Comments

  1. Monocle Smile says

    @Jasper
    He’s a classical example of a scripted theist. He’s utterly incapable of operating outside his simple, stupid script. All he wanted to do was preach (poorly), not have a discussion.

    He gets a little scary later when he implies that might makes right and then gets entirely asinine when he says that god didn’t say Eve would die on the same day she ate the fruit. Russell read the verse and he still denied it.

  2. Max says

    Re: the last caller, can someone explain how “moderates act as a shield for the extermists” is fine for Christianity, but when used regarding Islam, suddenly they’re a “racist”? I’ve loved Lynnea’s contributions to the show in the past, so I really hope she isn’t drinking the Islamophobia kool-aid. What am I missing here? Their response to that caller seemed super contradictory and ridiculous.

  3. Monocle Smile says

    I think Russell and Lynnea handled that joker well, but people like Steve are in serious need of a Matt-style beatdown. What an obnoxious dickweed.

  4. Monocle Smile says

    @Max
    Lynnea’s analogy wasn’t perfect, but I don’t think you’re addressing the point. Yes, moderates act as a shield for the extremists, but that doesn’t mean they’re equally culpable for the actions of said extremists. There are also a number of racist undertones in much of the criticism leveled at Islam in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, although I’m aware that it’s not entirely obvious. Granted, I feel that Russell in particular is a bit soft on Islam, but I think the goal is to level criticism for good reasons, not bad ones.

    I do think Lynnea’s later comments were pretty off-target and she unwittingly equated Arabs with Muslims.

  5. says

    @3 MS

    He gets a little scary later when he implies that might makes right

    To me, that was the end of the discussion. Okay, sure, you’re (the caller) fine with following the arbitrary whims of a dictator, regardless of whether we can know whether those dictates are good or not. I’m not.

    The idea that – let’s just go ahead and do it because it doesn’t contradict my morality (but it doesn’t)(even though it does)(but it doesn’t) – is the flimsiest basis of doing so.

    Each time I get the “God works in mysterious ways” or “you can’t understand God’s ways/plan“, my response is “Fine, then it’s automatically rejected. If I can’t understand it, I can’t accept it as factual.

    If slavery is moral by human standards, is there slavery in heaven? In the spiritual realm where the spiritual morality is happening? If God commanded it, then it should have been moral at some level, right?

  6. Matt Gerrans says

    God damned it. Don’t let people get away with saying that the “serpent” in Genesis was Satan. Satan was not invented for another 700 odd pages. That is post hoc Christian tweaking of their own mythology. Read the book: it says the serpent (who apparently had legs) was the cleverest of the beasts. That’s why it could talk and nobody was surprised. It clearly does not say that the serpent represented or was “indwelled” by some more sinister character. When Christians say that the serpent was Satan, it is a great opportunity to show them that they don’t even correctly know what the hell they believe.

    Ack, Lynnea conflating race and religion. That’s a bad argument. Additionally Russell engaged in a bit of straw man with the “all Muslims” stuff. Reminds me of Ben Affleck. To notice a connection between a religion’s violent dogma and the behavior of its adherents is not to say that *all* believers in that irrational belief system are violent. Let’s just say that it isn’t fair to pain all ISIS members as violent terrorists, because I’m sure we can find at least one of them (say a technician or chauffeur or cook or something) who hasn’t killed people. So let’s not be gross and racist about ISIS!

  7. Matt Gerrans says

    Dang — “…isn’t fair to pain all ISIS members…” should be “…isn’t fair to paint all ISIS members…”

  8. Taylor Thompson says

    @max I agree with you. I think the last caller was referring to Sam Harris’ reaction that no major media outlets would publish the cartoons of the previous Charlie Hebdo or the one after the attack, the Hebdo attack is much more serious than the bombing in colorado or the other examples she was bringing up. The staff of Charlie Hebdo were on kill lists, with others such as Rushdie and Ayan Hirsi Ali. It was an attack on free speech, the lynchpin in any democratic society, it’s hard to believe she would equate that to a racist nut bag in Colorado. And Lynneas cry of racism after every turn was very annoying, this is exactly what Sam Harris was talking about on Bill Maher, every criticism of Islam is conflated with bigotry and racism and Lynnea did a glorious job exemplifying that. ‘Are you white?’ what does that have to do with anything, if I remember correctly the last caller never brought up race or even Arabs the entire conversation. I listen to axp every week and this episode was by far the most disappointing.

  9. Russell Glasser says

    Not all criticism of Islam is racial, and if you take a minute to listen to all the things we actually said in the episode, Lynnea and I both criticized Islam plenty. And I said, quite directly, that ideology is one major factor (among many) that contributes to violent terrorist attacks.

    What I have said, and I stand by it, is that Islam is often criticized in a racially charged way. This has been highlighted pretty effectively by Heina Dadabhoy, who is an ex-Muslim.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/heinous/2014/10/07/racialized-criticism-islam/

    I don’t object to criticism of Islam. I object to incompetent criticism of Islam. It is absolutely possible to go after Muslims in a racist way, and it’s disingenuous to state otherwise. (PLEASE read the above post before responding to that last statement.) I also think that those who say “It’s impossible to criticize Islam without being called racist” are not examining the kinds of criticism that are being put forward.

  10. Zaphod says

    The “we cannot hold God to our moral standard because we are humans and god isn’t” thing drove me nuts. Especially when he kept pointing out that we don’t hold animals to moral standards of humans (I heard him start to try to give the lion killing a gazelle example before he was cut off) but I think the hosts missed an opportunity here: *why* don’t we hold animals to the same moral standard?

    The caller justified not applying our morals to animals by just making it a species thing. Anything not homo-sapien cannot be measured by our (human) morality. But I don’t exempt them of morality based on DNA, I base it on sentience, as I think we all do.

    The problem is we are only aware (for certain) of one species that has sentience. Us. if there was another species capable of sentient thought on our level, I think we would all agree that we can hold that species morally accountable. However, the caller automatically rejected ANYTHING not human being held to our standard.

    Personally, I think the caller put God on the same level (below us in sentience) as he did animals and didn’t even notice.

  11. Monocle Smile says

    @Taylor
    I think you’re swinging far too hard in the other direction. Were we listening to the same call? Because Lynnea didn’t “equate” shit. She was making an analogy. It wasn’t a great one, but it wasn’t meant to be an equation. Yes, Islam tends to have more than its fair share of extremists in today’s world than other religions. No, this doesn’t mean that all Muslims are terrorists or are terrible people or are responsible for the actions of said extremists.

    Harris is completely wrong when he implies that “every criticism of Islam is conflated with bigotry and racism.” There are plenty of legitimate criticisms of Islam. For some reason, an awful lot of people want to instead make stupid statements about how Muslims are “invading their country” or how they all want to force the whole planet to don the burka, and it’s not out of line to label those criticisms as unproductive and bigoted. Now, I will say that people like Ben Affleck cry “Islamophobia” when it doesn’t apply and are dumb for dismissing the legitimate criticisms as well.

    I didn’t hear Lynnea cry “racism” once or even hint at doing so. Maybe a time stamp would help?

  12. Taylor Thompson says

    Anyone who says that criticism of Islam is never racilly driven would be lying to themselves. I fully concede that often, especially in America, the criticism of Islam is racially driven. But that’s why it’s critical that we point out not all criticism is and that there are completely rational reasons to criticize Islam. the last caller didn’t bring up race once and Lynnea called him out, or tried to at least, for being racist and in some way encouraging him to feel white guilt for other people’s actions and I highly object to that type of response to a pretty reasonable question. There is definitely a problem occurring culturally when we can’t openly discuss the correlation between a certain set of actions and the beliefs professed by the person who commits those actions without being called racist for it, and as said many times Islam is not a race. It’s especially troubling when we can’t discuss it on an atheist public broadcast show who aren’t kissing sponsor’s ass and don’t have to be PC about everything, that’s why I love watching the show, that’s why I’m a weekly listener, I just wish that the topic can actually be discussed, because it seemed like he was being attacked for these racist straw men arguments and that wasn’t he was getting to. I personally have wanted to call in to discuss this but never get the time while its live.

  13. Monocle Smile says

    @Taylor

    the last caller didn’t bring up race once and Lynnea called him out, or tried to at least, for being racist and in some way encouraging him to feel white guilt for other people’s actions

    Wow, you really didn’t understand what was going on. That’s not even remotely close to what Lynnea was communicating. In fact, she was advocating the opposite. How did you miss this by a country mile?

    There is definitely a problem occurring culturally when we can’t openly discuss the correlation between a certain set of actions and the beliefs professed by the person who commits those actions without being called racist for it

    What? When has that ever happened on the show? The caller wasn’t being “attacked” for anything; the goal was to explain that you can’t hold all Muslims responsible for things like the Hebdo shootings. Now, did Islam play a definite part in the motives for those shootings? Sure. But we shouldn’t act as if the attack was Islam as a monolithic entity assaulting the Western world.

    There’s also a bit of a troubling double standard here. How about a better analogy than the one Lynnea used that you woefully misunderstood? Anders Breivik, the Norwegian nutter who slaughtered a shit ton of people, wrote an absolutely massive Christian manifesto before he committed his crimes. Exactly how many people in the media world laid blame at the feet of Christianity? Zero, as far as I know. I would love to be corrected.

  14. StonedRanger says

    If god works in mysterious ways, and we cant understand his/its plan, how is it that these Christians can understand it? If its above my ability, why isn’t it above their ability to understand? I know, mainly because they are making shit up, but that’s a pretty big flaw in any argument.

  15. Taylor Thompson says

    @monocle she literally asked him if he was white, asked him about the NAACP bombing and asked whether he should apologize publicly for the bombing. Obviously not but that’s a complete misrepresentation of his question, he was referring to the media outlets who have somewhat of a responsibility to publish news and the fact that nobody would show the cartoons, and nobody except racist fox news pundits would criticize the killers beliefs. The caller wasn’t asking for an apology, he was simply inquiring about their thoughts of why it is so difficult for people to be honest about Islam.
    And when did the caller ever say he wanted to condemn all of Islam for the actions of a few people? This is the whole point!!!! the caller calls in to discuss the relationship between fear of being viewed racist or a bigot and criticizing islam, he has a valid point and you continue to prove it. Who acts as if the entire whole of Islam is responsible for the shootings? Who says that? I don’t know of one person who does, but at soon as you start questioning the doctrines of Islam and how they attribute to these killings the discussion ends, you literally can’t get past prompting the discussion before it becomes something like this, people trying to back track and justify that they aren’t racist or a bigot.
    as far as your Norwegian reference goes I’d say the exact same thing! The media needs to be more forthright in covering these stories, idk how my view that we should openly discuss the correlation between religious beliefs and actions is a double standard when it comes to this story. I guess you were attacking another straw man before ever establishing what my views were, it’s alright, I’m used to it, but like I’ve said before all these straw man arguments just hinder us from getting to the meat of the question here which is how much religious beliefs really do affect the world around us, let’s openly talk about that and stop pointing fingers at people who just want to discuss as if they’re part of the problem. The end result of the last call was ‘well there are bad people and some are inspired by religion, but there’s just too much bad stuff around to try to prioritize the worst or to even focus on trying to solve one of them’ which I know isn’t the view of axp but that’s just how I felt the last call ended and again I feel disappointed because this is an area of discussion that doesn’t ever get touched upon very often.

