Comments

  1. adamah says

    Great show, guys. I like the way Matt tied calls together, noting common themes amongst the callers.

    On the slavery thing, not only does God’s word regulate slavery in Exodus 21, many Xians are all too willing to forget that per the OT, the “righteous” Noah instituted the practice of slavery after the Flood by cursing the descendants of Ham, hence justifying YHWH’s “Chosen People’s” hegemony, genocide and owning of the Canaanites, the “bad guys” of the OT, the descendants of Ham’s son, Canaan.

    YHWH apparently approved of the blessing of some of Noah’s sons (eg Shem, a name that still is seen in the term for Jews, Semites), and approved of the cursing of others. Hence God not only oversaw the institution, He empowered it, per the OT. In fact, Noah’s name is based on the prophecy of his gather that Noah would secure freedom from manual labor and working the field (Gods curse against Adam), presumably through the institution of slavery!

    That’s a far too-ugly scenario for most Xians to swallow, but it’s the ugly secret amongst Jews who have actually studied the Torah.

  2. toska says

    Great show, John, Matt, and crew! The first caller was ridiculously condescending to Matt. I was actually surprised at how rude he was with making assumptions about Matt’s personal life and telling him that he needs to be “spoon fed” everything because of his military service. And this from someone who was raised Catholic and admits that he doesn’t think critically about his own beliefs (ha!).

  3. says

    The thing that gets me about eye-witness testimony is that I couldn’t accurately report on something I had witnessed 10 years earlier. I remember basically where I was and what I was doing back in 2004, with maybe occasional snippets of memory, but for the most part, it’s all foggy.

  4. Paul Wright says

    Yeah Toska.
    I kept thinking while watching, that the first caller seemed to be making a personal argument against Matt rather than an argument against atheism. He ended up where he belonged though in the end. Talking to a dead phone !

  5. Conversion Tube says

    Matt, why do you spend all this time arguing with Theists, you should be like me and care less.

    Said the guy who has watched countless hours of TAE. Hilarious.

    Thanks to John for spotting that too. I yelled it out loud while on a walk this morning, alone in the dark. lol.

  6. says

    By the way, we should start keeping some kind of tally for how many Christians have been cornered into having to admit that slavery can be okay, on the show. I can think of two.

  7. gshelley says

    That was odd, I don’t think I had ever seen someone who has studied the bible and knows it well and still thinks that Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote the gospels. Not only do they not even claim that themselves, but even the people who gave them those names didn’t think they were eyewitnesses, so even if by some chance the names happened to be correct, it wouldn’t have supported his point.
    While I appreciate Matt having a rule that people who totally lack any moral standards shouldn’t be allowed on the show, it would have been interesting to see if he could explain why he thought the psalm was intended as prophecy, and why he think the events actually happened, rather than someone deciding to write an crucifixion scene based on psalms.

  8. Monocle Smile says

    Was that first caller real? A real asshole, maybe.
    Let’s sum up that call.

    @Jasper, 6
    I can think of G Man (lol) and Seth “I’m emotionally attached to my presuppositionalist script” in Seattle. Haven’t listened beyond the first caller from yesterday, but it sounds like there’s another!

  9. Monocle Smile says

    Wow, that second caller was a crackpot. I didn’t even get the “fake” vibe from him.
    “When I go to work, I’m a slave to my owner.” What the fuck?

  10. bigwhale says

    The thing is, we don’t even need to go back to ancient history to see the bible promoting slavery. Just a few generations ago people were reading chapter and verse to support slavery of African Americans.

  11. Rodney says

    Well, the guy did try to do a tap dance and bring up more modern American slavery as a way to claim that bible slavery is more moral than that, but Matt shut him down.

  12. Frank G. Turner says

    @ gshelley # 7

    That was odd, I don’t think I had ever seen someone who has studied the bible and knows it well and still thinks that Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote the gospels.

