal people who don’t tell us, then it is possible that socrates being a man might not be immortal. The fault in…

    All swans are black.
    Bobby is a swan.
    Bobby is black.

    …is the first premise and not the logical sound nature of the argument. Someone merely has to question, “How do you know for certain all swans are black?” and they’ve raised a reasonable objection that shows a problem in the argument. The Kalam raises so many questions:

    Whatever begins to exist has a cause;

    QUESTIONS – Did God ever begin to exist? How do you know that something can not begin to exist? What evidence do you have of this? Can you provide me an example other than this God you use here?

    The universe began to exist

    QUESTION – You just told me that God did not begin to exist so you admit there are things that don’t have a beginning. Is it possible that the universe did not begin to exist? If not, then you are special pleading for your God.

    The universe has a cause.

    QUESTION – Even if we admit you got here (Which you didn’t) then what can you tell me about this cause? As stated before, universe farting pixies (Matt D™) could easily be the cause. Let’s pretend you got here, how is your God this creator?

  32. triggerhappy says

    To the first caller. Using logic I can say all men are green, Jason is a man, therefore Jason is green that is using logic correctly but that’s not a factual statement. One cannot “logic” any statement into being true or “logic” something into existence.

  33. bigjay says

    No more Phil, please. HIs default demeanor seems to be that of the stereotypical “angry atheist” and that doesn’t serve this show well. He seems to look for every opportunity to make snarky comments just for the sake of being clever. (His reference to the word “seminary” is just one example.)

  34. Matt Petty says

    I came all the way over here to freethoughtblogs to tell you how insufferably smug I found Phil Ferguson. He insulted the guests, and his snide insults were demeaning to people who bothered to call in. I’m trying to be as polite as possible here, but smug condescending atheists like that are the reason people dislike atheists.

    His “area of expertise” was not only boring but entirely irrelevant to the show.

    Please don’t invite him back on. At the risk of sounding callous, he seems like a dick and I didn’t think the way he treated the guests was respectful or productive.

  35. Paul Money says

    I have to go along with those who found Phil irritating, talking over the callers, talking over Tracie and being an irritating smartass. For a long time I’ve wanted to see Tracie host the show, because I like her approach, but she doesn’t have a co-host here, just somebody who wants it to be his show. For the first time ever I turned the show off before the end.

  36. Kenvino Carvallhar says

    Hi. I am an atheist and would like to say good show. Love The Atheist Experience, but you should have second thoughts of having this Phil guy as your co-host, you need to lecture him and teach him common child manners first. He is patronizing the callers and doesn’t give anything else than being mean. If he continues in this manners, your show will lose credibility, as I am ashamed of being an atheist after experiencing him on this show.

  37. Tom Whitaker says

    Adam calls in with kalam regularly…I guess he figured he would take a shot while Matt was out of town and try to take advantage of less skilled debaters…

    Im not sure why adam feels the need to call with this all the time. The argument has been widely discussed and debated. Theists know very well some of the problems with the argument. Does adam think he packages it in a way that all the issues that have already been pointed out are not applicable???

    Even though there are issues with both premises…as was pointed out last night….even if they were all conceded…..it still only gets you to a “cause”. You have to add further to the argument to get anywhere close to God. And to somehow conclude that God must be that cause..(and is uncaused due to being timeless and spaceless etc)….they must actually establish that god is real….and possible…WHICH THEY NEVER SEEM TO DO…..

    At best the argument can be used for what most of us readily concede…that our existence is a mystery…..and we will continue to explore that mystery. Lightening was once unexplained…and thought to be GOD. Perhaps we will someday have a better understanding of how we came to be. Simply making up that a sky genie dunnit might be good for some. But if they claim that this is so..the bare the burden of proof….which they fail at meeting EVERY TIME.

    If adam reads this I would love to talk to him directly

  38. Paul Money says

    Alright, it’s probably not nice to call Phil a smartass, but I did feel that he was at best when saying nothing and sitting there looking sulky. How about pairing Tracie H with Phil Sessions? That would work!

  39. Tom Whitaker says

    Phil was fine. Its not as easy as it looks. Can he do better..surely…but he stepped in as a guest host. He was fine.

  40. TheYouTubeGuy says

    I hope the people at The Atheist Experience realize we’re not all hating on Phil for no reason or to be mean. We mean everything in a constructive way. I have to agree with the whole “Angry atheist” vibe that he gave off. He seemed to talk down to callers he disagreed with and basically gave off “I’m right and I don’t have to explain why.”

    Every host has had their own style. Some are a little more aggressive and some are a little more sarcastic. However, every single host has been able to breakdown an argument and explain the faults in it. That is the point of the show! Tell us what you believe and why.

    Once again… not to be rude but it was a pretty poorly handled show (Around 50%) but that is bound to happen. I wanted to comment again because… I almost turned off the show…. and I don’t do that. I almost turned off when Phil said “I don’t do arguments.” If the hosts acted like this for years:

    1 – No one would be watching the show.
    2 – No one would be convinced by anything said on the show.

  41. Tom Whitaker says

    jeez man….cut Phil some slack…he was a guest host!!!…..He said he dosent do arguments…big deal….the Adam call did not go as well as it could, I agree. Adam usually gets disconnected with his argument up his ass. But so what….thats going to happen from time to time. Its like my fellow atheists are in a panic because a call handled by a guest host dinnt go well…..lol. I am an atheist..and an atheist for what I believe to be good reasons. No one call is going to throw me into a panic. None of our hosts are professional debaters. We are all spoiled because Matt is so talented. The panic and sense of urgency to “never let this happen again” is just funny to me. There is quite a bit of pressure up there. I have seen the vast majority of hosts and co hosts at one time or another look silly or tongue tied. For those of you that felt the show was a disaster….grow up or don’t watch. I don’t expect the hosts to be so well versed that I accept nothing less than theist ass kickings…if you do..start your own show. Im pretty proud of all of them. Im confident in my atheistic position.

  42. Sigmun Lloyd says

    Very enjoyable show. Phil was a pleasant change. Aggressive and dismissive. No pandering.
    Impossibly hard job of screening done well – and the hosts handled the troll perfectly.
    Great work as always. Thank you.

  43. RationalismRules says

    I’m a fan of the “no logical arguments” thing.

    Every apologist argument presented on AXP has been encountered and rebutted multiple times previously. To exclude one particular type because it’s tedious for those who have heard it lots misses the point of the show. If it’s still being used to argue for god, then it is still worth refuting on the show.

  44. John Copeland says

    I found Phil to be a rude and arrogant co host. His sarcasm and bad jokes came at in appropriate times and he disrespected callers before they’d got to making their point.

    The Adam call was handled very badly. I guess it was an exam of why I only tend to listen when Matt is on. He’s the only host with the skillset to win the debate on every topic.