  16. rodney says

    I think most Christians say they don’t understand it either, but they understand that there is a plan, and that they have faith that god’s plan is correct.

  17. Matt Gerrans says

    @19 – Taylor
    You make some good points, though I can’t condone your abuse of the word “literally” (twice!).

    The point seems to be that some people (Fox, etc.) criticize Islam out of some kind of racism or xenophobia –> therefore, ALL criticism of Islam is gross and racist!!!1!! Kind of ironic, eh?

  18. Monocle Smile says

    @Taylor

    @monocle she literally asked him if he was white, asked him about the NAACP bombing and asked whether he should apologize publicly for the bombing

    …have you never heard of the Socratic method? I’m almost afraid that explaining this in detail will sound extremely condescending. Lynnea was trying to demonstrate a fallacy of composition. It would be ridiculous to expect the caller to apologize for the NAACP bombing merely because he’s white. That’s Lynnea’s point. It’s likewise ridiculous to throw all Muslims into the “potential terrorist” bin. I’m not sure how much clearer I can make this.

    Who acts as if the entire whole of Islam is responsible for the shootings? Who says that? I don’t know of one person who does

    I know of a shitload, so maybe this is just the myopia talking.

    I guess you were attacking another straw man before ever establishing what my views were

    I did my level best to make this not about you and instead about public perception in general, but you went ahead and took it personally anyway. I’m done attempting to communicate with you.

  19. Taylor Thompson says

    @monocle idk if you are trolling me or just not reading my entire comments in context. Im very aware of the Socratic method, I’m wondering if you even read my reasoning as to why it was a false analogy. Did you not understand that the caller wasn’t looking for muslims to apologize or condemn something they had no part in? I think you’re stuck on this point and it doesn’t have anything to do with what he was calling about, you ate committing the same fallacy Lynnea was committing yet you’re thinking that you’re proving that there is a fallacy in the callers argument, which is an argument he didn’t even make, so yes it’s a straw man.
    everybody is a ‘potential terrorist’ if you think about it, we don’t choose the world around us or our experiences, if you were to switch places with one of those terrorists you would have acted the exact same way, there’s nothing special about anyone that would let them choose differently than anyone else given the same neurology and experiences. all I’m simply saying is that we must be able to speak rationally about what beliefs lead to certain actions without horrible analogies to racist nut cases or horrible straw man arguments.
    And can we not have a discussion about personal views and public perception? I wasn’t aware I had to choose one over the other.

  20. Matt Gerrans says

    “Wow, you really didn’t understand what was going on. That’s not even remotely close to what Lynnea was communicating. In fact, she was advocating the opposite. How did you miss this by a country mile?”

    I did my level best to make this not about you and…

    I think your “level best” needs a little work there, Monocle. It kind of looks like you were trying to put Taylor down.

    “I’m done attempting to communicate with you.”
    Let’s as least see if you can stick the flounce.

  21. Conversion Tube says

    I agree with Taylor and max in that this was a disappointing show for me.

    On a show where you call people out on fallacies please don’t do a blatant one yourself.

    Lynnea commited the Fallacy of “relative privation”. You cannot talk about this subject if you don’t stop starving children in Africa fallacy.

    The NAACP issue is a separate. We can have a discussion about Charlie Hebo without having to discuss other events. I agree with much of what they actually said but I also agree with much of what Sam Harris writes about it too.

    I feel like the caller was cut off early, that they presummed he was about to say something he had not even said and were lecturing him on why he was wrong for saying what he hadn’t even said yet. And he was taken back a bit by that and got a bit confused on the point he was originally going to make. And while lecturing him, he was pretty much agreeing with them too.

    The first caller uggg. Ya painful. It’s interesting how different hosts work through different callers and also change up the style each week and just play within the realm of the callers world just for fun. It felt like they were playing monkey in the middle with him and were bouncing off each others comments like an old married couple 🙂

    What I was hoping they would ask throughout was to stop him and say wait. How did you come to this god belief, what mechanism did you use to determine it? Why is the bible meaningful to you, and go from there.

    Although entertaining, and I like how they can show people how crazy their belief is while still acting in their realm (discussing the bible as if it were important) of their belief system, I feel like it may have been a waste using this tactic on this caller. For his sake, not ours.

  22. Monocle Smile says

    @Matt
    I was referring to my attempts to keep the discussion of Islam impersonal, not my musings about how someone could misunderstand the point of Lynnea’s analogy so badly. Did you read Taylor’s comments? This person thought Lynnea was literally trying to make the caller feel “white guilt.” I mean…seriously? I have little patience for this.

    Also, this:

    The point seems to be that some people (Fox, etc.) criticize Islam out of some kind of racism or xenophobia –> therefore, ALL criticism of Islam is gross and racist!

    is total hogwash. Read Russell’s post above…or in fact, anything Russell’s written or said on the topic. This is dishonest hyperbole.

  23. Taylor Thompson says

    @monocle I’m pretty sure @matt meant that as total hogwash but that seems to be the basis for your argument, I’m glad to see you admit it’s hogwash tho. Now I don’t really understand where you disagree with me or the last caller. Can you at least the NAACP analogy was ridiculous? @conversion tube pointed it out better than I did.
    as far as keeping the Islam conversation impersonal, I’m pretty sure nobody on the show or on this thread has personally attacked a Muslim and that’s the whole point, you conflate every criticism of Islam as a personal attack on all muslims and that’s the whole reason I even responded to this episode. all your points have been directed at straw men, you seem to lack the capability of criticizing an actual point anyone on here has made, which I’m more than open to, I want people to criticize what I wrote because if I’m wrong or mistaken about something I want to know so I can correct myself, but that’s extremely hard to do when you consistently misrepresent what I’m saying.

  24. Russell Glasser says

    In support of Monocle Smile’s response: All criticism of Islam is not gross and racist. That is an incorrect restatement of my position. Is that direct enough for you?

  25. Narf says

    @9 – Matt Gerrans

    That is post hoc Christian tweaking of their own mythology. Read the book: it says the serpent (who apparently had legs) was the cleverest of the beasts.

    Proof positive that the Bible is wrong. My ball python manages to outsmart a dead rat only about half of the time.

  26. Matzo Ball Soup says

    Lynnea’s “are you white?” response rubbed me the wrong way as well. I don’t think the caller said anything that implied he considered “all Muslims” responsible for the Charlie Hebdo attacks in the first place, but she immediately went there.

    My interpretation of the caller was that he was alluding to the “of course the shooting was wrong, BUT…{they sorta had it coming / Charlie Hebdo was racist / there should be limits on ‘free speech’}” attitude that popped up among certain commentators shortly after the inital shock wore off.

    As we all know, there are different schools of thought within the Islamic religion, and there’s no guarantee that any two people who call themselves Muslims will agree with each other on any given question. But part of what it means to be a Muslim — the semantic sense or intension of the term — involves some core beliefs (like “there is no god but God and Mohammed is his prophet”, for instance). And we can talk about how people interpret those beliefs and build philosophies around them. By contrast, the intension of the term ‘white’ involves nothing ideological; all it takes to be white is an accident of birth of a particular kind.

    Collective guilt is, of course, bullshit. But I think it’s important that we make the distinction in our discourse between identities and ideologies.

  27. Narf says

    @20 – rodney

    I think most Christians say they don’t understand it either, but they understand that there is a plan, and that they have faith that god’s plan is correct.

    Yeah, it’s a pretty ridiculous cop-out. At the very best, it’s an abdication of morality. At worst, you end up making pathetic excuses about slavery, like the caller did. “Ah, so you think that slavery was moral, back in Biblical times …”

    All throughout the call, I kept thinking Nuremberg Defense, when he was busily arguing for absolute subservience to a divine dictator. Of course what Steve was proposing is even more monstrous. At least the defendants at the Nuremberg trials admitted that what they did was immoral.

  28. Robert, not Bob says

    I enjoyed the theistic morality call. Every time he said “you’re off the point” it was “no, they’re off your script, ha ha ha!” He demonstrated beautifully how deliberately obtuse theists get. I hope lots and lots of Christians listen to it.

  29. Narf says

    @32
    Sadly, I don’t think most would benefit from it.
    What? It’s a good script. If the atheists can’t stick to it, that shows how brainwashed they are against G-d and how much they need Jesus in their heart.

  30. Monocle Smile says

    @Matzo Ball Soup
    I agree with pretty much everything you wrote. The subject matter of Lynnea’s analogy was clumsy and she could have picked a much better example, but her overall point is still solid.

    Collective guilt is, of course, bullshit. But I think it’s important that we make the distinction in our discourse between identities and ideologies

    I’m pretty sure this is exactly what Russell was talking about in his final comments to that caller.

  31. Conversion Tube says

    She commited the fallacy of relative privation. It’s a bad idea to commit fallacies while pointing out they are wrong to others.

  32. Monocle Smile says

    @Conversion Tube
    That’s poisoning the well. The fallacy was committed much later in the call. That doesn’t do anything to diminish her point. The Muslim world doesn’t need to come out and apologize for the Hebdo shootings nor assume collective guilt merely because they happen to share the title of a religion. I would be very much in favor of movement within Islam towards an Enlightenment-style dilution of fundamentalism, but I think this is different than soaking every Muslim in the blood of terrorist victims.

    And no, it doesn’t really matter that the caller wasn’t necessarily advocating the collective guilt stance. I don’t think the commentary was directed solely at the caller.

  33. Matzo Ball Soup says

    The thing is that I think Russell wasn’t quite right in his first remarks: quite a few blog posts and editorials appeared a couple days after the attacks with titles like “I am not Charlie”, exemplifying the “yeah, murder is wrong, but” rhetoric.

    I think the caller’s point (and Sam Harris’s, I guess) was about those commentators, and not about the Islamic world at all.

  34. Conversion Tube says

    (That’s poisoning the well), That’s unfair and you know it. I agree with their response and the caller did too. Does not change the fact it was hypocritical of a group who immediately interrupts a person’s argument the very second they commit a logical fallacy but they do it themselves.

    It is completely fair and just to point it out here.

  35. Monocle Smile says

    @Conversion Tube
    Hypocrisy is unbecoming, but not fallacious. You seem to be arguing that hypocrisy invalidates an argument, and that’s actually an ad hominem fallacy. It’s also poisoning the well because the fallacy Lynnea committed (which was actually ignored and the discussion continued anyway, so it’s of little consequence) had nothing to do with the ongoing discussion about her analogy.

