Fake YouTube account, fake contest

Some rather pitiful attention seeker, using the YouTube username “HelpImSick”, has renamed his channel to “Matthew Dillahunty.” He is currently stealing and reposting ACA videos, and under several videos he has included this description:

May 1st-31st Contest for 2013:

Give a coherent explanation that God exists, that could actually almost convince me that God is true:

I will reward the person with 2500$ for the most convincing argument, and I will announce the winner on the 31st.

The 2500$ is not fake, it is for the most convincing argument, and I will announce the winner on the 31st. Opposed to the Creationist contest, I actually have an open mind.

…Then he goes on to provide all the usual ACA contact info and links.

The $2500 is absolutely fake. There is no contest. Neither Matt nor the ACA would throw that kind of money around in any case, nor would we fake a prize as a lame publicity stunt, just so we could claim that there is no winner and keep the money. Matt’s real YouTube account is SansDeity.

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Board election / open house this Sunday!

We’ve been announcing this for a few weeks, so don’t miss out. The grand opening of the Atheist Community of Austin’s library will take place Sunday, May 5. The election of the new board starts at 12:15, and an open house will follow at 1:00. The address of the new building is 1507 West Koenig Lane, located a bit north of downtown Austin. There will be pizza and cake.

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See you there. CAAAAAAKE!


#811 Open Thread: “Crazy Beliefs” (Or, what paranormal powers did you believe you had?)

Yesterday’s program with Matt and Tracie (me), featured a brief reading of a thread where people posted nutty beliefs they used to hold about paranormal abilities or experiences. Other items mentioned included the importance of supporting groups like “Black Nonbelievers” (blacknonbelievers.org), who face unique issues based on their demographics, which may not be addressed by mainstream atheist groups.

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Presenting the stupidest anti-gay-marriage article in world history, part 1

(TL;DR advisory: This one’s a biggie. The word “asshole” is frequently used.)

A few days back, one of my Facebook friends (well, she’s an IRL friend too, but Facebook is where she contacted me, so anyway…) asked me to help her fisk this article. Took me a while, what with a busy week going on, but I’ve finally managed to get around to it. I decided it would be best done here.

A conundrum that anti-gay bigots have been facing in their steadfast opposition to marriage equality is their inability to name any sort of non-imaginary, material harm that heterosexual marriage would suffer by the legalization of LGBT marriage. That several countries have had marriage equality for a few years now without seeing any negative impact to their citizenry’s breeders only exacerbates the awkwardness. So this fellow John Barber comes along, and he’s all…

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You really, really, really don’t want to read this.

No, seriously…you don’t want to read this. The other day, I got an e-mail that read:

“I think I am the only Human on Earth that can convert you to Christianity. Please contact me.   Maybe we can talk on the phone and than set-up a live interview. I could explain the real position of the Bible. Ask a pendulum if my word are true.”

I decided to respond and there was a quick, confusing e-mail exchange which culminated in the massive e-mail below the fold. After that e-mail he promised I’d never hear from him, but my inbox was flooded with e-mails with the same cut/paste threats from several different e-mail addresses. I tweeted about the exchange and people asked to see this, so I’m going to post it, anonymously.

Please note: The individual is clearly suffering from some mental disorder. Please don’t be disrespectful in the comments. Generic notes about ‘crazy’ don’t help anyone. This isn’t just garden-variety conspiracy and confusion, this is pretty serious and I hope that the individual finds the strength to get some help.

I’m not posting this so that people can laugh – I’m posting it to bring attention to mental illness and how religion and conspiracy-thinking can prey on and amplify mental issues. I’m posting it as a clear example of the difference between ‘your crazy uncle’ and people who have real problems and need our help.

We live in a culture that stigmatizes mental health issues. We need to fix that. If your comments below are out-of-line, you won’t be posting here anymore.

This was the lengthy response that is his new ‘Bible’: [Read more…]

Resources to think about: black atheists

In the aftershow this weekend, a caller asked why there aren’t any black hosts of The Atheist Experience. As we discussed, this isn’t an act of deliberate exclusion. Over time, hosts come forward who are active members of the group and have an interest in representing the community in this way. For whatever reason, there are not very many regular black ACA members. For starters, the 2010 census shows that 8.1% of Austin is black, compared to 11.8% in the rest of Texas and 13.1% of the whole country. For another thing, it’s pretty well documented that African-Americans believe in God at a much higher rate than the general population.

We often get calls asking us to explain this last point, and we are hesitant to speculate about it to blatantly, since there are pitfalls of white people speaking for the black community. I did rattle off the names of a few well known black atheists that I am aware of. One name that came up was Ian Cromwell, a black atheist blogger at The Crommunist Manifesto. Word got back to Ian and I wound up in a brief chat with him last night. Ian mentioned that it may not necessarily be helpful to cast blame on us for not having black hosts, for the reasons I mentioned above. But also, he said that it should be easy for the caller to just google answers to the question of why there aren’t more black atheists.

I told him I don’t know where to find these resources myself, so Ian helped me out by offering up some links for me to check out. I have, and they’re worth reading.

Anyway, check them out. Knowledge is good. It’s also worth mentioning that we have an upcoming plans for Matt to have an on air discussion with David Tamayo, who spoke at the American Atheist convention about encouraging atheism in minority communities.

Scientific cluelessness and idle threats

That’s what we are getting with a recent string of emails from a fellow who signs off every message as “Kevin the Creationist.” Apparently Kevin called the show in 2012, and since then he’s periodically been sending us email trying to tell us about exciting new evidence for a young earth. The latest round began two days ago.

I decided to answer him, but I hate talking into a fact-vacuum, so I figured — hey, it’s been a while since we had a creationist exchange on the blog, right?
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Watch AETV this weekend with guest Dale McGowan / #810 open thread

On this Sunday’s show, Russell and Jen will be talking to Dale McGowan from the Foundation Beyond Belief. Dale is the editor and co-author of Parenting Beyond Belief and Raising Freethinkers, and author of the newly-released Atheism for Dummies. He teaches nonreligious parenting workshops across North America and is founding executive director of Foundation Beyond Belief, a humanist charitable organization. In 2008, Dale was named Harvard Humanist of the Year.

Edit: Also, consider this your open thread.

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