  45. Zachary says

    I think Phil Ferguson was absolutely great for the show. I think Phil and John or Don would make a great duo, because him and Tracie are both very dominate personalities which kinda reminded me how Martin and Matt used to be. In any case I really hope you invite Phil back for more shows I really enjoyed him on this episode.

  46. TheYouTubeGuy says

    Zach,

    Two questions:

    1 – What is Phil’s area of expertise and does that apply to AXP?
    2 – What good arguments did Phil make on the show this week?

    If the point of the show is to entertain, I can see someone defending Phil being on the show. However I and many others feel that the point is to talk believers and non-believers and take on the reasons for what they believe and why. I know I’m being hard and constantly replying but I think this episode is an anomaly. Tracie is really good and I felt like she was babysitting Phil.

    Ok…. Phil has 186 subscribers and 3,049 views. I have YouTube Channel with 1100 subscribers and 200,000+ views. Also in terms of YouTube, both of us are absolutely NOTHING! I’ll state this right here and right now. Get Cosmic Skeptic (80,000+ subs) on AXP. Want a fresh young intelligent individual who can handle the toughest of arguments? Well there you go.

    I’m stating it right here right now, I will contribute $100 to flying Cosmic Skeptic to America to appear on AXP. Anyone else on board with this idea or am I just tilting at windmills?

  47. Monocle Smile says

    @TheYouTubeGuy
    I’d rather see Seth Andrews on the show, actually. Or Scott Clifton (TheoreticalBullshit). I enjoyed all of the shows where AronRa has been on, too.

  48. tom whitaker says

    1. perhaps phil does not have an area of expertise….so what

    2. phil appropriately argued that even if kalam is accepted..it gets you to a cause…nothing more at worst. a deist at best…..

    love cosmic skeptic but if u think hed run ruffshot over theists on a live call in show you are assuming a lot/….doing live call in shows is different than making videos

  49. TheYouTubeGuy says

    Have you watched any Cosmic Skeptic yet? I agree AronRa and Seth Andrews are great though. I figured Phil had to have a decent YouTube channel but even Godless Engineer has more views and subscribers.

  50. Joe says

    Interesting mix of comments here that seem to fall into the camp of either “logical arguments are the bee-all-and-end-all” or “logical arguments should be confirmed to be true in the real world”.

    I fall into the latter category, a little empirical proof would be nice.

  51. Monocle Smile says

    @Joe
    Not exactly.
    I fall into the latter camp as well…if those were the two camps. Most here that you seem to put in the former camp are actually merely expressing distaste that a host would just flatly refuse to engage in discussion with a logical argument as the framework. Of course logical arguments need to be confirmed in reality, but that can be discussed with the argument as the setting and the premises as hypotheses. A mere “I don’t do arguments” is fine for most roles, but not, IMO, okay for a host of AXP.

  52. Vivec says

    A simple “you have no proof for your claims, neener-neener” is really good at making christians look dumb and make witty youtube clips, but garbage for actually disabusing theists of their faulty logic. I know plenty of theists who will absolutely admit that their beliefs have no tangible evidence, and just smugly pointing that out will do jack shit to make them change their mind because their whole heuristic is off and needs unpacking.

  53. Rizzm says

    By far THE worst Athist Experience episode I’ve ever see. Came here just to say what many others are saying. Tracie and Phil were literally converted from atheism on this episode because of their lack of understanding of how syllogisms work. Sound arguments are necessarily true; simple as that. I also agree that Phil was absolutely awful for this show. His demeanor is the last thing the atheist community needs to be associated with. He’s rude, annoying, condescending, and ignorant on the subjects.

  54. Les Black says

    @38 TheYoutubeguy But here’s how I see Zeno’s paradox: The number of points between two positions doesn’t matter. What matters is that the distance between the positions can be divided an infinite number of times. So while traversing the distance, one is constantly dividing it, which would take an infinite amount of time. Therefore you could never traverse the full distance. A similar problem exists for the trajectory of flying objects, such as a ball thrown straight up in the air. For what length of time does the ball have a velocity of zero at the top of it’s flight? These types of problems have gotten me to wondering if time and distance are in fact quantized, and are in fact not infinitely divisible, similarly​ to how energy states are quantized. Perhaps someone out there can address this for me.

  55. David Klages says

    Adam was just shopping his argument around, again. He had been shown its flaws previously by Matt. Completely disingenuous to call back when Matt wasn’t around just to try and get it over on a different set of hosts.

  56. Monocle Smile says

    @shadowblade
    Thunderf00t is a train wreck. I didn’t have a good feeling about you a while back, and now I’ve confirmed that feeling. I don’t find that you contribute anything of value. You’re going to have a bad time here.

  57. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    3rd Wave Feminazitarded moron

    I’m guessing that you’re going to receive a warning before being banned outright by the mods here. Regardless, I politely request that you leave this place, unless and until you become a decent human being who can treat other people with dignity and respect without needless hostility and antagonism.

  58. TheYouTubeGuy says

    How about instead of banning him for writing something most of us disagree with, we engage him in discussion. I regularly post on anti-feminism YouTube videos:

    “I’m a feminist. Ask me anything.”

    A few times it has evolved in to a 100+ comment thread where people engage me in conversation. I find that MANY of them have similar goals but express their views differently than me. Most people are good people and we need them on our side. Blocking/disengaging people is never the way to go.

    Would AXP block someone and never take their call again for saying this on the phone during the show? No. They’d probably have a discussion if they wanted to engage that topic. This topic isn’t directly related to atheism but it is an important one.

    I’m subscribed to Thunderf00t, Laci Green and Feminist Frequency. So go ahead and think I’m anti-feminist for one and pro-feminist for another. Or just take my word that I’m a feminist but I’m also willing to listen to people when they make an argument for or against what I believe. People who make arguments against something usually have a valid point or two. Really quickly….

    Ever notice how the AXP is very careful about what they say on-air regarding politics? It is because they are a 501C. Although I think Anita has done amazing work and agree with many of her videos. Thunderf00t rightfully pointed out recently a violation of being a 501C by Feminist Frequency. It was simply a black/white violation.

    Long story short… everyone needs to calm down and just talk. Let’s get back to a better topic at hand. Hell… I’ll put down $200 now if we can put together the money to fly Cosmic Skeptic over to America and have him on AXP. One of the mods who can see my email address (Or maybe everyone can) can email me and figure out how to put this together. The guy is 17 or so and is probably one of the best spoken / logical thinkers there is. I’m going to try and post a link but just google: Youtube Cosmic Skeptic No Idea is Sacred

  59. bodbod says

    Love the show in general and Tracie is a great host but the call with Adam was horrible.
    Can’t stand the “how are you going to falsify that” argument. That could be said to every single
    theist caller and we already know they can’t do that but we want to know why they believe what they believe.
    Adam said it killed the conversation and he was absolutely right. First time I’ve sided with the theist :)

    Btw I’m Scottish and that was definitely not Hammish.