    In my more recent experience (and perhaps over the years even as a pseudo-believer as I knew that there were historians and archaeologists who studied more than just the scripts) many an individual that I have met (albeit this primarily applies to those already heavily indoctrinated) who has been instructed to “read the BIble from cover to cover” and to “let God into their heart” will think that they have studied the Bible well. Some will even be aware (as this caller was) that the original texts are not in English and will look deeper into reading the original Greek and Hebrew (if they can learn) and subsequently think that they know the Bible well then. I suspect that if Matt had pressed the caller on which scholars of Biblical scripture who study etymology and linguistics the would probably not have been aware that there are those that even do this and who understand the texts better. As Matt has said before when asked, “Have you read the Bible?,” Matt will answer, “Yes, have you read anything else?” I don’t think the caller has read about any theologians who studied the historicity (if he even knows what historicity is).
    .
    I work with a creationist in the building and I have quoted scripture (albeit English translations, once or twice I will quote an actual Hebrew or Greek phrase) but she claims that I have not read the Bible (even though I obviously have). Her claim is that I did not read it because if I did so with an opened heart and let God into my heart and that if one has then I would come to the conclusion that it is the divine word of God like she did (sounds a bit like “No True Scotsman” fallacy doesn’t it?). So basically she thinks that you have only truly read it if you come to the same conclusion that she does afterwards, which is a huge load of crap. Based on what I know of her, she was heavily indoctrinated already (what she calls “:letting God into your heart” and what I call “brainwashing”) so reading it just re-enforced that belief. Reading it taught her HOW to engage in apologetics. (FYI, she did not even know what they word meant and claimed that she doesn’t “apologize for anything”). She learned HOW to tap dance BY reading it, which does happen. When I read it I had doubts a as believer so I saw the contradictions, I just did not know what to make of them and could not get clear, concise, explicit, rational answers from individuals willing to engage in full disclosure.
    .
    I suspect that is what the caller did, read it from cover to cover but with an already heavily indoctrinated mind, which taught him HOW to tap dance just like he did. As Matt has pointed out numerous times on the show, many a person does read the Bible from cover to cover and in the process becomes agnostic-atheist (if they were not skeptical already) when they see the justification of atrocities and contradictions within. Some need to have the contradictions pointed out to them and some will blow them off. For a long time I just said, “I don’t know why they are there.” I did not try to justify them or defend them though, I just did not speak out against them or acknowledge my doubts openly as I did not know others did like all of you.
    .
    Oh and regarding Matt with another caller, I am angry to some degree at the religious, for being dishonest. And I care about honesty so that would be a reason for doing the show despite freedom from religious indoctrination, to prevent the dishonest indoctrination of others from organizations not willing to engage in complete, unrestricted, explicit disclosure. Anything short of that is a lie and intended to emotionally blackmail people into a closed minded way of thinking. Yes some liberal Xtians like modern Catholics are getting better about it like that caller has mentioned, I was one of them myself. One must ask though, are they getting that way because they genuinely believe in honesty and complete unrestricted disclosure or are they doing it because they have realized that they can’t emotionally blackmail people into their way of thinking anymore and have to convey a pseudo-“open minded” way of thinking to manipulate people? Are they genuinely open minded or do they just want others to think that they are? Based on the recent issue with the Catholic Church and wanting to be more accepting of homosexuals, I think it is the latter instead of the former. They are not really open minded they just want to win political points. I have come to think that this is all that organized religion is, politics.

  13. omar j says

    Tim from Lansing, thank you for being the kind of caller that makes TAE so much fun to watch. Your arrogance is only surpassed by your willful ignorance. Knowing the exact year when the Romans invented crucifixion is brilliant. Let’s just forget that Herodotus described it in his Histories. Who needs facts when you have faith?

  14. Ethan Myerson says

    If I belonged to some group that thought that slavery was moral (or “could be moral, in some circumstances”), the LAST thing I would do is call up a public access show to talk about it. I’d keep my damned mouth shut about it an hope that no one ever brought it up. What possible reason could that caller have in his head that would make him think that’s a defensible position?

  15. Abraham Van Helsing says

    As for Manny, who called asking how to counter the “common creator” argument, you should refer him to the following evidence that makes great sense from an evolutionary standpoint but no sense at all from a common creator standpoint:
    1) ERVs as evidence for evolution – http://www.askabiologist.org.uk/answers/viewtopic.php?id=3914
    2) Genomics Evidence for Common Ancestry — http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2010/PSCF9-10Venema.pdf (sixth page talks about the vitellogenin gene remnant in human genome)
    3) Vestigial Third Eylid in humans —- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plica_semilunaris_of_conjunctiva

  16. Frank G. Turner says

    @Ethan Myerson # 13

    What possible reason could that caller have in his head that would make him think that’s a defensible position?

    It is basically the Euthyphro dilema, he believes that it must be moral because God says so. I think of the caller with morals concerning slavery sort of like one might think of Andrea Yates and morals concerning her children, mentioned later in the show.

  17. Billbo says

    I saw through the first caller immediately as a theist that was lying about it so Matt would not redirect the discussion to his indefensible beliefs. He was trying to get Matt to admit he could be wrong about atheism. Because it is impossible for theists to imagine being wrong about it, they cannot comprehend that atheists are perfectly fine with being wrong about it as long as they are shown conclusive proof. He was a waste of time and should have been hung up on much sooner.