    It is not unfair for me to correctly point this out. If you didn’t want me to do this, then maybe you shouldn’t have implied that Lynnea’s one side comment invalidates everything she said. That was a pretty clear implication of your first comment. Also, not only was Lynnea brought in at the last minute, but you seem to be acting as if the body of hosts is some monolithic entity. It’s typically Matt who identifies fallacies immediately and halts the caller (usually correctly), and you don’t get to bitch at Russell and Lynnea for Matt’s behavior.

  36. Taylor Thompson says

    @monocle yes it does matter what the caller was advocating and it’s ridiculous to say otherwise. If I call in to talk about a topic and the hosts start to attack a position I didn’t advocate, that does matter. No one mentioned muslim guilt, no one was inquiring where the apologies or condemnation of the attacks were from fellow muslims. I still would like to know how her argument holds any water.

  37. naughtee says

    well this episode (last caller) shat me completely, it seemed to me TAE shut down the islamic question before the guy got to outline what he was going to ask, @taylor and @conversation cover this extensively yet have to fight upstream to make the point, even here.

  38. Monocle Smile says

    @EL

    I think you’ll agree with certain themes of Taylor’s without agreeing with the entirety of his/her posts. I’m not sure I’ve done a great job in being solid in where I’m coming from. I took the discussion as being directed towards a specific view that wasn’t necessarily the caller’s. This happens on AXP all the time, but someone listening to the discussion thinking that the hosts were specifically criticizing the caller’s point of view could probably find themselves in line with some of Taylor’s points.

    For the record, I do think Russell could have been a bit rougher on Islam and there were indeed a few times where I disagreed with Lynnea.

  39. thenob says

    I am a white man. If a white man were to hack the head off of a soldier in broad daylight and hold up his severed head shouting “White men are great”, I wouldn’t feel the need to come out and publicly condemn the act because there would be no reason for anyone to infer that I had any shared views with this man. Skin colour isn’t an ideology.

    I am a member of the British Humanist Association. If a member of the BHA were to hack the head off of a soldier in broad daylight and hold up his severed head shouting “British Humanists are great”, I am very confident that Andrew Copson, the Chief Exec, would make very clear indeed as vocally and as publicly as he possibly could that this could not be justified by or related to any of the published aims or values of the BHA. He would make it very clear as vocally and as publicly as he possibly could that there was no excuse for this behaviour whatsoever and that anyone who thought otherwise could not reasonably call themselves a humanist. If Andrew Copson did not do this adequately, if he hinted that there maybe some underlying causal provocation or if he started calling people racist or bha-phobic for asking questions about the values of the BHA, I would leave the BHA in disgust.

    I hope you can see the difference.

    Great show by the way!

  40. Taylor Thompson says

    Isn’t it ironic @monocle that your main argument on here was that we were generalizing all of Islam and trying to make muslims feel guilty for the charlie hebdo shootings (when that clearly wasn’t what was being claimed) yet you want to defend the hosts for generalizing the last caller’s question and not addressing his own personal views? I think the moral of this story is to not generalize anyone’s beliefs and to only address the claims that the person you’re talking to is making, sound good? Good.

  41. Monocle Smile says

    That’s asinine. The hosts address stuff other than the views of the callers pretty much every show, especially when it’s an atheist caller. Also, thank you for reminding me why I stopped addressing you, because clearly you have some reading comprehension issues.

  42. Taylor Thompson says

    Reading comprehension issues? Seriously? Haha obviously they talk about other subjects on the show but what is asinine is attacking a caller on points he didn’t advocate. If I call in to express my views and the hosts go on some tangent about a topic or a claim I did not make, then that’s obviously serving no purpose, and they normally don’t do that and thats why I love AXP, this episode however is an exception.
    @monocle you haven’t seriously addressed any claim I’ve made without falling into fallacy after fallacy or misrepresenting my comments. And yes I feel your pain, it’s hard to communicate with someone who has no interest in discussing the claims or beliefs the other advocates but instead just focuses on a straw man argument. although this has been fun it has also been time consuming.

  43. VeNOO says

    I think that the theist caller simply wanted the callers to refuse “The god is immoral” statement as if they would accept the opposite claim. Even if they refused it on the basis of inapplicability of morality to god.
    Frankly I can’t keep myself from “Russell and Lynnea – you are too nice” bit. That’s actually not about being “nice”, more about dominating the discussion.
    I think that while you made right points you should have make them more clear and direct and be more assertive. And don’t let him get away with his “he-he you’ve got it all wrong” so much. That’s clearly the type of caller that should be treated by slamming into his fallacies.

  44. Shane says

    Russell was mostly on point, Lynea not so much. She diverted a potentially interesting discussion about the value of free speech into liberal cliches and off base accusations of racism… Or rather accusations that the caller wanted to not appear racist. I don’t know why it is that some liberals instantly believe they are a guest on the Sean Hannity Show when anyone brings up the negative attributes of Islam.

    But yeah “Islam bad!”… there we said it. That’s all there is to talk about. Now let’s get back to something more important like endlessly complaining about slavery in the bible. Never mind actually conversing with Muslim reformists and critics of Islam. That shit is old news.

  45. blastoise says

    Enable comments on Youtube for this video, please :)) Disabling comments is such a theist thing to do.

  46. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Apologies for the extremely long incoming rants…

    Regarding the caller Steve:
    Steve asserts that we cannot apply our human standards of morality to a god. Well. I’m sorry. I do not accept that unsubstantiated premise. I do apply my human standards of morality to all possible gods. We are at an impasse. Steve asks me why? Because I want to make the world a better place for everyone, including humans, gods, and sheep. Why that? Because I say so. It’s one of my starting presuppositions to be a decent human being.

    Steve asks if morality is universal in the sense that we can apply it to gods and animals. Now, if Stargate SG-1 has taught me anything, it is that the proper response to an evil god is not to bow down, worship, and follow its commands. The proper response is to blow it up. Nuke god! Oh, what’s that you say? I cannot nuke god? Says who? Your god? The goa’uld and the Ori said the same thing. The heroes of SG-1 eventually blew them up. We won’t know if we can do the same thing to your god until we try. Nuke god!

    Also, <3 Lynnea so much for asking the caller "are Satan's commands immoral?". And <3 Lynnea for asking "How did you determine that god is the good one and Satan is the bad one". Unfortunately, you needed a slightly different phrasing to deal with this particular caller, such as "How did you determine that it's the Yahweh character and not the Satan character who is god and thus its commands should be followed?".

    Steve seems to argue that slavery is ok in certain situations, like the example in the Christian bible where the god purportedly command the Israelites to take slaves. Later, Steve then seems to say that it's ok for god to teach people by making them slaves. To Steve: You are an asshat. It is never acceptable to own another human being as property (especially in the context of a nigh all powerful creature like your purported god). You are scum. Die in a fire.

    PS: I would want to know if the caller Steve was a universal reconciliationist, or whether he believed in eternal suffering for some. The idea of eternal suffering for anyone is justified because they did bad deeds – no matter how bad – is itself completely barbaric and utterly evil. That is the retributive theory of justice, which is nothing but bronze age sadism, which unfortunately survives to the present day.

    To be clear: If it was within my power to give Hitler the best eternal afterlife ever, I would. Caveats: subject to the conditions that I could guarantee he could hurt no one else, and that it would not have a bad effect on possible deterrence effects. Also, punishment can also be justified for the purpose of rehabilitation and teaching, esp. in the context of parenting and prison.

    For the last caller.

    Russell said that Harris is mistaken when Harris says "people don't condemn the shootings". Russell is having a conversation, but it's a different one than what the caller and Sam Harris are having. Sam Harris is not asking for people to condemn the shootings. Sam Harris is asking for people to condemn the Koran because it instructs people to commit killings like this. That is what Sam Harris is claiming is lacking to some degree in western liberal media. I have some difficulty believing that this is an honest mistake by Russell. Sam Harris wants more of "we condemn the Koran because it commands killings like Charlie Hebdo".

    Lynnea is completely off base when she compares "being white / NAACP bombing" to "being Muslim / Charlie Hebdo killings". A proper comparison is "being a member of the KKK or some other white supremacist, even if not directly responsible / NAACP bombings" to "being Muslim, even if not directly responsible / Charlie Hebdo killings". Being white is not the same thing as declaring your membership in a particular cultural movement (or group of related movements). Being white does not have an associated semi-official foundational text with commandments. Yes, I am moving dangerously close to defining the One True Islam. However, I think there is an important space here that we need to talk about. Merely identifying as Muslim, and no more, still provides some social cover and protection to those who killed Charlie Hebdo. You are normalizing the cultural group(s) known as Islam. I think that there is no morally acceptable reason for doing so in general (although I can respect the situations of people in specific constraints, such as non-believing clergy – ex: The Clergy Project). While my sympathies go out to people stuck in situations like those in the Clergy Project, I still must condemn anyone who identifies as a Muslim. I have the same condemnation of anyone who identifies as a Christian. I also condemn anyone who identifies as a Jew. (Perhaps less-for Judaism in particular because of the large and plausible social movement of calling oneself an atheist Jew. This is an example of what I'm talking about regarding "reclaiming labels".) We need to denormalize these cultural movements of faith and wrong-headed ideas. We need to make it no longer socially acceptable to proclaim that you believe things for no good reason, and often in spite of good reasons to the contrary.

    Now, if I was a member of a humanist organization, and I am, and if some terrorists with ties to a humanist organization killed some people, then yes I would condemn that, and I have a minor duty to condemn that, because they are associated with this particular label. It's part of the basic duty of engaging in society to engage in conversations like this, to defend the good positions, and to try to counteract confusion, such as by terrorist bombers who call themselves humanists.

    Of course, if there ever was a point where there were many humanist terrorist bombers, then there can reach a point where the culture at large has a genuine confusion as to whether humanism is a good thing or a bad thing. At that point, the label is irrecovably tainted, and you should choose a different word to label yourself. Making that decision is a question of tactics, and IMHO there is plenty of room for genuine disagreement. But again, none of this applies to Islam IMAO. There is nothing redeeming about Islam, or Christianity, or Judaism, and all such religious movements should simply end, preferably by convincing everyone to leave the movements.

    Lynnea asked if the caller feels any shame for being white because of some bombing of some NAACP building. That question is ridiculous. However, let me answer that question in the context of hypothetical humanist terrorist bombers: Yes I would be ashamed to some degree by the actions of these hypothetical humanist terrorist bombers, and I would be ashamed to some degree to call myself a humanist. I share some degree of shame when I call myself an atheist because of the multitude misogynist atheists out there. I think it's close to the point where we should abandon the atheist label as something to rally behind, and to choose something else, such as atheist+, feminist, humanist, etc. I think that legitimate disagreements can be had in this situation. I also think that one should feel a little bit of shame that our cultural movement is providing some degree of cover to these misogynist asshats, and that we all have some modicum of duty to force these people out of the movement (or change their mind and fix them), and to reclaim the label "atheist".