  60. Rizzm says

    You would reject the first premise because there is evidence that not all men are green, making it unsound. The hosts ACCEPTED the caller’s premises, acknowledging that they were true (without even listening to them). The most cringeworthy episode without a doubt.

  61. Rizzm says

    A finite distance encompasses an infinite number of points. You can traverse infinite points in a finite distance. And an object thrown up doesn’t have zero velocity for any “length” of time, but at a single point in time.

  62. Matt Petty says

    The conversation with Adam didn’t go south because Tracy couldn’t handle it. It went south because this Phil guy was being an arrogant jerk to the caller. Tracy was trying to be as nice to the co-host as possible, but when Phil kept interrupting and insulting the guy, Tracy several times even had to apologize to the guest and ask Phil to let him speak. This is hands-down the worst and most embarrassing episode of AE that I’ve ever seen. Phil’s idea of atheism seems to include being as rude and condescending to theists as possible.

    And Phil’s “I don’t DO arguments” comment is going down in history as the dumbest thing ever uttered on this show.

    AE, if you’re ever short a co-host, please just let the host handle it themselves before plopping someone like Phil behind the desk. In an effort to try to be cordial to him, I got the sense several times that Tracy was frustrated and embarrassed to be sitting next to someone so arrogant and disrespectful.

  63. tom whitaker says

    Phil was a fill-in guest host. We are spoiled because Matt is so quick on his feet and is an incredible debator. I have seen almost every host or co host blow a call or two through the years. I wish my fellow atheists would stop crying over the adam call.

  64. tom whitaker says

    If all my fellow atheists think responding to live calls is so easy…might I make a suggestion….start your own show!!!!

  65. Matt Petty says

    Tom Whitaker, I’m not specifically talking about the Adam call. I think Phil botched the entire show by being rude and arrogant. Before they even accepted the next caller, he said something like “if we don’t like him, we can always just hang up. I’ll lean over and press the button for you.” How smug is that? I’m used to the hosts treating callers with a bit more respect. Why would a theist want to call a show with a legitimate question just to be relentlessly ridiculed?

    There’s a time and a place to make a joke of a caller, but Phil leads with that, and he did throughout the entire show. Embarrassing. He’s certainly not the caliber of person who should ever appear on this show again.

  66. tom whitaker says

    hahah….it was not that bad….ive seen don and russell get backed into corners that made me uncomfortable as well. Phil was a guest host.. a fill in. Stop with the panic. Atheism will always win where honesty prevails……

    Phil would not be my go to as a fill in….but stop with the panic.

  67. Jack Thornton says

    @tom whitaker.

    Please stop telling everyone to ‘stop panicking’. Nobody is panicking and yet you keep asserting it as if you want it to be true. All some people are doing, myself included, is expressing our dissatisfaction with Phil’s performance on the show. No panic. No drama, just opinion honestly given. You tactic of accusing us of ‘panic’ is akin to the juvenile playground tactic of ‘stop crying’. Please stop trying to shut/shout everybody down like this.

  68. tom whitaker says

    Phil was guest host..and probably nervous it being the first time he was on the show…thats nervousness can come out in many ways…one of which is to be a bit too sarcastic and or aggressive. I admit it was not a great performance….

    But ok i will stop asking those on the board to stop panicking…..I will revise it to stop CRYING!!!!! Its rather pathetic.

  69. tom whitaker says

    I am sorry Phil disappointed you….Do you really think that don or the other phil could have addressed Kalam much better??? LOL….they are not professional debaters…..

    It sounds like a lot of you cry babies are more troubled by phils snippiness……honestly..adam, the caller was not entitled to much respect. He was arrogant and passive aggressive as always….even claiming he had beaten the AXP…..

    Phil should listen to the criticism and make changes he is comfortable with if asked to co host again….Anyone willing to show up and take live call ins has much respect from me,

  70. Monocle Smile says

    @TheYouTubeGuy
    Yeah, I’ll pass. There are people who are mistaken and there are people like shadowblade who are too far up their own ass to make the effort worthwhile. I’m rather cynical in that I feel that engaging people in discussion only works for a certain subset of people. The rest will not be swayed by that method.

    I watched Tf00t’s entire series on creationists and then some, but that doesn’t make him not a train wreck and doesn’t make him fit to co-host AXP.

  71. Ethan Myerson says

    I really admire the way Tracie handled the troll callers. She recognized them for what they were and gave them more airtime than they had prepared for. The best take down of a troll is to let them flame out while you politely watch them do it. Kudos.

  72. TheYouTube Guy says

    “Atheism will always win where honesty prevails……”

    Contrast that with…

    “I don’t do arguments”

    and the problem with the way Phil handled the calls should be apparent.

  73. TheYouTube Guy says

    Do you really think that don or the other phil could have addressed Kalam much better???

    Don maybe.
    Other Phil yes.

    I have complete confidence that the true Phil could’ve taken a simple joke of an argument (The Kalam) and ripped it apart. Anyone who watches the AXP should be able to do this. So I revise my statement. I think Don could do this also. I feel like if we had hosts like Phil Session’s every week the show wouldn’t bring a single person to a better understanding about their views.

    Why are so many of us offended? Phil’s arrogant tactic and lack of abilities (Maybe due to nerves) only leads to negative views to the atheist community. Is that something the Atheist Community of Austin wants to promote? Do they want someone who hangs up on calls when they don’t want to talk to the theist? The call with Adam was the worst handled call in the history of the show. Aside from the lost episodes, I’ve seen them all. I know this is a mighty claim but let me break it down:

    1 – He acted like a jerk.
    2 – He threatened to hang up because he wanted to.
    3 – He refused to engage an argument.
    4 – He agreed to the Kalam and didn’t make it clear how useless it is.

    The correct thing would be to say “If the Kalam is sound, where does that get us?” . You could use that tactic. Then let the caller answer. All they can give you is that there is an uncaused first cause. There are so many ways to go from this. Many people will start heaping on attributes without any good evidence. Can he seriously not handle breaking this apart? If not… he shouldn’t be on the show.

  74. Tobias says

    I really did not enjoy Phil Ferguson’s contribution to the show. He was overly flippant from the start, and his inclination to ham it up for the audience detracted from the actual discussion, which is why I tune in. I don’t know anything about him, and assume he enjoys some celebrity in the Atheist community, but if found this episode too chaotic, in spite of Tracie’s stabilizing influence.

  75. TheYouTube Guy says

    I’m rather cynical in that I feel that engaging people in discussion only works for a certain subset of people.