  18. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @omar j
    Good show. I can one-up you thanks to Dr Richard Carrier. With his information, I can put a bound on the first crucifixion at c. 1500 B.C.
    http://infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/graves.html
    I know Dr Carrier has some additional references in his book On The Historicity Of Jesus regarding crucifixion which makes this all rather clear. Specifically, he addresses the hyperspecific modern definition of crucifixion which is effectively a No True Scotsman. Whereas, in ye olden days, AFAIK crucifixion was understood as a much more general term which did include hanging a corpse by a hook. I bet the caller was playing this No True Scotsman game w.r.t. the meaning of crucifixion, ignoring the historical records on the meaning of the word.

  19. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    It was hard to hear the caller. I think he said Cornelius. Was he referencing this guy?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornelius_the_Centurion
    No one even purports to have his recorded eye witness testimony. Rather, all we have is the Christian book of Acts, written far far after the 50-something A.D. date given by the caller.

    Again, it’s hard to understand with the caller’s pronunciation and phone quality. I think he also referenced Tacitus. Again, I have to defer to the excellent work and citations of Dr Richard Carrier who does a great job cataloging all of these shenanigans. In this case, we have conclusive evidence of a change, which some scholars (most scholars?) find irrelevant, but which Dr Carrier argues IMHO convincingly that Tacitus did not refer to Christians, but instead another group. For this, check out his peer reviewed paper, to be published in Vigiliae Christianae, also available in his anthology Hitler Homer Bible Christ.

    I assume the rest of the caller’s references are more of the same bunk.

    Regarding the slavery bit. Well played Matt! Perfect.

  20. says

    Slavery guy – what a maroon. When he said that his boss owned him, I thought “You can’t be serious. Nobody is that stupid – are they? Do Matt & John really need to spell out the differences between a free man engaged in paid employment and him being owned like a tractor?”

    Of course, when he essentially said “If God’s okay with slavery, so am I,” I prayed for Matt to hang up on his ass – and my prayer was answered. Praise be. Having said that, I suspect further cross-examination might’ve been useful. My (thin) hope is he actually thought about what he said and realised that no, perhaps the OT wasn’t exactly right about everything.

    First caller – again, a maroon. First, chiding Matt (and atheists in general) for “wasting” their time and energy criticising theism after he’d watched hours and hours of a show centred on topics he apparently has no interest in! Then that presumptuous and condescending analysis of Matt’s character – what the hell? He just came across like a lazy and shallow thinker, more interested in scolding others and policing their behaviour than asking them respectful questions about why they do what they do.
    _____________________
    Suggestion to hosts: invite some of your, shall we say, “interesting” callers to the open threads here at the blog. Sometimes, even after a very satisfying hang-up, it’d be nice to pursue a topic or two with some of these people. Limitations on time & patience etc. aren’t the same here as on live TV, after all and the two maroons from today could’ve done with some extra interrogation (imho).

  21. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    “Humans and apes have similarities because they have a common creator.”

    Generally IMHO, this is a result of ignorance of the particular facts. I generally respond with the facts to ensure we’re on the same page.

    Let’s talk about the taxonomic tree of life. Let’s restrict ourselves to just animals. If you look at all of the animals, the shape of their bodies, skeleton, organs, etc., they can be grouped into obvious and objective categories, or buckets. For example, dogs, wolves, coyotes, etc., are more similar to each other than any other animal. That forms a bucket. Now, dogs and cats IIRC form a similar bucket. Mammals are another bucket. Note that these buckets contain other buckets. The dog-like bucket is contained in the mammal bucket. The mammal bucket is contained in vertebrate bucket (things with backbones). And so on.

    When you plot these relationships on a piece of paper, you see a mathematical structure called a tree. It’s the exact same structure that you get by taking a single person and plotting their children, their children’s children, and so on.

    This tree, the taxonomic tree of life, was discovered a hundred years before Darwin, by an effectively creationist Christian, Linnaeus. Did you know that?

    A hundred years after Darwin, we developed the tools to sequence DNA. We can then use computers to calculate the distances between the DNA of any two species, and from that we can make the computer generate a visual representation of those relationships. When we do that, we find that the degrees of similarity of DNA of animal species is that of a family tree. In fact, it’s the same family tree discovered by Linnaeus. Did you know that?

    And that’s about where the conversation is probably going to end. The only options an evolution-denying Christian has left is willful stupidity. They can deny the obvious historical facts above, or they can deny the unavoidable conclusions of those facts.

    @Hank_Says
    If we want to do that, as they say in Pharyngula, we have to be nice to our chew toys. That actually sounds pretty negative and demeaning and prejudged. Remind me not to use that phrasing.