    Lynnea brings up some abuses of the United States government. This is not an applicable analogy. Being a United States citizen is not a voluntary membership in an organization. Generally, calling oneself a Muslim is voluntary. As a somewhat unrelated matter, yes I publicly condemn the agents of the United States government who rape people in Guantanamo Bay. Unfortunately, it is not a plausible option to renounce my membership of the country and refuse to pays membership dues, e.g. taxes. Whereas, it is much more plausible to not identify as Muslim and to refuse to pay any membership dues of being Islam. (Of course again, because many Muslims worldwide want to kill apostates on sight, I again have some sympathies for Muslims whose situations do not allow them to stop identifying as Muslim.) Further, I again think that everyone has a modicum of duty to condemn these actions of the United States government, whether a member of the United States or not.

    When Lynnea brings up these abuses by the United States government, she is half a step away from committing a Dear Muslima. (A Dear Muslima: a wrong-headed argument where one says that you cannot object to particular wrongs when there are worse wrongs being committed elsewhere.)

    PS: I completely agree with Russell when he basically says it's wrong to reduce it all down to Islam. There are many causes for Islamic terrorism and other terrorism. The cultural movement(s) known as Islam are just one cause among many. Just like Christianity is just one cause among many.

    However, I think that if we could crush the societal acceptance of faith and other nonsense claims, then we would see a lot less of such terrorism. Specifically, I think the causation is large. Hitchens said it best: "Religion poisons everything", and "religion is the main source of hatred in this world".

    Further, it seems that Russell strongly implied that you need a disturbed mind (for want of a better term) plus ideology to get mass murderers. I don't like this. It sounds very much like the excuse that bad people will do bad things with or without religion, or that mentally disturbed people will do wrong-headed things with or without religion. It's a tacit approval of the statement "the world would not be a better place without religion". I fundamentally disagree. This position necessarily leads me to the conclusion that there are reasonable people out there who are not disturbed, but who do commit mass murder because they really do believe their religious nonsense. I don't think Russell is taking seriously enough the possibility that a person of faith might really believe the stuff that they say they believe.

    PPS: Lynnea "Thinking that bad ideas can lead to these kind of violent things though worries me because kind of gets to the kind of mindset of 'well that means I'm immune'." Again, I have to fundamentally disagree. This is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I agree that we need to be mindful that we might be mistaken. However, we also need to be mindful that we might be mistaken because being mistaken might cause us to hurt ourselves or others. Lynnea here is worried that this kind of mindset might give us a false sense of security, and thus we shouldn’t have these beliefs, but that is just throwing the baby out with the bathwater. This kind of extreme modesty is ridiculous. Again, the fundamental problem here seems to be that Russell and Lynnea very much want to avoid clearly stating the obvious truth that people who believe wrong ideas are more likely to hurt their neighbors. The only alternative is that people with bad ideas are just as likely to hurt their neighbors as people with good ideas, and this is ridiculous for the same reasons that Plantinga’s argument against evolved rationality is ridiculous.

    For example, the solution to the problem “the common belief is that skeptics wouldn’t harass women, and thus we don’t have harassment policies in skeptic conventions” is not shying away from the obvious conclusion that wrong beliefs have negative consequences. The solution is to embrace the obvious conclusion that wrong beliefs have negative consequences, and to also better embrace skepticism and the idea that we are all fallible, whether we call ourselves skeptics or not.

    PPPS: Completely agreed that we also need to be on guard for protecting ourselves from bad beliefs. Completely agreed that killing religion is not enough if it’s replaced by something just as bad. Completely agreed that after we kill religion, we need to replace it with something better, i.e. humanism, feminism, skepticism, science, etc. Completely agreed that after we kill religion, if we don’t replace it with something better, then our situation will not have improved. I believe in the story of the moral improvement of culture over time. Killing religion and replacing it with something better will hopefully be another step in the moral improvement of our culture over time.

  47. Narf says

    @48 – VeNOO

    Frankly I can’t keep myself from “Russell and Lynnea – you are too nice” bit. That’s actually not about being “nice”, more about dominating the discussion.

    I don’t know. It depends upon the caller. Matt is better at fielding calls from the aggressive, no-we’re-going-to-follow-my-script callers.

    But for example, consider the call from Dixon, last week. I think Russell would have handled a call from him much better, to my satisfaction, than Matt did.

  48. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    And now let’s see if I missed anything from the thread.

    @Russell Glasser in 12
    I completely agree with everything in post 12. It’s important to remember that a lot of contemporary criticism of Islam is nothing but rank racism and xenophobia. However, many of my criticisms above remain applicable.

    Taylor: the last caller didn’t bring up race once and Lynnea called him out, or tried to at least, for being racist and in some way encouraging him to feel white guilt for other people’s actions

    MS: Wow, you really didn’t understand what was going on. That’s not even remotely close to what Lynnea was communicating. In fact, she was advocating the opposite. How did you miss this by a country mile?

    Interesting. I think that Taylor is bringing some baggage to the call. I can see how it’s plausible that someone would see Lynnea bringing up white guilt as a counter to attacking Islam. IMHO, it’s a stretch, but it’s borderline reasonable. Fascinating. I didn’t notice that potential angle myself when first viewing it myself. I wonder if the insinuation of white guilt was intentional or accidental.

    Quoting MS:

    Lynnea was trying to demonstrate a fallacy of composition. It would be ridiculous to expect the caller to apologize for the NAACP bombing merely because he’s white. That’s Lynnea’s point. It’s likewise ridiculous to throw all Muslims into the “potential terrorist” bin. I’m not sure how much clearer I can make this.

    Taylor and I understand that this is how Lynnea sees the situation. We simply disagree that this analysis is fair and reasonable. We see important differences which makes the comparison inapplicable for the aforemented reasons in my above post.

    @Matzo Ball Soup

    Collective guilt is, of course, bullshit. But I think it’s important that we make the distinction in our discourse between identities and ideologies.

    I think I have to disagree with that in context. I think as a practical and legal matter, one should not be held legally accountable merely because you happen to belong to the same organization as a criminal. However, I also think that as a practical and moral matter for changing society for the better, we need to hold people socially accountable to some degree for belonging to wrong-headed and evil organizations, such as all organized religions.

    PS: Yes, I take an amazingly hard line compared to most people, even here. IMHO, I think that most people even here have a blind spot when it comes to religion, a variant of Daniel Dennett’s belief in belief. We wouldn’t hold back when critizing members of the Nazi party. We would would hold individual Nazi members socially accountable for the crimes of other Nazi members when those crimes are in accordance with the semi-official doctrines of the Nazi cultural movement. However, many people here pull our punches in the exact same situations for organized religions. I don’t.

  49. Narf says

    @49 – EL

    Steve asks if morality is universal in the sense that we can apply it to gods and animals.

    Personally, I love this particular point. We don’t expect adherence to our morality by those animals that lack the intellectual and social development necessary to comprehend and adhere to our morality, yes.

    So, what you’re saying about your god is …

  50. CriticalAtheist says

    Has anyone else noticed that at 48:00 one of the hosts asks a caller, “Are you white?” in response to a question about Islam. Then goes on to equate criticism of Islam with criticism of a race, as if the two are even remotely similar. We have a choice about our religion but we don’t have a choice about our race. Previously the show hosts of TAE have demanded that Catholics condemn the illegal actions of the Catholic Church, which I completely agree with. But now that the subject turned to Islam, suddenly it’s not appropriate to ask the followers of a religion to reform it? Complete hypocrisy. If you belong to a religion, and that organization publicly does something you disagree with, you must condemn that action. That’s how reform is done.

  51. Monocle Smile says

    @EL

    Yes, I take an amazingly hard line compared to most people, even here

    Maybe, but I’m finding it very hard to disagree with you. I think you worded much of what I was trying to say in a much clearer way.

    Part of my issue is that my workplace is rife with old dudes who make disturbingly racist and culturally belittling comments in a snide manner whenever the topic of Islam comes up. I have significant exposure to the “unsophisticated” criticism of Islam.

  52. Taylor Thompson says

    @monocle sorry but I have to point out the glaring irony here. You’ve pretty much have said because you are surrounded by racist old dudes that somehow makes up for assuming all criticism of Islam is racist? Did I understand that correctly? Yet the basis of your argument was that just because most suicide bombers and people who will rape and bury children alive are muslim that doesn’t give us the right to assume all muslims are capable of those atrocities, am I missing something here?
    There’s this little thing called intellectual consistency that you seem to not give a damn about on here.

  53. Wim says

    At around 25:00 when the caller Alan brought up the Gandhi quote: “I don’t mind your Christianity, I just your followers I have a problem with”.
    (Aside from nitpicking the point that the actual quote is better translated as: “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” … a difference which is not really relevant, depending on how you interpret it.)

    Gandhi got it backwards: he respected the idea and attacked the person holding the idea. It should have been the other way around. Respect the person but attack his idea.

    … also, it’s rather understandable but judging from the quote, Gandhi didn’t really know much about Christ and Christianity except for the warm-fuzzy-feel-good stuff.

  54. Monocle Smile says

    It’s not my problem if you can’t distinguish between the stances outlined in your second and fourth sentences. Again with the comprehension failures. You ignored Russell’s post #12 that clarified the stance I agree with. Also:

    most suicide bombers and people who will rape and bury children alive are muslim

    Citation, please. While this could potentially be true, you’re ignoring confounding factors, and even if you didn’t ignore confounding factors, my points would still stand.

  55. Taylor Thompson says

    What confounding factors am I ignoring? And sorry I don’t think I really need a citation, Boko haram, isis and al queda speak for itself, no other groups come close to committing the atrocities of these people. And I seriously can’t believe you don’t see the double standard in your argument, it’s glaringly obvious.

  56. cry4dawn says

    To answer Steve in Phoenix regarding morality in animals – Chimps and bonobos have been shown to have morals very similar to humans. They tend to not murder one another, they also tend to not steal from one another. When one is found to have murdered or stolen from another in the family group they are punished, sometimes very severely. They can be banished from the family group and left to fend for themselves or they can be brutally beaten and sometimes killed. This tells me that non-humans have come up with a valid set of morals and punishments for immoral acts. However, I have yet to see a Chimp Bible or a chimp kneeling to pray to a deity.
    Definitive proof of morality without God.

  57. SMS says

    @52 – Narf & Re: Steve

    As soon as Steve started with “We can’t apply human morality to god because god is not human” (paraphrased,) my response was, then godly morality can’t be applied to humans since we’re not godly.

    That said, I have no problems applying my ethics to an animal (or a god) since I understand that ethics require situational underdstanding.

    Then how can god’s

  58. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    most suicide bombers [….] are Muslim

    Dubious. Loathe as I am to admit it because I might have been in the same error in the past myself, this is far from obvious. Further, it is far from obvious that suicide bombers deserve such extreme focus.

    people who will rape and bury children alive are muslim

    Lolwut? Citations please. The claim that most child rapists are Muslim is pretty strong without some citations to back it up. I like to go into rants all the time against the Roman Catholic Church precisely because they rape children all the time and protect the rapists from the police.