    The whole point of the AXP is to engage believers and non-believers in discussion. I have a hard time thinking someone can be a skeptic if they’re not willing to hear out objections. It doesn’t mean you give objection equal merit. It merely means you listen to objections.

    While I think Thunderf00t is an intelligent individual and could’ve handled calls 100x better than Phil, he is seen as a devise member of the Atheist community for his strong views/videos on Feminism. I understand this and thus would not advocate for him to be on the AXP. With that said, I keep mentioning Cosmic Skeptic. He is blowing up right now and for good reason. He’s got sarcasm, wit and intelligence. However it seems any ideas are being thrown to the wind. Do I need to up my offer on how much I’ll contribute to flying him over. Does anyone care? Are we going to sit around here and do nothing or actually talk about real ideas and how to achieve them?

    We could just laugh at the butt sex caller though… hehe… such a poe…. so funny though… I love it when poe’s call in…. hehe… I wish the show as all poe’s…. hehe. I’m also glad Phil was rude. That makes the show way more funny. Also let’s not waste our time with discussions callers call in to talk about. Let’s divert and just agree a God exists.

  76. Monocle Smile says

    @TheYouTubeGuy

    It doesn’t mean you give objection equal merit. It merely means you listen to objections.

    Shadowblade is not worth the effort. That’s all I’m saying. I get sick of listening to rage-y garbage for the hundred and seventh time when the objection has already been considered and dismissed. If the facts have not changed, the conclusion hasn’t, either. The point is to have productive discussions, not have trollish flamers blast shit everywhere.

    Does anyone care?

    No. There are already plenty of hosts.

    I feel like you have an overdeveloped sense of self-importance and now you’re just being belligerent and condescending. Engaging with you is suffering diminishing returns.

  77. bigjay says

    Prayer – noun – “a telepathic message to a supernatural being who may or may not exist”

  78. Curt Cameron says

    TheYouTubeGuy said:

    I really think the call with Adam was handled sloppy. When it comes to logical deduction, you can prove things.

    I liked Phil and Tracie’s approach to Adam’s call. Maybe you like the formal logic arguments, but I agree with Phil that they’re just verbal masturbation. Christians prove their god, atheists disprove a god, Muslims prove their god, and on and on. The language of the arguments gets so convoluted that no one can truly tell what’s going on. I like Matt much of the time, but when he gets into his formal logic mode, i start to get impatient. When I hear people like Teen Pop Sensation Justin Schieber go off into logical la-la land, my eyes roll back in my head. Tracie took a new and refreshing tack: let’s just tentatively accept the argument, and test the conclusion against the real world. Great idea.

    That is the point of the show! Tell us what you believe and why.

    OK, how many people believe in a god because of logic-only arguments? Zero! The arguments are just used as cover for people to explain away why they have no evidence.

    Ok…. Phil has 186 subscribers and 3,049 views. I have YouTube Channel with 1100 subscribers and 200,000+ views.

    Subscribers in what way? YouTube? I guess from your user name you think YouTube is a big deal, but I sure don’t. It’s good for some things, but not for discussions. Phil’s show is weekly or bi-weekly I guess, and I think he gets 40,000 to 50,000 listeners per show.

  79. Vivec says

    OK, how many people believe in a god because of logic-only arguments? Zero! The arguments are just used as cover for people to explain away why they have no evidence.

    I disagree with this in particular. Not everyone accepts the heuristic that lack of evidence is a reason not to believe something.

    Sure, that makes them wrong, but just going “You have no evidence, stop believing this” isn’t going to convince them of anything, and not because they’re being willingly combative or intellectually dishonest. Plenty of theists are perfectly fine saying that there’s no evidence for their god, and will simply shrug it off if you point that out to them.

  80. Curt Cameron says

    But my point was: that’s not WHY they believe. No one believes in theism because of the ontological argument, or the cosmological argument. They’re just wallpapering over their shoddy reasons for why the hold those beliefs in the first place.

  81. VICTOR AUGUSTO says

    Adam’s call was in my opinion very poorly handled, if the structure of an argument is correct, there are no fallacies, and the premises are true, it necessarily follows that the conclusion is true, Matt himself said that last show ( In Stephany’s call I believe).
    EX:
    All men are mortal (Major premise)
    Socrates is a man (Minor Premise
    Therefore Socrates mortal. (Conclusion)

    It turns out that the premises in the cosmological argument are dubious, not necessarily true, self-contradictory, and the conclusion doesn’t follow.
    Tracie and Phil could have explained that, rather than saying that the argument didn’t matter. or (I don’t do arguments)
    But I think understand Tracie’s point though, we would need evidence to verify if the premises are true, so it all comes back to evidence, BUT if the premises are true, then the conclusion is true, and you would be the irrational one by not accepting it.

  82. Les Black says

    @Rizzm 72
    Forgive me, but I’m afraid you’re defining the problem away, not really solving it. A mathematical point is an abstraction that does not exist in the real world. A distance between positions is real. To say there are an infinite number of points between positions is about the same as saying there are an infinite number of massless, dimensionless, invisible leprechauns between two points. To speak of a “point in time” also has no real meaning, as it would be an interval in time without duration, which is oxymoronic. I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, and I’ve read a few “solutions” to Zeno’s paradox but I’ve found most of these explanations as paradoxical as the problem. Maybe I’m just stupid, but I wonder if it’s an example of a problem that exists beyond an a natural intellectual barrier or restriction that humans are just not equipped to surmount, kind of like a dog who can’t understand why he can’t find the other dog on the back side of the mirror.

  83. Curt Cameron says

    Les Black, we’re using numbers as abstract things to tell us about the real world. If you assign numbers to two different positions on a line, it’s not meaningless to say that there are an infinite number of points between them. “A point in time” also has a well-defined meaning (at least it does as long as time in the universe isn’t quantized).

    And Zeno’s paradox is only a paradox if you can’t accept that the sum of an infinite amount of numbers can be finite. We now know that it can. 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + 1/16 + … adds up to one. Bingo, it’s no longer a paradox.

  84. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Curt Cameron #93:

    But my point was: that’s not WHY they believe. No one believes in theism because of the ontological argument, or the cosmological argument. They’re just wallpapering over their shoddy reasons for why the hold those beliefs in the first place.

    I sympathize. The arguments are specious and frequently performed insincerely. The logical arguments are broken, *and* they’d be inadequate even if they weren’t.
     
    But there is no concealed root cause. The apologetic arguments get added late, but learning them contributed to the sense of legitimacy, which must be eroded.
     