  22. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Hank # 21

    Suggestion to hosts: invite some of your, shall we say, “interesting” callers to the open threads here at the blog. Sometimes, even after a very satisfying hang-up, it’d be nice to pursue a topic or two with some of these people. Limitations on time & patience etc. aren’t the same here as on live TV, after all and the two maroons from today could’ve done with some extra interrogation (imho).

    We’ve engaged with some of them, read some of the thread about Christian from show # 886. Believe me he is just as fucked up in here as he was on the call. Filled with some BIG misconceptions despite a more liberal Xtian upbringing. And he is not the only one. Many of them are just as filled with presuppositions online as they are in real life and will knee jerk various reactions.

  23. says

    @EL # 22

    And that’s about where the conversation is probably going to end. The only options an evolution-denying Christian has left is willful stupidity. They can deny the obvious historical facts above, or they can deny the unavoidable conclusions of those facts.

    And you didn’t even get into Chromosome 2 in humans looking just like a mutation of chimp chromosome 2 but with internal telomeres and centromeres exactly where you would expect to find them if said mutation had happened in the precursor of a chimp.
    .
    I brought this up with an individual who was not a creationist per se (he acknowledged that Genesis was basically fiction, poetic mythos), but who would not acknowledge the existence of transitional species. (Despite hundreds upon hundreds in the fossil record and some even alive today, many of which were discovered before Darwin had even died). My personal experience with him (I will call him ‘RG’) was not so dissimilar from Xtian FCP on the other board. RG seemed to need to feel that there was a personal purpose, a special reason so to speak, for his existence. For some reason the idea that he was descended from other primates, even if this was his God’s plan, seemed to make him feel that his life did not have purpose. He had resented had heart surgery and I pointed out that the surgical procedure that he had was indirectly related to evolutionary theory and transitional species analysis. If his surgeon had ANY biology courses that surgeon would have had to have learned evolutionary theory even if he did not agree with it.
    .
    He was ok with that, but still insisted that teaching evolution would draw people away from God and I pointed out that his doctors must be pretty un-godlike then. I also pointed out that he should read Ken Miller (RG had no idea who that was, not surprisingly) if he thought Xtianity was in direct conflict with evolution. He said that he could not believe someone like Ken Miller existed and made the “true Xtian” argument (you know, “No True Scotsman” fallacy?) and got all pissy and agitated. So basically RGs objection to the factual correctness of evolution was due to a psychological block, a belief that his ego could not handle.
    .
    I think that is where some willful ignorance comes from, a protection of one’s personal ego. All I can say to that is, “make your own purpose in life, it is never too late to do that.”

  24. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Frank G. Turner
    If you want to try to blow that guy’s mind, remind him that evolution is a Christian idea – in the following sense. By any reasonable measure, most believers in evolution are Christian. A lot of the people who worked on evolutionary theory and who built it into what it is today have been Christian. The people who accept evolution who also identify as atheist are a small percentage of people who accept evolution.

  25. says

    @ EL # 25
    I did that, as a matter of fact, I pointed out to him that the individuals who taught me evolution were priests (Jesuits at that). Like I said, I think the psychological block came from this desire to believe that he had some sort of objective purpose as compared to making a purpose for himself. He could just could not reconcile something in his mind which said that he had to be created on purpose and that if evolution was true he was by accident. I think the bigger issue in his mind was the false dichotomy that random means unintentional and intentional means not random. And he felt that if he was random then he had no purpose. THe was not and still is not a solid creationist, he was pretty solid on Genesis being fiction.
    .
    I think a lot of the block comes from issues like that, emotional investment, false dichotomies, ego trips, inability to develop ego based coping skills, etc.

  26. Narf says

    @21 – Hank_Says

    Of course, when he essentially said “If God’s okay with slavery, so am I,” I prayed for Matt to hang up on his ass – and my prayer was answered.

    Sounds like a parallel to taking an aspirin and praying for your headache to go away, only in this case, the aspirin was the source of the headache, administered to another person. Is that some variation of isopathy?

  27. Narf says

    @16, 22, 24-26 – Abraham Van Helsing, EL, FGT
    When I hear a theist pull out the common creator nonsense, in a lame attempt to provide an alternative for common descent, I compare it to the excuse that God created the light from stars already on their way to us. Given the vestigial relics and the comparative embryological and genetic evidence, they amount to the same argument. What it boils down to is that God is fucking with us, manufacturing evidence that makes it look like the young-earth “model” is false, when he really did create the universe 6,000 years ago.

    So, Mr. Young-Earther, do you think that the idea of God creating light from distant stars on their way to us is stupid? Then you understand why the common-creator argument is stupid.