    The phrase “and bury children alive” – what are you even talking about? Sounds almost like hysterics.

    PS: Odd, preview button is broken for me atm.

  59. StonedRanger says

    #56 @TT
    Maybe current groups, but how about Pol Pot, Kim Jong Eun, Idi Amin, Baby Doc and Papa Doc in Haiti? I could be wrong, but I will go out on a limb and say none of them are moslem, but they all did some pretty horrific stuff. Im sure that at some point baby raping and burying people alive was on their list of things to do.

  60. Subduction Zone says

    I enjoyed the show except for a face palming moment when Lynnea said, and I am paraphrasing here ‘The U.S. constitution says that blacks are only 3/5 of a person’. Sadly she is wrong in several ways. The 3/5 compromise related to how the population was counted in states and therefore how much representation that they got which reflects on how many “goodies” they would get from the federal government. The anti-slavery north did not want slaves, not all black people, counted at all when it came to representation. The idea was if they weren’t free they should not be counted as part of the population. African Americans in the north were counted as whole people. The south of course wanted as much power as they could get and wanted slaves to count as full people when it came to representation. The compromise was that they would be counted as 3/5 of a person.

    So the 3/5 of a person compromise was an anti-slavery compromise over counting slaves entirely as citizens. There are several sources can be read on this, such as this one:

    The odds are whenever anyone mentions the 3/5 compromise that they will get it wrong.

  61. skipbon says

    Lot of uneducated ramblings in regards to ancient civilization in regards to the word slave. It’s typical of people who hold the Bible means whatever fits their particular flavor of criticisms. The title shows the idiocy and lack of logic that most people who agree with the videos hosts seem to exhibit. “The morality of God” is an impenetrable. People can only conjecture as to what morality is being handed to humans fromGod. It’s never been about absolute understanding of what is good and evil in regards to humans, it has always been about the wisdom that people must gain from experience through living this life. It’s a pretty simple concept in the whole Godmconcept, “being as gods knowing good and evil” isn’t the same as possessing the wisdom to deal appropriately with knowing good and evil,

  62. Matt Gerrans says

    @52 – Narf:

    I was thinking the same thing. I think Dixon would have fared better with Russell. Matt seemed to assume that the person he’s talking to is well versed in logic and didn’t seem to pick up on just how naiive Dixon was. Dixon needed a gentle introduction to the basics of critical thinking and argumentation and should have been stopped and educated right at the outset rather than jumping around to different topics and quickly going completely off the rails before getting the on hook treatment.

    I think Matt is doing great work in his recent debates and on the Patreon videos, but he doesn’t seem to have the patience for dealing with the call-in show callers, like Dixon, who can be pretty wet behind the ears when it comes to debate, rhetoric and logic, not to mention breadth and depth of knowledge in general.

    On a lighter note, I took a quick look and surprisingly, Dixon hasn’t yet posted his triumphal vanquishing of the atheists.

  63. Wim says

    And sorry I don’t think I really need a citation, Boko haram, isis and al queda speak for itself, no other groups come close to committing the atrocities of these people.

    While at first I had the same knee-jerk opinion … it is still a knee-jerk opinion based only on current events and ignoring history.

    – 1755-1758 During the Zunghar genocide, emperor Qianlong of the Qing dynasty ordered 600 000 men to be killed and divided their wives and children among the soldiers
    (cfr: slavegirls captured by Boko Haram)

    – 1977-1978 Mengistu Haile Mariam, a communist in Ethiopia led a violent political campaign claiming up to 2 million lives. The many atrocities committed has ‘earned’ his campaign the title “Red Terror”
    (cfr: Al Qaeda’s former political control in Afghanistan)

    – 1967-1970 During the Nigerian civil war three ethnic groups (Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo) fought each other for political control killing up to 3 million people in famines and the organized slaughter of entire villages.
    (cfr: recent massacre of two villages by Boko Haram).

    – 1994 During the Rwandan genocide around 1 million were brutally slaughtered.
    (cfr: current ISIS events)
    Fleeing generals into neighboring countries sparked several other wars like the first and second Congo war where the same tactics were applies of rape and mass murder … the region is still highly unstable as many local warlords still roam the land with virtual impunity.

    In all but a few of the examples above rape of women and children was also a common tactic.
    Rape was and is still used as war tactic in several South-African countries. There the predominant religion is a mix of Christian and tribal rituals.
    http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperDownload.aspx?paperID=17852

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not in any way or form excusing or minimizing the atrocities committed by Muslims. I too find Islam anything but a religion of peace (… just the same as core doctrines of Christianity or Judaism is likewise bent on creating strife with the main difference that Islam is currently in the same phase as Christianity was in the dark ages) and must be stopped.

    While it is true at this present time I can’t think of any other group committing the same atrocities at this present time, there have been many others in the past. And if history can serve as any kind of guideline, other groups/organizations/ideologies/etc will bound to resort to the same tactics …

    … this renders your point of “only muslims” void.

  64. Narf says

    @62 – SMS
    Yeah, the important thing in dealing with morality is comprehension. If we can somehow set up full communication with dolphins, some day, then we can reasonably establish a set of morals and ethics, which will apply to both species. Until that time, dolphins are going to do what dolphins are going to do.

    Mentioning the comparison between us and animals, in regards to our relationship to Yahweh, actually weakens the theistic argument about morality.

    Okay, so we’re like animals, from Yahweh’s perspective. Good, then we aren’t subject to God’s morality, and we should make up our own morality, as other social species make up their own morality. I’m glad we could clear that up, Steve.

  65. Narf says

    @58 – Wim

    … also, it’s rather understandable but judging from the quote, Gandhi didn’t really know much about Christ and Christianity except for the warm-fuzzy-feel-good stuff.

    That’s what always occurs to me, too, when I hear that quote. Gandhi, you had no freaking clue what’s actually in the Bible. Any Christians you approve of have strayed quite a ways from their biblical origin, and those you despise are probably following the Bible more closely.

  66. Narf says

    @50 – blastoise

    Enable comments on Youtube for this video, please :)) Disabling comments is such a theist thing to do.

    We’ve already been over this discussion at least a dozen times. YouTube is the freaking worst forum possible. We’d rather direct them to a forum in which we can have a real conversation. Anyone who isn’t a spambot or completely inane gets let through moderation, and their comments appear immediately, after their first one is approved. Hell, even many of the inane ones get through, if the moderator who approves them was in a particularly odd mood that day.

    We even get plenty of theists in here, although most tend not to stick around for very long.

  67. Narf says

    @66 – Matt Gerrans

    I was thinking the same thing. I think Dixon would have fared better with Russell. Matt seemed to assume that the person he’s talking to is well versed in logic and didn’t seem to pick up on just how naiive Dixon was. Dixon needed a gentle introduction to the basics of critical thinking and argumentation and should have been stopped and educated right at the outset rather than jumping around to different topics and quickly going completely off the rails before getting the on hook treatment.

    Yup. Give the complex, formal-logic calls to Matt, and give the kiddie-pool calls to Russell. 😀

    Not that I really mean the implied slighting of Russell that I comedically inserted (I figured I should mention it was a joke, because otherwise, you probably missed it). It has more to do with patience, since Matt has had more time doing calls in which he had to break things down to basics, and he doesn’t seem to want to do it so much, anymore. Plus, I think Russell just has more patience in general.

    Russell does really well on the other end of the scale, as he demonstrated in his debate with Stephen Feinstein, but he seems to enjoy and put up with more basic discussions, in which you occasionally need to stop the other person and explain that what they just said isn’t how rationality works. Certainly, he would have let the call go on much longer, allowing Dixon to maybe get to something approaching a point, if there was anything approaching a point in the shallow depths that is his thinking on the subject of religion.

    On a lighter note, I took a quick look and surprisingly, Dixon hasn’t yet posted his triumphal vanquishing of the atheists.

    I think Dixon is still stuck with his initial thoughts on the subject, that posting clips of his call would be some sort of theft, despite the express granting of permission to post clips of up to 10 minutes by anyone, even those not involved in the call.

    Of course, as the call actually went, I doubt the end result is anything that the Mindcraft guys would want to hold up as an accomplishment. *shrug*

  68. Taylor Thompson says

    @wim and @stonedranger I agree with both of you. In no way was I saying that muslims are the only ones committing these horrible things, I was saying that at present day they are the most atrocious, these people show beheadings of aid workers in their recruitment videos, these people HAVE buried children alive in parts of Syria and Iraq, they burn people alive, they take sex slaves, they make kill lists with cartoonists from other countries on them and when people follow through with the killings liberal people in the west will bend over backwards saying it isn’t directly attributed to their religious beliefs. The kurds have put females on their front lines because isis sincerely believes that if they are killed by a woman they won’t reach paradise, these aren’t just psychopathic murderers, these are highly devout people with paradise on the mind. And I will be the first to admit that there are horrible atrocities happening still that have nothing to do with Islam or religion, but these horrible ideas only multiply into true terror when the idea of paradise and divine warrant are implanted from birth.

  69. StonedRanger says

    #72 @Narf
    Or, Dixon is mightily embarrassed by his poor performance after the level of trash talking he/they started with. Dixon and his Mindcraft crew are nothing more than drones. Listen to their vids and its all kindergarten theology. Its obvious they haven’t even given cursory thought to what they are being taught, they just regurgitate it right back up in the finest street corner preacher style, without perhaps the overbearing personalities that those types always seem to have.

    I think matt gave them just about as much time as they deserved. Each host has their own style and manner of dealing with the different types that call in. And Russell has been doing the show for six or seven years longer than matt has even been on the show, so he is just ‘as good as’ Matt or any of the other hosts. He just has a more laid back style. I always enjoy the show, no matter who the host is. I wish they would get Mr. Dee back. He was always a hoot to listen to.

  70. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I don’t know how I missed this earlier.
    @Taylor Thompson

    And sorry I don’t think I really need a citation, Boko haram, isis and al queda speak for itself, no other groups come close to committing the atrocities of these people.

    I would respond to the particulars, but Wim in 67 does a spectacular job.

    Your ridiculousness is forcing me to rethink my own similar positions. Is it true that Islam is the most dangerous of today’s world religions? Maybe. I think I’ll still defend that position. However, I think your above quote is still ridiculous, and it’s making me consider tempering my own position.

    Quoting Taylor Thompson

    I was saying that at present day they are the most atrocious,

    What counts as “the present day”? Only the last 5 seconds? Only 1 year? Only 10 years? This is borderline dishonest.

    Quoting Taylor Thompson

    these people [list of atrocities]

    In context, this carried the strong connotation that this is clearly worse than the atrocities of any other non-Muslim contemporary group.

    Taylor, did you even read Wim’s post in 67?

    @cry4dawn

    Chimps and bonobos have been shown to have morals very similar to humans. They tend to not murder one another, they also tend to not steal from one another.

