In which the question “Is there a stupider and more embarrassing atheist than Patrick Greene?” is definitively answered

Via Hemant, I am made aware of this brilliant little nugget of joy. See if you can parse the logic in all this. Perhaps I can’t because I spent my valuable college years drawing talking animals for the school paper rather than boning up on things like the Löwenheim–Skolem theorem. But the sense of it all eludes the humble powers of my primitive brain meat.

The director of the state chapter of American Atheists plans to desecrate the Koran when the state House of Representatives reconvenes in September if the House doesn’t drop its “Year of Religious Diversity” resolution under consideration in its State Government Committee.

Ernest Perce V, who recently was under fire for a controversial Harrisburg billboard he designed and paid for protesting the “Year of the Bible” resolution the House adopted this year, said he plans to whip, or flog, the Koran in the Capitiol rotunda at noon on Sept. 24 should the House not agree to nullify the resolution before it reconvenes from summer recess that day.

…Perce said he plans to thrash the Koran witha nine-tail whip 85 times and a single whip six times to protest the resolution’s number.

“I am a nonbeliever and for (the House) to assume we respect these books is [asinine],” Perce, a Harrisburg resident, said. “I will let other atheists come with me (to protest). I want Christians to lash the Koran, too.”

Allow me to express the depth of my bewilderment through the always-useful internet proxy of an adorable animal photo.

How, exactly, this will accomplish anything is beyond me. Well, I don’t mean “anything” anything. Because it has accomplished at least one thing, which is to put Perce’s name smack at the top of the shit list of every dude on Earth with a kufi and an AK. I mean anything positive and favorable toward what I presume is the hoped-for outcome: to wit, getting across the message that church/state separation is really for the best, and by the way, all those stereotypes you have about atheists being raging assholes are just unfair and wrong.

Yep. Yep. Well played, Mr. Perce.

Hemant reports that he has been talking to Dave Silverman, and Silverman is most assuredly not down with this, and is not lending Perce his or AA’s support. No, we don’t respect “holy” books or the often abominable belief systems they inspire. But there’s such a thing as productive ways to express your disapproval of public policy. And choosing one that does nothing but alienate not only Muslims but pretty much anybody not named Geert Wilders or Ann Coulter, which also stands to drown the whole atheist community in the backwash into the bargain, probably isn’t what a rational person would call “productive.”

Let’s leave the public displays of histrionic hate to the Terry Joneses and Shirley Phelpses of the world, shall we? And Dave? Looks like AA needs to do a little house-cleaning.

Reply to Stephen Feinstein, round two

This post is part of an ongoing discussion between Russell Glasser and Pastor Stephen Feinstein. Here are all the previous posts in the series.

As before, I’ll be disabling comments in this post, as it is supposed to be a conversation only between the two of us.


I want to take a moment to remind our readers again of the first thing that you said in this discussion.  You promised to make the case that “atheism is untenable, irrational, and ultimately impossible.”  That was a pretty bold acceptance of the burden of proof that you took on.  In fact, I’d venture to say that if you don’t start clearly progressing towards making this case, it will be as good as a concession that you’ve lost the debate.


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Come on. Really. Don’t do this.

Because so many romances begin just this way.

You could say this was just meant as a cute, harmless compliment. But even if you don’t call this “harassing,” it is, at very best, a deeply cheesy way to make your admiration of someone known. Why not just say, “You’re awesome on the show! Big fan!”

(It could also have been a deliberate joke, riffing on the very harassment controversies that FtB and others have recently been embroiled in. But if so, jokes like that tend to work only when both parties involved know one another personally, know each other’s boundaries and sense of humor, and know such jokes are okay within those boundaries. Kind of not a joke you’d pull on an stranger and expect them to get it.)

Addendum: Since there’s a certain contingent of people in the comments (naturally) invested in making the case that John is simply being sweet and asking a perfectly innocent question, and anyone who thinks otherwise is just overreacting with a broom handle wedged where broom handles don’t go — well, there’s been a brief follow-up exchange with Jen where he shows his hand: he’s trolling.

How to guarantee that we hang up on you

This was the entirety of the second call we got yesterday:

Russell: “Corey in Schenectady, NY.”