    Video: Evid3nc3’s Deconversion – 1.1 The God Concept (5:32)

    It’s only when a sufficient number of these beliefs [supporting God endorsement] are countered, that a Christian will really start to question their faith. This is called graceful degradation. It’s a concept in network theory, where multiple nodes in a network can be knocked down, but the network as a whole can still stand up.

  85. Rizzm says

    A point is a representation of a position in reality. There aren an infinite number of positions (since you don’t like the word point) from 0 on a ruler stick.

  86. bigjay says

    Off Topic, so ignore this if you want. Does anyone know if any studies have been done into whether there may be something akin to color-blindedness that keeps non-believers from seeing/hearing/whatever the existence of the supernatural and/or god(s)?

  87. Vivec says

    But that’s the thing, not everyone who buys those logical arguments does it out of some bad faith “haha I know my belief is bad so here’s a shitty argument that I can use to hide it!” reasoning.

    Plenty of theists start out with the heuristic that “my belief is not invalidated by a lack of evidence”, and then see an argument that makes sense to their mangled epistemology, and go along with it because within their frame of mind, it makes sense.

  88. Monocle Smile says

    @bigjay
    No, at least, nothing that has passed muster. There has been zero evidence for the “sensus divinatus” and it wouldn’t make sense anyway, since people convert and deconvert all the time.

    Furthermore, I can most definitely demonstrate color to someone who can only see in grayscale. Russell had a good one for this. Reliable, repeatable predictions in a controlled environment can be made by someone who can see color, proving to the colorblind person that they have some mechanism by which these predictions can be made.

  89. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I feel like I should expand on Monocle Smile.

    Imagine proving to a color-blind person that other people can see in color.

    Take two balls that are different colors to a color-vision person, but identical to a color-blind person. Pretend to be the color-blind person: Have a purported color-vision person tell you the color of both balls. Remember which ball is which purported color. Then, go to another purported color-vision person, say “point to the red ball please”, and they’ll point to the red ball quite reliably. Repeat as necessary, and also do proper things like ensure that there are tricks nor conspiracy going on. That is ample proof that these other people do have a sensory apparatus that you do not.

    There’s countless imaginable ways that people who “talk with god” could trivially and beyond-all-reasonable-doubt show that they can talk to a god to someone like me who does not. Hasn’t happen yet, and based on the past track record, it almost certainly never will happen.

  90. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @bigjay #98:

    Does anyone know if any studies have been done into whether there may be something akin to color-blindedness that keeps non-believers from seeing/hearing/whatever the existence of the supernatural and/or god(s)?

    There are studies on whether magical beliefs are learned or innate (at least during young ages).
     
    Sensus divinitatis is a trope of apologists.
     
    Article: Epiphenom – The childish beliefs of Dr Justin Barrett

    As kids grow up they figure out that the people around them do not, in fact, know what’s going on inside their heads. They have plenty of evidence from observing how people behave, and employ their increasing brain power to work out the truth.
     
    Of course, they can’t do this for God, because God is a fictional entity. All they have to go on is what adults are telling them. And so, following the lead of the adults around them, they continue to accept that God is omniscient. Many kids have similar beliefs about Santa Claus, and for the same reason.
     
    Barrett says that young kids ‘get god right’. But the only reason they do this is that god is an extension into the adult world of childish understanding of how the world works.
    […]
    So the reason young kids ‘get god right’ is that their brains aren’t fully developed. The reason older kids and adults ‘get god right’ is that god is their imaginary friend.

     

    But what Barrett wants to know is “Why did these beliefs and not others?”. So, is there any evidence that these beliefs are what you get if you start to degrade the adult brain’s ability to reason about the world? Well yes there is.
     
    Tania Lombrozo […] has done similar experiments to those described by Barrett, but in Alzheimer’s patients rather than young kids. And it turns out that, just like kids, Alzheimer’s patients tend to see design everywhere.
    […]
    So kids are like adults but with an important bit of their brain missing. And that’s why they ‘get god right’!

     
    Article: Epiphenom – Do kids have to be taught about the supernatural?
    Article: Epiphenom – Religion facilitates learning about omniscience, but it still has to be learned

  91. TheYouTubeGuy says

    Christians prove their god

    No Christian has ever proved their God with logic. The point of dismantling the Kalam is to show that it is faulty and also it doesn’t even get you to you God. If a caller wants to talk about the Kalam and you don’t want to, then don’t take their call. Don’t put them on the show and say you don’t do logical arguments.

    Logical arguments are not verbal masturbation. People like Matt Slick abuse logic and will just go back to “Well how do you know that if everything is just brain fizz?” when backed in to a corner. That is when it becomes nonsense. However, in an honest discussion when faults in the Kalam are shown, the person shown those faults should reconsider their position. If the people on the show are unwilling or incapable of this they shouldn’t take the call and they should definitely not be rude to the caller.

  92. TheYouTubeGuy says

    if the structure of an argument is correct, there are no fallacies, and the premises are true, it necessarily follows that the conclusion is true, Matt himself said that last show

    We’ve got a bunch of people on this thread screaming “NOO!!!” to this. Schools need to teach people how to think critically and handle logical arguments because what you said is true. If someone presents a structurally sound argument with no fallacies, then it necessarily follows that the conclusion is true. My mind is blow by the backlash of people saying “Well logic is just word games!” The truth is that formal logic is anything but that. It’s how I can prove to you the pythagorean theorem actually works in all instances.

    If all A are B
    and all B are C
    Then an A must be C

    This is perfectly logically sound. The fault in the argument would be that maybe all As are not Bs or all Bs are not Cs. I’m sorry… this week just felt like amateur hour and many of the comments here agree with that sentiment. I know Tracie is ANYTHING but amateur. I’m also offended by the people who think it’s great when we have people being rude to the hosts and making jokes. It’s a waste of our time and sets the wrong tone for the show.

  93. Scottish Person (therefore Hamish) says

    Hello everyone. Scottish commenter here. I’ve never commented on this forum before but I just wanted to say that I am starting to get offended at the way Scottish callers are somehow automatically considered suspicious!

    I might have understood the situation wrongly but I seem to remember that a Scottish caller called in once – I think it might have been the first time Hamish called – and Matt or somebody thought he was perhaps a troll because of the way he spoke.

    And this episode, no, Connor was not Hamish. To a Scottish ear, it’s not hard to tell that their accents and manner of speaking are somewhat different, but even if you can’t tell the difference it’s not like everyone in Scotland has a completely unique accent. Connor took an entirely different position than Hamish; he was arguing for a position that had nothing to do with Hamish; he was reasonable rather than arrogant and yet Phil on air, and “333and333” in the comments section here, are both like “HAMISH!!!”, with 333etc even stating that they had “the same arguments”! Jesus Christ, were you even listening to Connor or when Scottish people speak do you just hear “Kilts, kilts, haggis, bagpipes…” Why, exactly, presume he’s Hamish? Because you can’t you conceive of there being more than one man in Scotland?