    Wait, you don’t think that the light thing is stupid? Ooooooookay. You’ve just slipped off into looney-land, and everyone who isn’t in your cult (and several who are) can see it, even without me explaining the implications of that idea.

  28. Narf says

    @25 – EL

    If you want to try to blow that guy’s mind, remind him that evolution is a Christian idea …

    But not True Christians^TM.

  29. Narf says

    @26 – FGT

    I think the bigger issue in his mind was the false dichotomy that random means unintentional and intentional means not random.

    Dichotomy wasn’t the word you were looking for, but I think we got the idea. False analogy or equivocation.

    I see a lot of that, in the arguments thrown together by creationists. As with everything else in apologetics, the equivocation fallacy is an integral component of every argument.

    Okay, yes, planned/unplanned is a true dichotomy. However, unplanned is not a synonym for random, as you’re now using the latter word, as you move on with your argument against biological evolution … and why are you suddenly talking about cosmology, in your attempt to debunk biological evolution? No, the chemicals did not have to evolve in the same way that plants and animals did. Get the hell back in your cell, Mr. Hovind!

  30. says

    When the guy was talking about the person talking to the woman in the supermarket about her troubles, I couldn’t shake the suspicion that this person may just do that to anyone, and everyone.
    Our local market’s got a similar resident intense little old lady.

    It’s similar to a Tim Minchin quote – to assume that the thing that happened to you is a miracle is to vastly underestimate the amount of things that happen – not sure if it’s his quote originally…

  31. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Narf # 30

    Dichotomy wasn’t the word you were looking for, but I think we got the idea. False analogy or equivocation.

    What I was getting at is the idea that many a creationist says is foolish, that we are an airplane created by a hurricane. I agree that an airplane created in a hurricane is a crazy concept, but it is not a good analogy for evolution. I explain it as being more like a game of Yatzee, where initially all the dice are rolled, but then certain dice are picked out (by natural selection) and NOT re-rolled, so subsequent rolls are not as heavily randomized. So the likelihood of various previously unlikely occurrences gets more common over time.
    .
    Craps is a planned game, it is designed for the house to win. However, it is STILL random and people can STILL win. I read someone on a message board talking about how he could understand the idea that while life emerging from non-life by random occurrences was highly unlikely and the chance of it occurring was like beating the house with 1 to 100 billion odds against. He understood that if you played trillions upon trillions of times your odds of beating the house would get pretty good (in this analogy) and odds of NEVER winning would actually get pretty small. Where he had an issue with abiogenesis and evolution was his mistaken belief that for that to happen one would have to beat the house over and over again, hence the airplane in a hurricane. What he failed to understand is that once you beat the house, the odds change! It does not stay 1 to 100 billion against on every roll. And there are OTHER rolls going on around you, other gambles, other parts of nature and the environment that can influence current and future odds. (I know it is a weird analogy that nature is like a big casino but it works).
    .
    If the odds stayed at 1 to 100 billion against I would agree that it would seem very unlikely that there was not some intent (i.e.: cheating the house) behind repeated winnings, but odds don’t stay static. And non static odds are NOT planned, but they are not infinitely random either.

  32. Kongstad says

    About the “prophecy”. apparantly it was after the gospels that the Christians started believing that this was a prophecy, even though the psalm was suggested by the words of Jesus.

    The word “pierced” seems to be a later error or a fake. In the earliest manuscripts the word Lion is in the place – some later manuscripts shows a word, which has no meaning in Hebrew, which is then changed to the word, “digged”, which is then translated to pierce.

    This site has a long discussion of this psalm.

    It is fair to say that the wording of the passage is in so much doubt, that it is absurd to list it as a fulfilled prophecy.

  33. says

    I’ve just been looking at a couple of christian answers sites regarding the ‘why did god create humanity’ question.

    Terrible answers.
    Fun theme running through them is that we need to be mindful that he didn’t ‘need’ to create us, but that he did it for his pleasure.

    I’m not sure why this thought resurfaced – I think it relates to god’s ‘eternal nature’ mentioned in a couple of these christian sites..

    Creationists have posited that in an eternal universe model there is no chance that we would ever exist as time would never reach the point where the big bang happened due to its infinite nature. (Not necessarily the best scientific hypothesis at present, but it’s one of the options).

    How is that same ‘problem’ not one that an eternal creator has?

  34. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Simon # 34

    Creationists have posited that in an eternal universe model there is no chance that we would ever exist as time would never reach the point where the big bang happened due to its infinite nature. …
    How is that same ‘problem’ not one that an eternal creator has?