    Except when chimps do murder other chimps, and they often do. IIRC, chimps are mean animals, and they will literally wage war and genocide against neighboring troops of chimps for little to no apparent reason. However, what you say IIRC does apply to in-group chimp behavior.

  71. says

    Yikes.
    I like Russell a lot, but I dread the weeks when he’s host. Sorry, but he has no clue how to steer a conversation. The “discussions” with callers when he’s hosting often end up as confusing, meandering messes.
    Lynnea usually has some creative contributions that make up for Russell’s shortcomings as host, but this week was just painful.
    Both hosts completely misunderstood the theist’s point about morality not applying to animals, and Russell went off on a tangent about animal rights that had absolutely no relevance to the caller’s argument. I guarantee that the caller walked away from that discussion convinced that the hosts did not grasp his argument and perhaps even convinced that they were deliberately “playing dumb” so that they didn’t have to answer his argument.
    The hosts’ response to the Islamophobia call was absurd. As has been pointed out in the comments, the hosts were overeager to jump down the caller’s throat to attack a point he never made. Even setting aside the specifics of Lynnea’s shockingly bad analogy (“Are you white?”), she managed to miss the caller’s point entirely. The caller did not suggest that all Muslims should be held responsible or should apologize for the Hebdo shooting. In fact, the caller wanted to talk about how criticisms of Islam are often conflated with racism…and the hosts respond by conflating his call with racism. Wow, that’s some pretty sweet irony right there.
    Can we talk about this issue of talking-about-Islam? It seems to me that a lot of self-proclaimed liberals get all huffy when people start criticizing Islam…they get so huffy that they go jumping down people’s throats and attacking positions that those people haven’t said. This situation is just not conducive to free and open conversation. It goes without saying that we should discourage racism – and we should certainly condemn violence against Muslims, which is likely motivated by racism in many cases – but there has to be a way to discourage racism *and* encourage free and open discussion that avoids the kind of knee-jerk overreaction that the hosts demonstrated.
    I consider myself a liberal, and as a liberal, I want to stand up for liberal principles and I want to oppose anti-liberal ideas. As a set of ideas, Islam is a collection of anti-liberal ideas. In the same way, Christianity is a collection of anti-liberal ideas. That there are lots of people who call themselves Muslims or Christians but don’t take their religion seriously enough to act on all of those anti-liberal ideas does not change the fact that their religions are collections of anti-liberal ideas. That there are lots of people who have come up with rationalizations that try (ineptly) to square their anti-liberal religions with liberal ideas also does not change the fact that their religions are collections of anti-liberal ideas.
    Sorry, but there are many ideas that are not only bad but outright dangerous. Actually, I’m not sorry. This is a fact. And no, acknowledging that fact does not make it more likely that I will fall victim to bad ideas myself or think that I am immune to bad ideas. If anything, acknowledging that bad and dangerous ideas exist will help me to be on the lookout for any bad ideas I might hold.
    We need to have conversations about bad and dangerous ideas. We need to have conversations about how dangerous ideas lead directly to harmful actions. We need to have conversations about whether some ideas are more dangerous than others, whether some ideas actually lead to worse consequences than other ideas. We need to have conversations about how dangerous ideas (such as Islam or Christianity) intersect with culture: to what extent can harmful actions be attributed to culture, to dangerous (religious) ideas, or to both?
    It is difficult, if not impossible, to have serious conversation on these topics when the self-appointed racism police flip out if people don’t pepper their denunciation of certain dangerous ideas with caveats like “Of course not all Muslims are like this” (#notallmuslims, eh?).

  72. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Lynnea especially.

    This is a rather low-blow IMHO, but the timing is too good to not use.

    I claim that everyone regardless of how you identify has a moral duty to condemn the evil actions of others. “All it takes for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing.” Obviously, you cannot condemn everything, and no one is saying that you have to take time out of your day to find things to condemn and to take time to publicly post condemnations. However, the opposite extreme of apathy is morally unjustifiable.

    The duty gets stronger you are a member of a social movement, e.g. when you start identifying with a label. You are part of the social movement hopefully to change the world for the better, or at least to not make it worse. I include “atheist” and “Muslim” in this category of “social movements”. When you are a part of a social movement with a label, you have to own that label. For your social movement to have a positive and not negative impact, you have to work on cultivating the movement to reflect your values. That includes removing bad people from your movement, and fighting in the public space to preserve the good name of your label, such as by condemning bad people and bad actions which might be done under the color of your label. One does this because one does not want to cultivate a culture which enables bad behavior. (As an analogous example, read up on the usual notion of “rape culture”. Protip: if you think “rape culture” means “a culture where rape happens”, then you don’t understand the concept.)

    Again, I’m not saying that atheists have to take time out of their day to find things to condemn and to post condemnations. However, I am also saying that atheists, compared to non-atheists, do have more of a duty to condemn the bad actions of other atheists, especially when the public might understand the bad actions to be consistent with the values of the atheist social movement.

    The people of the show recognize this fact. All the proof I need is this:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2015/02/11/statement-on-the-chapel-hill-shootings/

    To Lynnea: You asked the caller if they felt any shame for the actions of someone in their “group”. I ask you that – did you feel any shame when you first learned about this potential fan of the show who potentially acted wrongly because of the show? Even if it was a misunderstanding or a perversion of the values of the show, did you feel any shame? Did you feel any need to condemn this person’s actions? Presumably yes. Why? Presumably to maintain the good name of the show itself, and of the “atheist” label in general. Why? Because you do not want to be a shield and enabler of bad actions. You do not want to contribute to a culture whereby anti-religious violence is tolerated, and you are concerned that without your condemnation, the culture might be more accepting of anti-religious violence. (Again, as an analogous example, read up on the usual notion of “rape culture”.)

    I’m not claiming this has a one-to-one applicability to Muslims and Muslim terrorist actions. “Muslim” is a much broader label with many more people, and that changes the calculus. However, it is not a fundamentally different calculus.

    I think it’s also more applicable than you might think because of several facts. 99% of Muslims are Shia or Sunni. The consensus standard of basically all Shia and Sunni experts (clergy, scholars, etc.) is that the official handbook (the Koran) is infallible and inerrant, and that it commands various evils. Specifically, the consensus is that it commands that apostates should be put to death in this world. If someone who is Muslim disagrees, I say the onus is on them to clarify or identify differently because they are using the word contrary to the usual notion. It’s like someone who calls themself a Catholic, but then acts all indignant when you conclude that they follow the pope in Rome. It’s also like me reacting with “wtf” when someone calls themself Catholic, but also uses condoms. (“Do you not know that it is a sin to use condoms, even in marriage, according to your religion? Why do you call yourself a Catholic if you don’t actually have the beliefs of what it means to be a Catholic?”)

  73. Narf says

    @67 – skipbon
    Uhhhh, I have no idea what point you were trying to make there, man. Could you try that again? Half of your sentences seem to have major subject/verb agreement issues, and you’re overloading your clauses, without sufficient punctuation to help parse the different parts of the sentences.

    You seem to be making some sort of argument about Yahweh’s morality being incomprehensible (ironically) to us. That’s exactly what makes Christian morality useless. The commands laid out in the Bible don’t represent a moral structure. They represent the commands of a totalitarian dictator, and adhering to them without contemplating them for yourself is immoral … or amoral, at the very least.

    The fact that the biblical commands are internally contradictory, not reflective of reality, and a product of Bronze Age savages that we’ve advanced far beyond is a side issue. The core idea of thoughtlessly adhering to a cosmic dictator is messed up, by itself.

  74. Narf says

    @74 – StonedRanger

    I think matt gave them just about as much time as they deserved. Each host has their own style and manner of dealing with the different types that call in.

    But I wanna show!!! Waaaaaaaaaaah!
    😀

    Seriously, though, there are so many people who are at Dixon’s level that it’s worth addressing someone like him at length, from time to time. Besides, if he’s the only theistic caller we have for the week, I’d rather hear more of him than of other atheists.

    And Russell has been doing the show for six or seven years longer than matt has even been on the show, so he is just ‘as good as’ Matt or any of the other hosts.

    Errrrrr, how does this make any sense? Someone could do something for decades and still suck at it. Heck, Ray Comfort has been “speaking to atheists” for far longer than The Atheist Experience has been on the air, and he still sucks ass and doesn’t know how to construct an argument that any vaguely skeptically-educated atheist couldn’t dismantle in 5 minutes.

    In this particular case, I think Russell does just fine in most situations … obviously, if I think I’d prefer his handling of this particular call. I’m just not with you on the argument you used to get to that conclusion.

    He just has a more laid back style. I always enjoy the show, no matter who the host is. I wish they would get Mr. Dee back. He was always a hoot to listen to.

    You can catch Jeff on NPR. I’d rather have him on there about every other week and miss him once a month on TAE, if it means him not burning out on this stuff.

  75. says

    Russell and Lynnea, thanks for the show. Shore do wish you would have booted Steve off about 20 minutes sooner, however. The man was just a quivering, aggravating bundle of interruptitis and unsubstantiated assumptions.

    In Steve’s view, there seem to be three realms of being:

    1) The Big Kahuna, almighty Creator of all that is seen and unseen, creator of heaven and earth, etc. — on this level, ladies n gennelmun … GOD! This being is so powerful that “morality” is, quite literally, whatever God says it is. No questions asked.

    2) The human realm, a little like God’s chessboard, I suppose. On this plane, and this plane alone, are God’s alleged creations placed in a situation of “acting morally.” They must not, according to Steve-o, assume that what is moral to them is moral to God. They must, on the other hand, be able to correctly divine, perhaps minute to minute, the “correct” morality to please an all-powerful god. The consequences of failing this test are eternal damnation and punishment. If, perchance, some puny human gets it right, the “reward” is worshiping the dictator god … forever, in a place so devoid of morality that there cannot be “free will.”

    3) The animal realm, where creatures are not responsible for their choices. Whatever they do, they have no shot at either eternal reward or punishment.

    In this scenario, I see just one plane that really, really sucks: the human “moral” plane. I’d much rather be an animal, live my life as I was meant to, and not have to sweat whether I can correctly divine the, um, Divine’s divine plan or his detect his allegedly undetectable morality — and simply not worry about whether he’s going to roast the motherfucking hell out of me in an astonishing example of his “morality” (finite crime of guessing wrong; infinite torture unimaginable) or I “get” to spend forever as his little supplicant automaton.

    In the mad Xtian worldview of the mindless and perhaps deliberately stubborn, obtuse Steve, humanity gets fucked no matter what. You’d really rather be a wombat.

  76. Mas says

    Came across a “citation” for ISIS burying children alive mentioned above and remembered this thread. I don’t think I can hyperlink here, but if you google “isis selling crucifying,” the results are writeups from last week of a UN report on these atrocities.

  77. Narf says

    Just don’t overdo it with the links. Adding more than one link per comment kicks your comment into moderation, for some reason.

  78. Mas says

    More or less. The point was the UN report, but I didn’t take the time to find a source I actually like. CBN (I found the story in a link to them in a tweet), Al-Arabiya, Daily Beast who linked to Huffpo — not really into any of those sites.

