Open thread for AETV #882: Matt and Jen

Looks like this post is a bit late.

On a side note: Blip.tv apparently canceled a whole bunch of accounts including ours, completely without warning, pursuing an unspecified “new business strategy.” The entire archive has been deleted, we have no login, and a complaint we sent was met with a generic message repeating what I just said without further explanation. We’re working to restore our video archives and come up with a strategy for posting new videos. This may or may not involve YouTube. We’ll keep you posted.

Another debate review:  Justin vs. Steven vs. a Barbarian

I had a lot of fun reviewing the Matt vs. Sye debate on my Twitch channel a couple of months ago, so I thought I’d do it again. Justin Schieber, of the very excellent podcast Reasonable Doubts, debated Christian apologist Steven Kozak on the topic “Does the Christian God exist?” You can watch the original debate video here, or just listen to it straight up by subscribing to Reasonable Doubts. But my preferred method of watching a debate is to kill some minions of hell in Diablo III, while commenting at the same time.

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Matt’s comprehensive new takedown of Pascal’s Wager

Matt has been Patreoning a new series of videos in which he plans to take on arguments for belief in as detailed and complete a manner as possible, and the first of these is now available. It’s a full-on brilliant demolition of Pascal’s Wager, which he has addressed many times on AXP itself, but never to this degree of fine-tooth analysis and rebuttal. In particular, he distinguishes between modern colloquial versions of the Wager Christians today commonly use, and Pascals’ original wording. Definitely worth the 27 minutes. Enjoy.

So have you heard the one about the pastor who wants to sentence gays to 10 years’ hard labor?

Yeah, sure you have. It’s the latest thing blowing up the atheist blogosphere and social media. Some utter fool named Pastor Michael V. Williams, who runs a website called PreachingPolitics.com (to which I am not linking — take note of this brilliant trick, other atheist bloggers), has, in a YouTube video, offered up this solution to the homersectionality problem as he sees it.

Can I just make an observation?

Yes, this is a recapitulation of the “don’t feed the trolls” thing, but it bears mentioning that Williams’ YouTube channel, on which this drivel appears, has all of 10 subscribers. Generally, his videos get fewer than 100 views, and most get fewer than 50. He has some that have gotten only one.

Except this one, which has, as of this writing, gotten close to 10,000. Because some people got their panties in a twist, decided this mouth-breather was actually someone in a position of being able to influence real policy and lawmaking decisions (here’s the Progressive Secular Humanist blog calling the utterly obscure Williams a “Christian leader” and treating his “proposed amendment” like it’s a clear and present danger and something that may be about to go up for a vote on Capitol Hill any minute now), and have — O! irony, you cruel mistress — given Williams exactly the exposure he’s always dreamed of but never would have otherwise gotten by embedding and sharing his asinine video everywhere they can.

For fuck’s sake.

Look, religious bigotry against gays, atheists, women, minorities, what have you, is a vile thing and an ongoing real problem that produces real victims. This is not in dispute. But the real battles against those things are being fought in a much bigger arena, and while there is a long long long way to go, headway is being made. There has been a sea change in public attitudes towards marriage equality, for instance, and the momentum is on the side of the good guys here. We are almost certain to see nationwide legal gay marriage by the 2020’s, at least.

But the ongoing threat to equality does not mean we need to do the enemy’s work for them, overreact to every online outlier with a webcam and a Neanderthal opinion, and elevate his importance by giving him unwonted and undeserved exposure. The proper reaction to the Williamses of the word is to point and laugh, people. History is already leaving the pathetic, benighted clowns behind. So let us make merry at their increasing irrelevance, and their butthurt at this state of affairs. Point and laugh.

Open thread for AETV #879: Russell and Don on Failing the Environment

This is Don.  I hijacked this post so that I could share some of the links that I used for the show today, in case anyone else wants to follow some of the details.

The show idea came from David Swanson, “Why We Allow the Destruction of our Planet” in The Humanist magazine.  Another good article is How the Religious Right is Fueling Climate Change Denial.  Another prominent point came from this disturbing Newsweek poll on end-times belief.

Some of the Christian climate crazy is tracked at Right Wing Watch.

John Shimkus is a powerful Congressman who has had some nutty things to say about whether climate change is real.

James Inhofe is pretty sure climate change is a hoax, though he seems to be in the pocket of those with vested interests.

Some ministries have done multimedia presentations calling scientists idolaters and communists.

John Hagee, who peddles end-time snuff porn as part of his ministry is pretty convinced that bad weather is just all part of the plan.