    Yeah that is pretty rich. The universe can’t exist because it infinitely regresses back to eternity but a creator that is eternal infinitely regresses back to eternity…., which would mean that it doesn’t exist either. Unless you define it as being capable of such without evidence, which is “defining god into existence.” (Matt has mentioned this many times on the show).
    .
    Whatever the case it sounds more like they have no understanding what “big bang” cosmology is about that they would even bother to propose the aforementioned ideas.

  35. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Frank G. Turner
    (Snark:)
    No no no. Get the theology right! It’s that god is outside of space and time, and thus he’s not vulnerable to the infinite regress which requires the thing to be in time!

    E.G., the same special pleading, but merely in another form.

  36. Frank G. Turner says

    @EL #36
    That is pretty much what I meant by “defining god into existence.” Of course, if a being was outside of space and time and not subject to infinite regress, doesn’t that mean that it would be part of a larger space-time that included both space and time constructs and restricted to not being part of infinite regress of the larger construct? Hence there would potentially be an even larger deity more powerful than it? (I went through this in another post).

  37. Gurgen says

    Next time anyone brings up clairvoyants/mediums/whatever, tell them about Derren Brown. There’s a ton of stuff from him on youtube. He can do everything the psychics/etc. can do but he admits that it’s all tricks and even explains them.

    And WRT eyewitnesses … I remember seeing a football/soccer game where we were in a winning position. With less than 15 minutes to go, an eighteen year old defender comes on. Within one minute of coming on the field, he commits a penalty foul. The penalty is converted and we’re elminiated from the cup.
    I was absolutely certain of these details. However, when challenged on this, I tried to look it up and found that while most details were correct … it wasn’t a cup game. I could have sworn that it was a cup game! It seems that in my mind a cup game and a league game got merged. I’ve tried to figure out when this happened and I have been able to narrow it down to “less than a decade”. And this stuff mattered to me at the time. So, in less than 10 years my eyewitness account of an event that mattered to me became fundamentally warped in my head. And people try to defend stuff written decades after the supposed event? Ooookay.

  38. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I, doesn’t that mean that it would be part of a larger space-time that included both space and time constructs and restricted to not being part of infinite regress of the larger construct?

    I honestly don’t know what it means to be outside of time and space. I’ve never seen such a thing. I have no idea what sort of properties it might have.

  39. gshelley says

    It might be interesting to see someone who made the “we know who wrote the gospels, Mathew, Mark, Luke and John” be challenged more on that – ask them “Mark Who? When was he born? Where was he born? When did write it? where did he write it?” and of course, once they can’t answer any of that, “How do you know”
    there is an extent that this applies to many ancient authors, but the people making the gospel claims ahve probably neer even considered it

  40. Jehovah God says

    Even though I’m all-knowing, who the Hell does Dillahunty think he is, saying I shouldn’t command slavery? I’ll command whatever I wanna command!

  41. Conversion Tube says

    Oh ya the woman in the super market.

    When the called asked what kind of explanation do you give to people who make these claims.

    Right away I thought, well clearly she knew someone involved in the cheating, perhaps she heard through gossip. And it pissed her off that someone could be lied to like that for some many years. She could have seen pictures or met her at another time through other people.

    It may have been coincidence she ran into her at the store but she took that random meeting to tell her what was up.

    It’s not even unlikely this would happen. People talk about sensational stories that happen in their community.

  42. Jody Mack says

    Another good place for Tim to get schooled on the whole pierced thing and the supposed ‘prophesy’ http://outreachjudaism.org/crucifixion-psalm/

    And Tim, dude, Tacitus was BORN in 56 CE – that is not when he wrote his writings. His Annals were the short little blurb on Jesus/Christians is found was written in the second century (116 CE).

    Sad as that is, though, these are the callers I really LOVE. I wish the call had stayed on his mistaken ideas about prophesy and the bible, because that would have been fun! 🙂 I hope he calls back so we can address more of the misinformation he thinks he knows.

    As for the first caller who views apatheism or apa-Christianity as a virtue, well, I just don’t get that. I’m with Matt – what more important question is there? As an atheist, I am always open to that ‘Ah-ha!’ moment where a Christian is going to convince me that it’s real. Rev 3:15 actually says that god likes atheists better than luke-warm Christians 😉 so first caller, you’re just wrong!