  79. Hippycow says

    @75 Narf:
    Yeah, I think kids like Dixon are possessed by the notion that something like the argument from design is a completely novel idea. He’s thinking he’ll ask the (capital A) Atheist why there are no penguins in Texas and the Atheist will exclaim “OMG! I never thought of that! I must accept Jesus Christ, who was born of a virgin, walked on water and died on the cross for my sins, as my personal Lord and Savior! Hallelujah brothers and sisters! (but obviously, Mohammad, Vishnu, Joseph Smith and all the rest are made believe, because… uh, …um… well, because those aren’t the ones mommy and daddy taught me.)”

    Well guess what kiddo, we know about that argument and many others. We even have a name for them, they are so well-worn. Did you even know that? You can see it right there on the IronChariots.org page as one of the most common theistic arguments.

    To be a little less sarcastic* what I’m saying is that this was a case where the host could point out to the caller that he’s using a well-worn argument with a well-defined name and give pointers to resources. Sorry, it is not a novel idea. Here’s the link to some reading on that argument as well as many of the other common arguments.

    It is really not worth discussing unless you really know the argument, all its variants, etc. If you have done the research and found some new angle that you think will make a difference, then we’ve got something to work with.

  80. aDon says

    The argument was a bit painful. Isn’t it better to just say that harmful acts toward humans are “immoral”, independent of religion/no-religion. Such acts done in the name of a religion or god are still immoral. The religion or theoretical god itself is “amoral”, as I think the caller agreed with. Arguing “immorality” of something with rules unconcerned with human consequences is a bit pointless.

  81. says

    I thought Lynnea’s analogy of why it’s ridiculous for random white people to apologize for the NAACP bombing was spot on w.r.t. Muslims having to apologize for the Hebdo murders. Sure, random white people have a duty to condemn the reasoning and actions of the KKK and random Muslims have a duty to condemn the reasoning and actions of radical jihadists. It’s debatable whether it’s easier to change your skin color or the words in your holy book.

  82. Narf says

    @91 – Hippycow

    (but obviously, Mohammad, Vishnu, Joseph Smith and all the rest are made believe, because… uh, …um… well, because those aren’t the ones mommy and daddy taught me.)

    This is the sort of myopia that allows theists to think that Pascal’s Wager is an amazing argument for … just their faith, actually. Shame the call didn’t last long enough for the chat room to take bets on how long it would be until he pulled that one out.

    Honestly, I want to know about the “tons of non biblical notes” he had to share, which he mentioned in his comment on the blog post for that episode. I’m curious what he thought he was going to be talking about, whether it was a positive case for the Bible or whether it was some assemblage of potshots at biological evolution.

    If the former, I bet stuff like the quote from Flavius Josephus would have made a prominent appearance. If the latter, who knows? I wonder if he would have been pulling from Behe or what. Perhaps Behe’s books are a little too advanced for him.

  83. pac1261 . says

    @72 Narf

    Gandhi, you had no freaking clue what’s actually in the Bible. Any Christians you approve of have strayed quite a ways from their biblical origin, and those you despise are probably following the Bible more closely.

    I resist the urge to use word “freaking” in pointing out that you are gossly under-estimating Gandhi’s erudition in matters religious. This quote is from a Gandhi website:

     
    “Gandhi accepted [a Christian’s] advice and began reading the Bible. The Old Testament bored and parts of it repelled him, but the New Testament, particularly the Sermon on the Mount ‘went straight to my heart’ and ‘I tried to unify the teaching of the Gita, the ‘Light of Asia’ and the Sermon on the Mount. That renunciation was the highest form of religion appealed to me greatly’ he wrote.”

     
    You may think he was wrong in some particulars (I certainly do) but he was not so superficial as you seem to think.

  84. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @changerofbits

    It’s debatable whether it’s easier to change your skin color or the words in your holy book.

    That’s ridiculous. It is not an open question. The answer is immediately obvious.

    As someone once said (forget who, great quote): We’re all atheists, but most of us were once theists. Most of us became atheists because we were challenged by atheists. I think most of us were worth talking to.

    Thus, what you wrote is extremely condescending and defeatist. The rest of us are proof that you can change your holy book, and it’s condescending to think that religious people are so stubborn, stupid, etc., that they will not change their religion, unlike us atheists who are smarter and were able to overcome religion.

    Further, I think you are morally complicit in a small but non-negligable amount for all of the atrocities caused by all religious extremism when you talk like that. When you talk like that, you are shaping the culture to be accommodating, accepting, and even supportive of being religious. I want to change the culture away from that. You are in my way. You are part of the problem.

  85. says

    Hey! @Russell! (or anyone who can tell me the correct place to make this suggestion). The old (1999) AE episodes posted recently on youtube don’t seem to have open threads… Is there no interest in this idea? I know it’s not current news but they have hundreds of views already and the calls are really great.

  86. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @changerofbits
    Protip: Tone doesn’t carry well over text.
    Protip: The highest principle of the Enlightenment, and one of the highest principles I hold to, is best summed up by Voltaire: I might disagree with what you have to say (or what you believe), but I will fight to the death for your legal right to say it (and your right to believe it).

    However, I will also ridicule you publicly for holding ridiculous beliefs, and encourage others to do the same.

    It’s like what Scott Clifton said in his video on supernatural vs natural. Imagine going to a party, and striking up conversation and saying that you are absolutely convinced that we are in The Matrix, and when asked “why”, say that you have faith, or that you had a personal experience. You will immediately begin to pay a social cost. Yet people saying equivalently ridiculous things about Jesus will pay no social cost. I want that to be changed. That’s s all I want, and nothing more. I want people to be disapproving of religious faith to the same extent that we wouldn’t be approving of an adult who pretended in earnest to have an imaginary friend named Fred. Obviously, that’s the end goal, and the end game tactics to keep religion down once we kill it for the majority of the population. How we get a majority of the population to stop having ridiculous beliefs is the hard part.

    I for one will do minor things in socially appropriate contexts whereby I express my disapproval of ridiculous beliefs. Even stating at work offhand “but I don’t believe in god”, or taking a little bit of time less than once a year to tell one friend that they shouldn’t call themselves Catholic because of the continuing crimes of their church.

  87. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS: I notice how you didn’t engage at all with the substance of my arguments, and just insinuated that I was a potential mass murderer or something. Classy.

    We were worth talking to. People can change their minds. People cannot change their skin color. What you wrote is utterly ridiculous and condescending.

  88. Narf says

    @92 – pac1261

    “Gandhi accepted [a Christian’s] advice and began reading the Bible. The Old Testament bored and parts of it repelled him, but the New Testament, particularly the Sermon on the Mount ‘went straight to my heart’ and ‘I tried to unify the teaching of the Gita, the ‘Light of Asia’ and the Sermon on the Mount. That renunciation was the highest form of religion appealed to me greatly’ he wrote.”

    I imagine he slept through most of the actual theological bits of the New Testament, then. Admittedly, it’s pretty easy to miss a lot of it, since it’s buried in the midst of some really bland narrative.

    Sure, if all that Jesus had “said” (assuming there was a real Jesus, and that any of his actual words survived the oral retelling to be written down) was the stuff in the Sermon on the Mount, he would be a much better character. I’d still have plenty of issues with him, just based upon that, but it would be better.

    I guess I can’t fault Gandhi too much for picking and choosing like crazy, ignoring over half of the stuff in the book. Actual Christians do that at least as much.

  89. maddogdelta says

    YASRC (yet another steve reply comment, with apologies to Unix naming standards :))
    So, this god character has a different set of morals, so we can’t judge him.

    I like to use the analogy of a pet. We consider ourselves higher than our pets, so we require certain behaviors of them to live in our homes.

    The dog isn’t allowed to poop on the rug, pee on the floor, drink from the toilet, bite the mailman and hump the neighbor’s leg. Those are the rules we give to the dog.

    Does that mean that people ARE allowed to poop on the rug, pee on the floor, drink from the toilet, bite the mailman and hump our neighbor’s leg?

    If this god fellow supposedly gives rules for behavior, one would think that he/she/it would follow those same rules of behavior. Anything else is excuse making.

  90. Narf says

    @99 – Susie Sullivan
    Yeah, there’s definitely something to that. The older episodes of the show were back before they went world-wide and became more popular within the atheist community. People watched Public Access a bit more back then, and they just had local callers, who were mostly religious nuts who called in expressing the opinions that most Christians have.

    I’d probably e-mail them. Although, since someone had to approve your post (I think Russell does a lot of that), since you were a first-time commentator, it has probably already been read. Can’t hurt to double check, though.

  91. Narf says

    @103 – maddogdelta

    If this god fellow supposedly gives rules for behavior, one would think that he/she/it would follow those same rules of behavior. Anything else is excuse making.

    The words, “Do as I say, not as I do,” come to mind. AKA, shitty parenting. That fits nicely with the paternalistic tone that most of the New Testament takes.

    Does that mean that people ARE allowed to … hump our neighbor’s leg?

    Depends how cute your neighbor is and whether or not she’s on board with this idea.

  92. Narf says

    @99 (again)
    Holy crap, I had no idea that they’ve been so busy getting the first few years of episodes up. The last time I looked, the archive started some time in 2004. I heard Russell mention something about it on an episode of Non Prophets Radio, but I hadn’t checked it out, yet. I’ll have to start going through those.

  93. says

    @106
    Oh nice! Apparently I know what I’m going to be listening to this weekend.

    It’s kind of sad that I can listen to this 16 year old show, and the (theistic) discussions are as relevant today. That guy’s probably-50mhz-laptop might be obsolete, but these discussions aren’t.

  94. johnwolforth says

    The guy who asked about liberal Christians could use the same logic as you used to answer the fundamentalist caller. The problem is that neither of them are using a valid system to arrive at their conclusions. The liberal might have arrived at something you agree with, like women’s rights. But my assessment is they just didn’t think about why. They just trust that their religion led them to it. They’re wrong. Search the history of slavery for instance. The Biblical argument against is the Golden Rule. But that’s been around for a while, why didn’t that end slavery centuries ago? What actually ended it was when we became more aware of other cultures and saw that, for example, Turks were enslaving Christians. At that point the question of who is divinely determined to be a slave is drawn into question. There are Biblical justifications that go against the Golden Rule, but if you apply the more universal philosophy of it, there isn’t much wiggle room.

  95. Hippycow says

    Cool, look at all those youngsters in the first 100 or so episodes! Have you found a way to sort them chronologically (or likewise by episode number)?

    It would be pretty nice to have all those episodes as mp3s in the archive too. I like to listen to them while jogging or biking. Does the axp need volunteer help for these kinds of things, or are there other impediments? I would be happy to help with this, if that’s feasible from a distance.

    Also someone asked a while back why the audio in the archives doesn’t include the after-show. I never understood that either. Maybe in addition to filling out the audio for past shows, we could include audio those as well.