Corey: “Hello?”

Jeff: “Hi Corey!”

Russell: “Hi, how are you?”

Corey: “Hi.  Uh, first thing’s first… this is to Jeff Dee, I don’t care about your opinion, nor do I respect it, so…”

Russell: “Oh okay, thanks for calling.”  [click]

So hey, guess what, we get email!

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Open thread on AETV 769

Tonight, Jeff Dee and Russell Glasser took a lot of calls.  Creationist Matt from Oslo returned, and so did the guy who once told us that imagination is beter than knowledge.  Also a long call on how historians and scientists claim to know things.  Good times.

The new atheist anti-harassment policy takes effect

Because — for the humor-impaired — there’s been way too much anger, bitterness, feuding and rancor over this subject (a subject which, among sensible adults, there should really be not a whiff of controversy at all) that I think a little calming levity is overdue.

(For those curious, this comes from the amazing Tumblr feed Black and WTF, and sports this caption: February 27, 1923. “Miss Alice Reighly, 1409 Harvard Street, president of Anti-Flirt Club, which has just been organized in Washington, D.C., and will launch an ‘Anti-Flirt Week’ beginning March 4. The club is composed of young women and girls who have been embarrassed by men in automobiles and on street corners.” So, you know, it’s not a new problem.)

The funniest plea for attention we’ve ever gotten

Sometimes theists will try to goad and taunt atheists into an argument, because that’s what you have to do when you haven’t actually got a good argument. But this one, which came in a personal email to Beth Presswood, is just all kinds of hilarious.

I feel like getting into a debate with you guys, but the problem is that I have access to scholarly philosophical arguments from William Lane Craig and you guys have popular arguments from Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris, so you guys aren’t going to understand proper logic. You’ll make a fallacious statement without knowing it. I’m not really sure what to talk about, but could you give me a topic and we can discuss something? I’m not trying to insult you or anything, it’s just on your show, you use popular internet atheist arguments that are simply unsophisticated and unscholarly. But let’s talk about something.

Your friend in reason,

Anyway, it’s Russell and Jeff on today’s show. See you then.

Anthony has written back, and I’ve responded in detail after the jump.
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Reply to Stephen Feinstein, round one


Hi folks,

I’ve been asked by a third party to get involved in a discussion with a Christian named Stephen Feinstein. Stephen has created his own blog for the occasion, and his very first post is here:

In order to keep this as a one-on-one discussion, I’ll be disabling comments on my posts and so will he. Hope you enjoy the discussion, which I imagine will probably last several weeks. When we both agree that we’re finished, I’ll probably open up a big post-mortem comment thread. Until then, enjoy and be patient.

"Is this the right room for an argument?" "I told you once." "No you haven't." "Yes I have."

Post-debate update: For convenience, I am linking all 10 posts from here.


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Open thread for episode #768

I wasn’t sure — coming back after two weeks out of town caring for a pair of ailing parents (all is well on that front) — that I was entirely on my game for yesterday’s show, but I’ve gotten a lot of compliments about it already, so that’s nice.

Later on at dinner I was talking with one of our studio audience (forgive me for being lousy with names) about one remarkable and highly consistent trait you always see from callers like Matt from Oslo: the grandiose nature of what they claim to be able and about to do — like, oh, debunk evolution — set against the ludicrous lack of preparation that always makes them faceplant pathetically when they try. Matt from Oslo could not even articulate a clear definition of the scientific theory he claimed he was ready to demolish, and his attempt to demolish it was nothing more than a gaggle of logical fallacies weakly trotted out in a way that made it embarrassingly obvious he was just winging it. And he just as obviously hadn’t so much as Googled any real science websites to see if there was, in fact, any information on the evolution of these “unusual” animals he was on about. The theist who called directly after Matt from Oslo was very quickly reduced to stubbornly insisting he had a rational basis for what he believed, while admitting he was falling back on faith at the same time! It’s like they just cannot even get a single thought straight.

On the whole I was satisfied with the way the calls played out. Matt was firm with the theists without blowing up as a lot of folks criticized him for doing last weekend. Though I must admit that Heads or Tails Oreos aren’t my favorite flavor. But isn’t that what diversity is all about?