    Overall great show!!! 🙂

  43. says

    Tacitus on Christ

    “Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind”.
    (Tacitus, the Annals (15.44))

    What follows you can easily look up on the internet by typing Cornelius Tacitus into a search engine. There are plenty of articles on Tacitus. Even some that specifically go into lengths into Tacitus and Christ connection. And you can download his translated books for free and look up the text for yourself.
    The part that is used as proof is written in the context of the burning of Rome under Nero. Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a Roman historian and member of the Roman Senate. He has written several books on the history of room. The above paragraph he writes around 100 AD. The burning of Rome happened in the year 64 AD. At that time Tacitus himself was around eight years old. Christ, if he existed died around 30 AD.
    This text is the one that is referred to by people who claim that Tacitus gives proof for the existence of Christ.

    I beg to differ.

    Some scholars point out that Tacitus was known for his fact checking and that he probably knew about the Christians because he was a member of group of priests that supervised foreign cults. And thus, according to this interpretation Tacitus checked his facts and he would have found out the fact of Christ existence if he did exist. The argument is: Tacitus is a reliable source hence what he writes is reliable. Tacitus writes about Christ, Tacitus checked his facts, Tacitus is reliable, hence Christ exists.
    Is it possible that Tacitus is reliable but what he writes about is not?
    In fact it is.
    And in fact he says so himself.
    Let’s look closely about what Tacitus writes:

    Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace.
    It is very clear what Tacitus says here: my source on the Christians is the populace: general held opinion.
    It might be very well that this vision held by the populace, which he seems to share as he calls Christians evil, was established during his tenure as priest overseeing foreign cults. If read closer you actually see this idea supported as he calls Christ Christ, which, if he was to read about this man from, say, an official paper by Pilate, would not have been his name. Christ is a title Christians gave to Jesus.. it is not a name the Romans would have used to describe this man. And isn’t it surprising that he doesn’t mention the name Jesus at all? But to describe the cult by the name Christians would be logical because they would have identified themselves as such to the people of Rome and thus in turn be called like that by this same people. And Tacitus clearly says so.
    Tacitus is actually writing down generally held opinion, he says so himself, and he joins the general held opinion in that the cult is mischievous and evil. Statements that he does without going into specifics. This last fact is actually interesting for someone who is supposed to check his facts. Why does he call the Christians evil, mischievous and superstitious without elaborating?
    It is probably that he wasn’t interested at all in them and he merely mentioned them because Nero shifted the blame for the burning of Rome.
    He simply doesn’t say much about the existence of Christ other that there was a group of people in Rome who were called Christians and are claimed to be named after someone called Christ who is claimed to have died in Judea under the governorship of Pilate during the reign of Tiberius.
    Trying to squeeze out more is like trying to squeeze out more from a banana peel: fruitless.

  44. Monocle Smile says

    @Jody Mack, 43

    It seems that AXP has evolved to the point where they’d rather only have productive conversations. Speaking further with Tim, who’s a slavery apologist, would not be productive. Appealing to the lowest common denominator, while sometimes amusing, does not further the goals of the ACA. I do understand what you’re saying.

    Apatheists, in my book, are generally willfully ignorant misanthropes. In order to be totally apathetic to the entire issue, you either have to be completely in the dark about what religion is doing to humanity or just not care. It’s usually some of both.

  45. Jody Mack says

    I agree that talking about the slavery thing wouldn’t be good. As I said, I would have enjoyed the prophesy and bible history discussions. I wish there were more people like that who called. Just my personal interest. Some atheists are more drawn to philosophical reasons for not believing, some more toward evolution and scientific reasons. My bigger interest/reason to reject belief is silence of history, bible contradictions, etc. That’s why I was kind of excited at first when Tim called, but then disappointed when it morphed into the slavery discussion. 🙂

  46. Monocle Smile says

    @Jody Mack

    The thing is…we don’t actually need a reason to “reject belief.” It’s just a hilarious bonus when theists get things flatly wrong when defending their dogma.

    Sometimes I play a fractal wrongness game with these types. I try to see how many obvious falsehoods I can grant as true for the sake of argument and still have the theist’s argument fall flat.

  47. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Jody Mack # 45

    That’s why I was kind of excited at first when Tim called, but then disappointed when it morphed into the slavery discussion.

    I think the issue at hand is that TAE is basically for people on the fence, sort of starting to doubt the validity of their beliefs but still hung up on what they have been taught and not seeing it as a huge systematic lie,… yet. The individual who made the call is probably so buried / marinated in his beliefs / emotional commitment that he believes whatever his imaginary friend / authority says is ok is ok. He probably conveniently ignores plenty of it and won’t stone his children if they are unruly, but you never know how far some individuals will go (think Andrea Yates).
    .
    Howwever, by demonstrating how loony people like this are in their thinking this helps some who are on the fence to distance themselves fromt he looniness. Demonstrating that this man would be ok with slavery, howver blind and foolish this may be, may not help other blind and foolish people but does open the eyes of others. (Even as a believer I didn’t buy some of this crap and saw this as a product of the people of the time and not anything divinely inspired by an imaginary freind/authority figure).

