You might be a dumbass if…

…you get your weekend schedules confused, and think you’re co-hosting the show the weekend after you’re actually slated to do it. Derp.

Anyway, consider this the open thread for episode #777. And hey, it just meant Josh got another chance to be on the show! He’s good people.

Speaking of co-hosting drama: You might also be a dumbass if your obsessive hate-on for a certain female personality in the atheist/skeptical community becomes so irrational and overwrought that it prompts you actually to create an online petition in an attempt to get her ousted from her co-host slot on a podcast, utterly oblivious to the deep and hilarious irony in whining about “divisiveness” and “the free exchange of ideas” while doing so (and this on top of being a clueless n00b who fails to realize that such a stupid petition would bring the trollocopters flying in like that scene from Apocalypse Now).

I’m glad I’m only the first kind of dumbass.


  1. FromHereOn says

    777 was the first show I’ve attended. I had a blast, but I didn’t get to meet you or the majority of the folks who were tied up in Denver. There may have been a YouTube upload worthy call in there somewhere. Josh did great, but something was off-putting about having a bald co-host… Thanks for letting me hang out!


  2. says

    would bring the trollocopters flying in like that scene from Apocalypse Now

    Hey, let’s not do this by halves: get the orchestra playing Act III of The Valkyrie and I’ll sing the Ho-jo-to-ho!s for you. 🙂

    Speaking of fans of that other Wagner, look who commented on the troll petition

  3. jdon says

    I feel like the historian lady would have been yelling at the screen when the last dude started up on his “if we take the Aristotelian approach to verifying authors” bent.

  4. Michael says

    whoahaha, that made me laugh. whats up with this wierd obsesion with her? some one is butt hurt real bad

  5. NH says

    Is this saying it’s ironic to try to get someone removed for being divisive? Or is it claiming that Rebecca Watson isn’t divisive and that’s why it’s ironic? Really, I’m failing to see where the irony is here. Don’t get me wrong, I think the petition is stupid and not likely to result in anything. It’s just that the word “irony” has a very specific meaning and I’m not seeing that here.
    Or maybe I’m taking Martin’s use of the term too serious.

  6. Akira MacKenzie says

    The irony lies in…

    1)That the MRA dudebros who target Rebecca insist that she is the figurehead of a militant feminist cabal out to silence and censor anyone who doesn’t toe their “man-hating,” “anti-sex” line.

    2) They seem to think that it is Rebecca is the source of the DEEEEEEP RIIIIIIFTS rather than their own opinions and actions.

  7. Randy says

    Episode #777 shows up in the Ustream archive as a bunch of separate bits of the show, many of which are only 5 seconds or less. Anybody directly responsible for this whose ass I can stomp, or is it a weird thing that Ustream did to the show without anybody’s consent? There’s an ass clearly in need of stomping. Just point me in the right direction. Thanks in advance!

  8. Andrew says

    *atomic facepalm*

    Rebecca Watson has to be the most viciously straw-manned person on the internets.

  9. tracieh says

    It’s also somewhat ironic to be trying to silence a person, and claiming the reason for trying to control the dialog is that the person you want to silence is authoritarian. There are atheist shows that present homophobic ideas. I don’t start up campaigns to try and shut them down (or up). Let them speak–so that people can hear their “side.” And I am happy to respond and let others decide who is on the side of right and sane. Watson has detractors and supporters, which means that she does, in fact, resonate positively with some segment of the movement. What is the harm in allowing her to speak, if that attitude already exists? Is someone simply stating the views of those already-existent others “causing” a division, or merely expressing the “divisive” views already in play?

    Having attended many films and art exhibits that required me to walk through conservative picket lines to buy a ticket, I can say that if someone doesn’t like a thing, they don’t have to subscribe to it. But I’m damn glad I was afforded the opportunity to go and see movies and art–and buy and read books once banned in the U.S.–and that it was not denied to me by others who opposed the views expressed. Open, public dialog is a good thing. And the more controversial–the fucking better! If the woman was a lone wingnut crying in the wilderness–the I would say “let her cry out alone in the wilderness”–just like Fred Phelps. But if she has strong support (even with strong opposition), then clearly she has hit a nerve–and that is what free speech and public dialog are about–hitting the fucking nerves. Speech that offends or causes substantial controversy is the VERY speech that should be examined, not banned. It demonstrates a topic that *should* be addressed, because it’s an area where people clearly do not agree. Asking to silence the opposing viewpoint is oppressive and cowardly. Whether someone agrees with her or not–they cannot deny many do support her. If they want to address it, fine. But silence it? They’re clearly on the side of wrong there.

  10. Kes says

    Oh wow. They set the modest goal of *200* signatures, and they are still 26 short. The fail is so pathetic I almost feel bad for them. Almost.

  11. Aaron says

    Re: The first caller (taking the classes at his university) — I heartily applaud him for taking initiative to actually LEARN THE MATERIAL. Seriously. I have a lot of respect for that.

    That said — EvoBio and Genetics are not 100-level courses, and it sounds like he’s really struggling with some of the fundamentals, based on his difficulty with explaining the concepts that he’s been exposed to so far. (He was reciting his textbook verbatim, rather than synthesizing and re-stating the material, as someone would do if they had a more thorough understanding of something).

    I think he’s going to find a lot of it just goes over his head, and his grades are going to suffer. I’m a little surprised he was allowed to take it. Still — I hope he persists, and maybe he will buckle down and start backfilling his knowledge with more foundational stuff.

    I wish more universities offered more science surveys courses for people that are non-science majors but still want to learn the concepts. The last Uni I worked at had this (bio, stats, and biochem for non-science majors…generally Nursing students).

    I sincerely wish him the best of luck, though.

  12. says

    Could we maybe suggest Potholer54’s excellent web series on the age of the earth, evolution etc.