  94. pi314 says

    Way to many hoops to go through to make a comment here, so this is probably my first an last post. Phil made this episode the worst show of them all. How annoying can a person be? Yipes!!! Like a comedian with bad timing. Invite him back again ………….. with a gag over his mouth. I’d enjoy that very much. 😉
    As always, Tracie was on her game by allowing the callers the rope to hang themselves with, and they always hang themselves, and actually hang themselves on crosses too. Bible thumpers … ya gotta love em.

  95. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Judging from these posts, this is a must watch episode.

    Gonna need refreshments.

  96. RationalismRules says

    #105

    Scottish Person (therefore Hamish)

    Brilliant name! Still laughing at it.

    It doesn’t take a Scot to hear the difference. My Aussie ears can clearly distinguish between the two. (OTOH Mel Gibson probably can’t, if his accent in Braveheart is any indication)

  97. Curt Cameron says

    TheYouTubeGuy said:

    We’ve got a bunch of people on this thread screaming “NOO!!!” to this. Schools need to teach people how to think critically and handle logical arguments because what you said is true. If someone presents a structurally sound argument with no fallacies, then it necessarily follows that the conclusion is true.

    No one is questioning that that’s true. The problem is when you take the formal logic structure out of the black-and-white world of simple constructs like “Socrates is a man” or that of mathematics, then it gets much harder to do correctly. Are the premises of the Kalam true? I don’t think so, but you get into having to precisely define the words you’re using, looking for equivocation, figuring out the extent that the words apply, etc. etc. etc., and it’s just fruitless.

    Another example is the Transcendental Argument. I was interested the first time in hearing what it was, but it got pointless and boring pretty quickly.

    The Kalam’s premises have been talked about forever, and its adherents still want to stick with it. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t care anymore. Tracie took a different approach. She and Phil know that even if it were sound, it just gets you to the point of an inaccessible entity that created everything. But that’s not the god that theists believe in, they believe in one who answers prayers and does miracles and sent his son in human form to Earth (at least in the case of Christianity). So Tracie’s approach was “OK, let’s grant the Kalam – what different does it make? You believe in much more than what the Kalam supposedly proves, let’s talk about that.”

    I agree with this approach by the way. I know the Kalam’s premises have been picked apart, and so does everyone else. But let’s talk about the god you actually believe in, and whether there’s evidence for it.

  98. Murat says

    To sum up the argument about logic & theism:
    I guess it is ok to claim the existence of a god UNLIKELY whereas problematic to claim it ILLOGICAL.
    Because rules of logic can be used for the sake of either side.

  99. mond says

    @105

    Well said not Hamish.
    Some of 333and333 comments were sailing close to a racist wind. (ie “Scottish dickhead” comment ‘#28)
    I must admit I find the real Hamish a pain and would prefer he didn’t call but there are no need for that type of slur.

  100. Les Black says

    Curt Cameron @95 says “If you assign numbers to two different positions on a line, it’s not meaningless to say that there are an infinite number of points between them.” When you “assign” abstractions (numbers or points) to real things (positions) and then just say “it’s not meaningless to say there are an infinite number of them”, this seems more like an assertion than a conclusion reached by reasoning. Furthermore, I’m not saying it’s “meaningless”. I’m saying it’s an abstraction, which may or may not apply in the real world. Also, when you say a point in time “has a well defined meaning”, I need more than just the assertion.

    However, I do appreciate your nod to the idea of quantized time, which I mentioned earlier.

    I’ve also seen the convergence argument you use (1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + …. converging to 1) before, but again, these fractions (1/2, 1/4, 1/8, etc.) and their manipulation (addition) in this context are mathematical abstractions. Zeno’s problem deals with an actual, real action;, i.e. the decreasing distance between two positions by a moving object .

    Rizzm @97, once again, the number of points (or positions) between start and the end positions doesn’t matter. What matters is that the distance between the positions can be *divided* an infinite number of times. Dividing a distance by moving across it is a real *action*, not a calculation (although that would take time, too), so it would require an infinite amount of time, i.e. it could never be completed.

  101. X-Catholic says

    I liked having Phil on. I thought he had interesting things to say about approaching finance from a skeptic’s perspective. I know some people think he came across as mean, but I liked his straightforward explanations of why he thinks religion is bad. I wish more atheists were like him.

    I also thought Tracie did an excellent job hosting.

  102. Rizzm says

    You’re trying way too hard to convince anyone that it takes an infinite amount of time to walk three feet.

  103. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    […] it would require an infinite amount of time, i.e. it could never be completed.

    “What can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence”

  104. Monocle Smile says

    @Les Black
    There are a number of proposed mathematical and philosophical solutions to the paradoxes, and several of them are enough to close the issue. Are you aware of none of them?
    One of your issues is that you divide the distance an infinite number of times…but the time needed to traverse the distance is also divided up. It takes an infinitesimally small amount of time to travel an infinitesimally small distance. They are contingent upon each other given constant velocity. In mathematics after a couple of steps, this can be written as “dx/dt.” I shouldn’t need to point out that this should look familiar.

  105. RationalismRules says

    @Curt Cameron #110

    even if it were sound, it just gets you to the point of an inaccessible entity that created everything.

    You’re giving it too much credit. It doesn’t even get you to an ‘entity’, just to a ’cause’.

  106. Les Black says

    Lol. I was wondering how long it would take before someone would accused me of arguing that Zeno was right about motion being impossible. Of course, Rizzm and Enlightenment Liberal, I know motion is not impossible. Only an idiot would say something is impossible that’s observed literally every moment of every day. But that’s why it’s a considered to be a paradox — observation seems to be incongruent with logic. And yes, monocle smile, I am familiar with the proposed solutions, but as I said before, I find at least some of them as paradoxical as the problem. But it’s probably just me.

    In any case, I think I’ve bored everyone enough with this. Thank you to all of you who’ve bothered to respond. I’ve followed your comments here and in other discussions and I respect you very much.

  107. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    observation seems to be incongruent with logic.

    No, you’re sneaking in an extra assumption: “it takes an infinite amount of time to cross an infinite number of points”. I reject that assertion as unsubstantiated. It may be true, and it may be false, and you don’t have any evidence whatsoever that it’s true. It’s seemingly paradoxical only when you sneak in that premise, and the most obvious solution to the paradox is simply to reject the premise.

  108. Les Black says

    Ok. As long as you don’t think I’m crazy enough to believe that motion isn’t possible.