  48. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Gurgen # 39 (And EL if you are reading)

    And people try to defend stuff written decades after the supposed event? Ooookay.

    If I were EL (pardon me for copying your style, doing it to demonstrate a point here) I might say soimething to the effect of, “Get your theology right, it doesn’t matter that it was years after the event God divinely inspired the writers with inspirational insight as good as an eyewitness acount!” (As EL would say, basically special pleading in another form).
    .
    Did I get that right EL?
    .
    What I think I am seeing is this ongoing attitude of presuppositional apologetics where the person “can’t be wrong at all under any circumstances” (Matt DIllahunty said it that way somewhere, I think regarding StB). That tends to be my first indication that the person has a weak position to begin with, it can’t withstand a challenge or scrutiny so one has to plead for it not to be scrutinized or challenged (politicians do it all the time).

  49. corwyn says

    Get your theology right, it doesn’t matter that it was years after the event God divinely inspired the writers with inspirational insight as good as an eyewitness account!

    Or even if the event actually happened.

    In which case, none of the miracles nor the atrocities needs to have actually happened.

  50. Fred says

    “It seems that AXP has devolved to the point where they’d rather only have productive conversations.” Fixed.
    I can’t get enough crazy callers!
    A personal favorite was the smug old guy who called a few times, attacking hosts’ lack of credentials every time they shot down his ignorant Bible claims.

  51. Frank G. Turner says

    @corwynn # 49

    Or even if the event actually happened.
    In which case, none of the miracles nor the atrocities needs to have actually happened.

    Oh, you mean what William Lane Craig’s arguments basically boil down to (after you pull out all the lofty language)?
    .
    Yeah I can see that. It is still the “I can’t possibly be wrong.
    .
    Has anyone else ever thought of something, if you read “The Analogy of the Cave” from the Republic, have you ever thought that Creationists are basically like the prisoners in the cave forced to stare at the wall? (I think that i mentioned this on another board).

  52. says

    good episode guys.

    i’d just like to add, if psalms did in fact refer to crucifixion then the claim that it was not invented for another 600 or so years is absurd, as it had been described in psalms. any person of authority could read the Hebrew text and decide to execute someone in that fashion; so the assertion that a crucifixion occurring in psalms is prophecy, alluding to the death of Christ, is patently absurd. even if the caller was correct also in saying that the first crucifixion took place in 150bc, then why weren’t that 180 years worth of crucifixions considered the event that was prophecised? lots of problems wit that logic.

  53. Monocle Smile says

    @Fred, 52

    Remember what I said about appealing to the lowest common denominator? Yeah.

    AXP has decided to not be Bill O’Reilly or Alex Jones. They should be commended, not criticized, for that decision.

  54. blue says

    @Frank G Turner

    I like your casino/craps analogy. I’d refine by mentioning it’s a casino as large as the whole planet, and the players are the size of molecules, so there were literally billions of throws being made each second.

  55. Frank G. Turner says

    @ blue # 58
    Well thank you. I would take it a step further to demonstrate that many throws are not as completely random as one thinks since recently, previously, currently being made, and recent subsequent throws that are going to be made may affect current throws. So the casino is pretty interactive as some throws are affecting what is going on.
    .
    What do you think of the Analogy of the Cave being relevant?

  56. Billbo says

    #32 and #59 I don’t think you understand how probability works. Odds in rolling dice do not change based on previous outcomes.

  57. Billbo says

    I get what he is trying to say about evolution and the origin of life. And I like most of the things the guy says (his intent). But I think it is a bad idea to say that dice rolls change based on other rolls. It is a poor analogy.

  58. frankgturner says

    @Billbo
    I have taught statistics to others and gotten them through many difficult classes. Believe me I did not intend for it to be a detail for detail accurate analogy, merely to get individuals to realize that sometimes the likelihood of certain things happening at random may not be as unlikely as one thinks.
    .
    A better analogy is that certain rolls are not remade over and over again (hence why I mention Yahtzee). I’ve been looking for better analogies for this though and I am more than willing to entertain new ideas if you have them.

  59. Gav S says

    The biggest problem with the hurricane produicng the airplane analogy is that airplanes do not self reproduce.

    same is true with the watch analogy, something that does not self replciate has no known mechanism or process by which it became complex, but anything that self replicates WILL undergo just such a process; natural selection.

    That in mind, it may be , as far as anyone knows, that complex self replicating arrangements of matter (such as us) are extremely probable, both on this planet and indeed in various places across the universe.