    Potholer54 is a well-respected science journalist and his videos are well researched and easy to understand. There are great bits on things like ring species which easily deal with the asinine micro-macro evolution bullshit.

    AronRa’s vids are a great follow-up, but may leave viewers like this one, who appears to need spoon-feeding. Its the advanced class theists, pre-school for many skeptics.

    The last caller needs to email Matt and then call back. AND learn to listen!

    Great show as usual! Love seeing new hosts, miss Martin though.


  13. Aaron says

    +100000 for Potholer54. I love his series.

    I agree that those videos would be ideal for this caller — particularly his videos specifically dealing with creationist claims. He had a channel for a while called potholer54debunks, but I think that is since defunct.

  14. Proxer says

    The most popular signature on the petition? Rebecca Watson’s.

    At least half of the petitions signers are clearly poking fun. Some of them are downright hilarious.

  15. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Interesting how quickly their deep and abiding love for FRRREEEEEEE SPPPPPEEECCCCCHHH vanishes the instant it suits them to disappear.

  16. Rob says

    Who cares? Why draw attention to such obvious trolls? Don’t you have anything better to do, Martin?

  17. geru says

    My take on the whole historical Jesus issue is that even if it could be proven that a teacher and a carpenter named Jesus really existed in the time he was supposed to, this guy would have nothing significant in common with the supernatural character of Jesus in the Bible, who was born of a Holy Spirit and healed people with some godly powers. In that sense, it would make about as much sense to say that Julius Caesar was the historical Jesus. Though he did actually exist, it wouldn’t make any sense to connect him to the Jesus character of the Bible.

    Claiming otherwise is just an apologists way of having their cake and eating it too, saying something that might be factual but then using this assertion to support something completely different.

  18. JC88 says

    I don’t pretend to understand all of the recent drama surrounding Rebecca Watson. From the little I’ve seen this video seems to be the most rational: . To me the petition thing is just silly, stacked on top of a whole bunch of other silly (from both sides perhaps?).

  19. says

    Oops. Sorry. I never got the memo that we’re only supposed to blog about things here that interest Rob. You’ll have to look elsewhere if you enjoy having a laugh over stupid people.

  20. Kaj says

    Very true. I saw that video a while back, and it had to be the most calm voice in the discussion.

    I did have a criticism about Watson, however, in how she presented the e-mails she received after those after the incident. The threatening ones, etc. I have no problem with.

    I was just a little annoyed to hear how she hung up Stef McGraw’s message of polite disagreement to the whole audience as an example of how young woman are supposed to be ignorant of feminism. I thought it was a little one-sided to vent your disagreement with an audience member that hardly has the opportunity to respond or elaborate.

    Still, I don’t really bang around the skeptic community much, and I probably wouldn’t have heard of her (or most of the others involved) yet if it weren’t for this kerfuffle. I caught most of this after it unraveled, so it made for interesting reading.

  21. JC88 says

    Certainly is entertaining for those of us somewhat distanced from the event and enjoy watching the extremes duke it out. On one hand we have those that are perhaps overly liberal in their view of human interaction, and on the other hand we have those that view some common forms of basic human interaction as needing to be sanitized. I suppose that I’m on the more liberal side…looking less at the plight of women and more at how normal interactions (sexual and non-sexual…believe it or not sexual is “normal”) among people (all people) play into developing relationships on multiple levels.

  22. Stan says

    Not to be too critical, but what a fucked-up episode. With the exception of the historian (who was relaxed, confident in her knowledge, good-natured and helpful), every caller had serious issues with cognitive reasoning and seemed unable to articulate their thoughts clearly and succintly.

    I think Josh is great, and many of his comments are very incisive. However, he hasn’t quite found his rhythm and some of his interjections tend to get lost as a result. (Not a criticism, just an observation. I appreciate how difficult it can be to step in front of the cameras as a last-minute replacement.)

  23. JJR says

    Russell Glasser has made this point a number of times on the show, in fact. For comparison, he references the fact that at least one of the characters in the TV show Seinfeld is based on a real person.

  24. Muz says

    The video is decent enough, but that’s really only adding some context to Dawkins’ remarks. They were pretty significant in some ways to the whole schism and who fell on what side. But really on the whole I don’t know if we can hang the whole thing on them.

    There’s questions about the McGraw aspect, whether RW was to harsh back to a guy who’s infamously rude and supercilious to begin with, yes. I tend to agree that Misogyny and Sexism are harsh words and they’re usually used in a confusing broader sense (ie calling someone’s behaviour misogynist is not always saying it comes from a genuine personal hatred of women, but as a product of a misogynist culture. Agree or disagree with that notion, it’s still often a more subtle and less personal point than it seems). People don’t understand this distinction and they get annoyed if they don’t feel they hate women. So I think people should be more careful how they use it if they want to make a better impact (of course there seems to be more and more outright anti feminists appearing from the woodwork who you could never reach anyway).
    It’s also true RW has kind of made a thing about discussing peoples attitudes towards women at conventions and online and even if it’s a bit over done (and I’m not saying it is) it would appear she does have a point and it’s worth talking about.

    What really went out though, and keeps coming back through all this, is “Guys, don’t do that”. Whatever Watson’s errors of tact and method, they have no bearing on that that I can see. It wasn’t siding with or against Dawkins that made that a thing. That little phrase was its own thing, and stayed that way, attracting ire from people who know nothing of the talks leading up to that video. It may not be the trials of women in Islamic countries, but it’s the proverbial elephant in the room as far as western societies’ remaining troubles with women goes.

  25. randomguy says

    Thanks for the info.

    I just signed the petition to have her removed, what a relief that would be. We can seriously do better than her. You can pick a student in college more intelligent, coherent and informed than her.