  109. TheYouTubeGuy says

    I’ve come to notice something. It seems even the hosts come on here to defend themselves then they walk away not reading the followup comments that point out the flaws. I know I have my own issues with arrogance… 142 and all… but it just seems absurd that the hosts layout their views then walk away when people point out the flaws. I’m also dumbfounded by all the people saying they enjoyed Phil. I don’t know the guy personally but he didn’t do well for the cause of atheism with the way he was treating believers (On the show this week).

  110. tom whitaker says

    then i can assume you wont be posting….see ya. the hosts and show is impressively respectful overall….sorry they fail to meet your standards…..im sure we will all limp around without you! look forward to seeing your show! bye

  111. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Well, um, this week was pretty eventful.

    I name it, “Backlash March.”

  112. tonyinbatavia says

    TheYouTube Guy @90 et al, I for one hope you don’t get banned, as you lamented was a possibility in the now-gone #88. I rather enjoy sad, whiny, ass-holish posts from people who make it sound as though they are outrageously put upon because a non-profit educational organization staffed entirely by volunteers who give out loads and loads of free content on multiple platforms — all on their own time — have the temerity to run their own outlets the way that they see fit to run them.

    I especially like folks like you who all-cap “free thought.” I bet doing that makes you believe you are as brave as that fella who stood up to that tank in Tiananmen Square, am I right? Trouble is, that vapid gesture says nothing at all beyond the obvious message that you are an entitled, privileged little asswipe who believes you have a right to have complete and ready access to any and all platforms for your tiny, ignorant thoughts. While you insist on being you — which is pretty much just a rude and demanding fuckpig — you want the AXP and ACA to keep cleaning the vomit you spew all over the red carpet that you seem to think they were obligated to roll out for you.

    I am also partial to the part where you are so clueless that it is beyond you to think you could simply ghost this website, give away your own time to start your own venues and outlets, create your own exacting and precise standards, be as perfectly consistent as you desire against those standards, and rule the world with all your evident superiority. Some people might think they actually have the power to start their own organization, do their own thing, and live by the very standards they demand from others, but not you; you get to just sit back and anonymously ask something of others without actually doing a damn thing. It’s a marvel really, to see a sad, pathetic assclown like you demand so much of the people at the AXP and ACA who actually contribute value to the world, while demanding exactly zero of yourself.

    Don’t go anywhere, TheYouTube Guy, please. Continue to stay here to whine and cry and whine some more so that we can continue to watch you be the ass-holish bore you clearly are. I find you genuinely entertaining because you appear to be gleefully unaware that all of your petty whines about the AXP and ACA says far, far more about you than them.

  113. Curt Cameron says

    How about something like this in response to a Kalam caller:

    OK, even if I grant all your premises and agree that it’s a valid argument, it still just gets us to a cause. And further, even if I agree that the cause had to be something like a god, then my position would need to move by about two inches on the big Venn diagram of religious belief. The position you hold, that of Christianity, is still a hundred feet away. Convincing me of the Kalam is next to nothing towards getting me to accept Christianity – let’s talk about that.

    This is one of the places that William Lane Craig pulls a fast one with his audience. He says that since he’s already demonstrated a god (which he hasn’t but let’s give him that for now), then his sending his son to Earth and have him die and resurrect is perfectly reasonable to believe! It’s like if there’s a god, then all standards of evidence and critical thinking fly out the window. If I tell you that I magically teleported to work this morning instead of driving my car, then you just need to believe it, because if there’s a god then anything’s possible!

  114. tom whitaker says

    bravo tony, bravo. He wont leave us, trust me. He lacks the venue for his s sacrimony if he does. That was one of the best azz ripping I ever read btw.

  115. RationalismRules says

    @tom #132
    “sacrimony” – interesting word, new to me. I could only find it in Urban Dictionary so I gather it’s relatively new? Ceremonial sacrifice “without intrinsic purpose”. In YTG’s case, might we say self-sacrimony?

    I’ve been puzzling as to why YTG has been acting so much like a petulant teenager, especially on the other thread. Eventually I realized, it’s because he actually is a teenager… (there are lots of signs, once you realize). It goes some way to explaining the anti-authority escalations and the flouncy exit.
    It’s a pity, I thought he was doing quite well until he decided to turn the language rules into some sort of bizarre personal crusade.

  116. Conversion Tube says

    I must tell a lot of you, you have formed an inaccurate first impression of Phil. I’ve listened to his show a couple years. He’s a great guy and a great guy to the community.

    Not every call needs to be handled the same. For us who have watched the show for years the Kalam has been beaten to death. It’s OK if you don’t hammer the premises every time. Don’t worry. Nobody is “Winning the argument”.

    With all that said, I was still disappointed in Phil. I love when Tracie is on and when he said “I don’t do arguments” and I realized Tracie wasn’t taking over, I was bummed. It’s fine if you don’t do arguments but Tracie does.

    One small quibble, still a great show.

    Phil is a great guy and I like how he handled most of everything else. (Not sure would need to listen again to be sure).

  117. Monocle Smile says

    @Les Black

    And yes, monocle smile, I am familiar with the proposed solutions, but as I said before, I find at least some of them as paradoxical as the problem. But it’s probably just me.

    No, you’re correct! That’s part of why Zeno’s paradoxes lasted so long…there were a bunch of proposed solutions and several of them create just as many or more problems.

    But that’s why it’s a considered to be a paradox — observation seems to be incongruent with logic

    Key word: “seems.” I took issue with something I read about Zeno: the idea that a paradox is not solved merely by demonstrating the falsity of the conclusion. While digging further to find out what’s wrong with which premise does indeed serve a purpose, an argument does not stand up if it has a false conclusion. In the end, this isn’t a paradox; the “logic” is either invalid or unsound at some point. This goes all the way back to Democritus, who argued that rationalism and empiricism are complements rather than opposing forces.

  118. Fieldmarshal says

    This is the third time I can recall a presenter has stated the pericope adulterae in the Gospel of John is an interpolation. Recognising the show’s agenda, I understand the reason for this; however, this is not an accurate representation of the reasoning behind its absence from earliest manuscripts. Presenters should state that their opinion is that the passage is a later interpolation, though different scholars have differing opinions regarding the passage authenticity. To continue to represent the interpolation opinion as a fact would be scholastically dishonest at best.

  119. Monocle Smile says

    @Fieldmarshal
    I mean, cool, but…how much does it matter? The hosts are not New Testament scholars; they get their information from a number of sources. Do you have a timestamp for the utterance on the show?

    The fact that the story is not in the earliest manuscripts seems to hint that it was part of oral tradition that wasn’t captured and integrated until later. This of course raises uncomfortable questions concerning the theology of those who put the bible on a pedestal.

  120. Fieldmarshal says

    Timestamp 1hr 11,50ish…
    It matters because the ‘fact’ is then used to further undermine the text, the character and nature of Jesus and thus Christianity in general. I understand that this is not the be all and end all of either theist or atheist positions, though the presenters are quick and thorough at picking out and picking over inaccuracies in theistic viewpoints (last weeks first caller for example – Matt got extremely pedantic over essentially a mute point, but I digress….)
    The hosts are not NT scholars but then make inaccurate assertions like this.
    Similarly, your second paragraph reflects a lack of understanding of the issues surrounding the pericope, leading to a general assumption of ‘not in the early manuscripts therefore later tradition’ and therefore ‘uncomfortable for theists’. You have illustrated the exact point of how much it matters.

  121. Monocle Smile says

    @Fieldmarshal
    I’m not sure you’re being very charitable towards Tracie’s reason for bringing up the pericope, although I realize I’m not really the best person to bring this up.
    She brought it up as an example of a story added to the bible for a purpose. That the story probably existed prior to its entry into the gospel of John is rather irrelevant to what she was saying, although “interpolation” carries baggage and I acknowledge that. There are also plenty of other examples of this practice; it was an example, not a lynch pin.

    leading to a general assumption of ‘not in the early manuscripts therefore later tradition’

    No. Read my post again. Given the references to the story in other documents, it’s reasonable to believe that the story existed in early tradition perhaps even before those manuscripts, but didn’t get included on paper until later.

    You have illustrated the exact point of how much it matters.

    No. My point is that picking the nit doesn’t strengthen the christian’s position at all; it has the opposite effect, if anything.

    last weeks first caller for example – Matt got extremely pedantic over essentially a mute point

    I don’t agree with your evaluation, nor your priorities. Matt wasn’t being pedantic (or at least not needlessly so); he got quickly to a fundamental issue that would determine whether or not the call would continue, and he was correct in doing so. It is not productive to have a discussion with someone who willfully ignores reason. It’s one thing to have poor reasoning, it’s another thing to not care. Stephanie called in looking for a fight and would have gish galloped and screamed incoherently for half the show.

  122. Monocle Smile says

    Following that timestamp, I listened to Joey’s call.
    Stephen Meyer is an employee of the Discovery Institute. Enough said. Joey is completely wrong about Meyer; he hasn’t published shit on the topic of biology that’s worth more than my toenail clippings. Just another Liar for Jesus(tm)

  123. Monocle Smile says

    Fuck, I should have kept listening. Joey has apparently watched Ben Stein’s “Expelled” and taken all of it at face value. Joey is wildly ignorant of all sorts of things, it seems.

  124. Fieldmarshal says

    First of all, thanks for the responses to my post. I’ve pondered after several shows whether or not to jump in and join the discussion(s), so to have a response to my first ever posting does mean something, so thank you.
    I am willing to accept that Tracie may not have been as vociferous regarding the nature of the interpolation – if it is one in the first place. Certainly when this specific reference has been raised by hosts on previous shows, the nature of the comment(s) were.
    A number of sources provide reasoning for the pericope being part of the original manuscripts and being Johnanine authorship. I will cite the wikipedia reference – not for authority, but because the article reflects both pro and con viewpoints.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_and_the_woman_taken_in_adultery

    – No. My point is that picking the nit doesn’t strengthen the christian’s position at all; it has the opposite effect, if anything.-

    I disagree that this is the point – you conclude your original post with -This of course raises uncomfortable questions concerning the theology of those who put the bible on a pedestal –
    Challenging original authorship, asserting certain passages are interpolations, even presenting the formation of the canon as a political censorship intrigue are strategies the atheist community utilise to undermine the christian position; defending this particular instance shouldn’t be considered nit picking, but part of an overall defence against these strategies.
    Of course I understand the oral tradition came first, but this does not mean this or any other passage were later additions to original manuscripts.
    I won’t concede my view that hosts insist upon accuracy when it strengthens their particular argument or viewpoint, however I will concede the point regarding Matt and last weeks caller (Stephanie?). I just remember being frustrated that Matt didn’t tackle the argument head on. I do enjoy listening to Matt’s arguments (which I concede are well formulated and delivered) and though I am a Theist, I do challenge my own held views (usually via a Matt argument).

  125. Monocle Smile says

    @Fieldmarshal
    No worries. Welcome to the blog!

    A number of sources provide reasoning for the pericope being part of the original manuscripts and being Johnanine authorship

    No offense, but the arguments on the Wiki page are rather weak, in my opinion. Two religious apologists and a reference in a third-century document don’t really move the needle when the very earliest manuscripts we possess don’t have those verses. This also does nothing to damper Tracie’s point that there were edits in the Bible; the story could have been in the original, removed, and then re-inserted. At the very least, I am not convinced that the passage IS authentic.

    Challenging original authorship, asserting certain passages are interpolations, even presenting the formation of the canon as a political censorship intrigue are strategies the atheist community utilise to undermine the christian position

    It is merely one minor strategy and generally only in response to ludicrous claims about 100% preservation and infallibility. I’ve even heard christians say we’ve had the bible since the beginning of time. Personally, I avoid talking about the bible at all unless I have to in response to specific claims. Usually I ask for empirical evidence of gods, because that’s falsifiable and we don’t have to turn to old crusty people arguing about 2000-year-old documents in dead languages.

    I just remember being frustrated that Matt didn’t tackle the argument head on

    He did. Stephanie’s “argument” was nothing more than a textbook argument from ignorance fallacy (even supposing that any of the church tradition of early christians is accurate, which I would challenge all day long). Pointing this out is indeed tackling the argument head on. That Stephanie wanted to ignore that and keep going while Matt tied her down raises my opinion of Matt, because he’s most definitely right when he says that there’s little value in letting someone continue down a long road of apologetics when they start with a glaring error.

    though I am a Theist, I do challenge my own held views (usually via a Matt argument).

    Well, you’re still a theist, so maybe I bit more challenging is in order 😛

  126. RationalismRules says

    @Fieldmarshal You are clearly an articulate and considered poster, so I think this will interest you: http://blog.dictionary.com/moot-point-vs-mute-point/
    Welcome to the blog.
    Regarding your primary point: if the passage was missing from earliest texts, and then appeared in later texts, how is it incorrect to call that ‘a later interpolation’?

  127. Cousin Ricky says

    Assuming that Jake in Virginia was not a troll, his suggestion that Christianity’s hangup over virginity leads to anal sex doesn’t work for all denominations. In Roman Catholicism, for example, anal sex is just as hellworthy as PIV sex. (Also, oral sex, masturbation, and looking at a centerfold longer than it takes to drop the magazine like a hot rock will also send you to hell for all eternity, which might explain all the pregnant Catholic girls.)

  128. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Cousin Ricky
    You may not be considering a benefit of anal sex: it’s a pretty effective form of contraception, and getting pregnant is a pretty sure-fire way of getting caught by your parents (or others).

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