  96. Narf says

    @107 – Jasper
    More than a weekend, man. I count 33 videos from 1999, 31 from 2000, 11 from 2001, 24 from 2002, and 1 from 2003. Each of the ones I’ve glanced at is an hour and a half long.

    Yeah, all of the arguments in those videos are the same ones we’re seeing today. The arguments haven’t gotten any better. The only thing I’ve seen within the past decade or so is the presuppositional bullshit, which is not a step forward. When a significant portion of the believers think it’s a dishonest argument, the apologists have a slight problem.

  97. Narf says

    @109 – Hippycow

    Cool, look at all those youngsters in the first 100 or so episodes! Have you found a way to sort them chronologically (or likewise by episode number)?

    Err, I’m not following you. The archive already has them in chronological and episode-number order. What are you looking for, beyond that?

  98. Hippycow says

    @ Narf: Okay, that works. I was looking in the youtube Atheist Experience channel; using the AE archives list is better.

    Hey everyone — if you are going to be watching/listening to these old shows, take a minute to check the archives page and see if the “Personalities” and “Episode Description” details are missing. We can make a mini-crowd-sourcing effort to start filling in those blanks.

  99. Narf says

    Ohhhhhhhh. Yeah, I can see how that would be an issue. I’ve never even been to the channel homepage, actually. I always just link through the main website archive.

  100. phil says

    Can we see Lynnea more often? I reckon she’s a natural. Maybe Russell could stay home to hold the fort some Sundays.

    I say it partly because I think there is a preponderance of white men presenting the show. I guess that means maybe you should try to get people of other ethnic backgrounds as well. I suspect part of the problem is that you have a small pool of available hosts to put a show on every week.

    But anyway, Lynnea is great.

  101. Manobik Manob says

    I like this show like all time. And I learn something from this show all time. Thanks for this show. It helps us to argue with theist.

  102. Gelfamat says

    They really need to get Russell and Don off the show. They’re just not helping and I think they turn people off to the arguments in favor of atheism. Russel should resign from his post after penning that “we condemn this act” nonsense regarding the killing of the muslim students, as if atheism holds some sway over the decisions that idiot decided to make that day.

  103. Narf says

    @117 – Gelfamat
    Uhhhh, they need to get Russell off of the show, because of something he posted here on the blog?  You’re not making any sense.

    Also, I get the feeling that he was just the one who posted it.  You don’t get one, random person who takes it upon himself to make a public-relations statement on behalf of a group like the ACA.  I’m sure the message came from a discussion amongst the group leadership, and Russell was just the one who posted it, since he’s a bit more active on the blog than most of those in the ACA.

    You don’t know much about public relations, do you?  Particularly when your show is specifically mentioned in the coverage of an event like this, you damned well better make a statement about it.

  104. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Gelfamat
    You are wrong at every level. One might even say fractally wrong. They both do a good job on the show. It is right to condemn bad behavior. It is especially right to condemn bad behavior that some might attribute to your social movement. It is a good PR move to condemn bad behavior that some might attribute to your organization.

  105. says

    @EL You’re right, tone doesn’t carry well, and apologies for my reaction to your reply. I found your reply combative and acidic to actually uncovering any miscommunication:

    That’s ridiculous. It is not an open question. The answer is immediately obvious.

    Great conversation stopper. You’ve obviously come to a conclusion, why should I go on? Oh, you went on after this, so did you want to have a conversation?

    As someone once said (forget who, great quote): We’re all atheists, but most of us were once theists. Most of us became atheists because we were challenged by atheists. I think most of us were worth talking to.

    Citation for “Most of us”. What about dogma conflicting with conscience? What about intellectual pursuit of the right answer? I think you might be inflating the value of “atheists challenging theists” as a means to rid the world of religion. I don’t doubt that social ridicule can work (and am generally in agreement with an “all approaches” approach), I’m just wondering if it deserves the quantifier “most”. Also, this seems like something that could be a combination of factors: “At first I was curious about the historicity of jebus, and the anti-gay stuff my church teaches was bugging me, and then I listened to the AXP and one of the hosts really tore a rhetorical hole in my core beliefs.”

    Thus, what you wrote is extremely condescending and defeatist. The rest of us are proof that you can change your holy book, and it’s condescending to think that religious people are so stubborn, stupid, etc., that they will not change their religion, unlike us atheists who are smarter and were able to overcome religion.

    I’m not saying any such thing and thanks for reading that much into it. Last I checked, the punishment for changing your skin color was considerably less than apostasy in Islam.

    Further, I think you are morally complicit in a small but non-negligable amount for all of the atrocities caused by all religious extremism when you talk like that. When you talk like that, you are shaping the culture to be accommodating, accepting, and even supportive of being religious. I want to change the culture away from that. You are in my way. You are part of the problem.

    This was probably the most personally offensive thing you said, and why I reacted the way I did in @98. Onto the subject: How many Muslims have you convinced to give up their religion? How are you supporting those that risk death by being openly atheist? How many Muslim people do you know? How are you going to change Muslim dominated cultures to be non-supportive of religion? And, how in the fucking multiverse am I morally complicit in the atrocities of religious extremists? Because I don’t see the use in yelling at Muslims to apologize for jihadist crap they had nothing to do with?

    Protip: Never assume your approach is the best one.

  106. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @changerofbits

    This was probably the most personally offensive thing you said,

    Do you want to know how many fucks I give? I’m right. You offered no rebuttal. I know of no other reasonable way to make the same point while being less offensive. I give no fucks.

    I have no idea what you mean by “change skin color”. Do you mean by force of will? Do you mean by plastic surgery, skin dying, etc.? Paint?

    I am going to hold people morally and socially responsible for their decisions, regardless of whether it happens to be influenced by their religion, their culture, etc. In terms of holding people responsible, It is easier to change your religion than to change your skin color. IMAO there is no room for reasonable honest debate on this topic.

  107. says

    Do you want to know how many fucks I give? I’m right. You offered no rebuttal. I know of no other reasonable way to make the same point while being less offensive. I give no fucks.

    Again with the William Lane Craig-esque let me preface everything I say with “I’m right” and conclude anything you say with “You offered no rebuttal”. Good fuck, you were wrong about god at one point in the past, right? Figuratively beating your chest with platitudes about being right doesn’t mean you right. Also, for all of the fucks you do not give, you sure are continuing in this conversation.

    I have no idea what you mean by “change skin color”. Do you mean by force of will? Do you mean by plastic surgery, skin dying, etc.? Paint?

    Sigh. I’m talking about literally changing the color of your skin, via non-magical means. Is that clear? I’m further saying that it can be easier for some people, as measured in terms such as “social cost” and “being alive”, among others, to change their own skin color than to publicly reject their religion, regardless of whether or not they even really believe. Just to spell everything out, I don’t think this is an exclusive law of the universe, by which I mean that there are situations where changing the color of your skin is harder than rejecting your religion, based on the specific culture, skin color and religion you find yourself within.

    I am going to hold people morally and socially responsible for their decisions, regardless of whether it happens to be influenced by their religion, their culture, etc. In terms of holding people responsible, It is easier to change your religion than to change your skin color. IMAO there is no room for reasonable honest debate on this topic.

    Good. But what if they change the color of your skin? Good? Bad? Irrelevant? 🙂

  108. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @changerofbits
    There was some ambiguity in the term “easier to change”. I thought you meant volitional difficulty in an abstract sense, e.g. “changing one’s mind”, but you meant something else. Seemingly, you meant less costly, and specifically meant to factor in social costs. I suppose that’s somewhat reasonable use of language, and I apologize for any misunderstandings on that point.

    I’m further saying that it can be easier for some people, as measured in terms such as “social cost” and “being alive”, among others, to change their own skin color than to publicly reject their religion, regardless of whether or not they even really believe.

    “Some” does not mean “many”, “a majority”, “most”, or even “a noteworthy fraction”. That is a far cry from your earlier statement of:

    It’s debatable whether it’s easier to change your skin color or the words in your holy book.

    Further:

    Again with the William Lane Craig-esque let me preface everything I say with “I’m right” and conclude anything you say with “You offered no rebuttal”. Good fuck, you were wrong about god at one point in the past, right? Figuratively beating your chest with platitudes about being right doesn’t mean you right. Also, for all of the fucks you do not give, you sure are continuing in this conversation.

    And again with blather where you tone troll, do character assassination, anything but address the point.

    PS: You said it was offensive when I hold you personally responsible to some small degree for your social behavior which normalizes being religious, because that leads to more religion, which leads to more human misery. Even if you convince me on the point that changing skin color has comparable social to changing one’s religion, it affects my this point not a whit. I’m going to hold people responsible for their decisions. Mere peer pressure does not significantly detract from their responsibility IMAO, and even extreme shunning and social expulsion does not negate it completely.

  109. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS:

    Also, for all of the fucks you do not give, you sure are continuing in this conversation.

    You confuse caring about the conversation in general, and caring with the accusation of mere offense absent rebuttal.

  110. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @naughtee
    Can I get a brief text synopsis instead? Not going to watch the videos without that.

  111. naughtee says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal, ah well my current going rate is AU$120ph (if you’re outside australia that won’t incurr a 10%GST), i’ll happily do some work for you, let me know.

    i believe each video has a short description at the top anway.

    cheers
    naughtee

  112. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    i believe each video has a short description at the top anway.

    The short description of the first video:

    Russel and Lynnea take a call from Sean

    As a short description of the basic point you make in the video – lol.

    The other short description:

    They have rapidly become ground zero for bullshit PC, hyper liberal, excuse making, issue dodging, cowardice online. This conversation is simply mortifying to witness. It’s bonkers that these people have microphones and that anybody is willing to listen to this insane drivel.

    Again, as a short description of the basic point you make in the video – also lol.

    @EnlightenmentLiberal, ah well my current going rate is AU$120ph (if you’re outside australia that won’t incurr a 10%GST), i’ll happily do some work for you, let me know.

    So, you’re saying you came here to troll?

  113. Narf says

    Someone doesn’t understand basic motivation, EL. He wants us to watch over 45 minutes of crap, then pay him for the privilege of having him explain what the 45 minutes worth of crap is, when we ask first.

    Thanks, naughtee, but I think I’ll pass. It you can’t participate in basic discourse without being an ass, I doubt your videos will be worth the time spent watching them.

  114. naughtee says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal

    a troll? really… sigh, if you are not happy with descriptions supplied with the videos or the introduction to them i provided upfront, perhaps you should watch the videos?

    you’re funny dude, you spend a bunch of time labelling someone bringing other peoples’ opinions to the table yet refuse to actually view the videos without a ‘brief synopsis’ lol indeed! 🙂

    the arrogance! did mummy go on holidays? your personal assistant otherwise engaged?

    cheers nd

  115. naughtee says

    @narf… my goodness, what a bunch of babies, they’re not my videos… i simply brought them to the table, i don’t want you to watch them, i don’t care. if you’re not interested other peoples’ opinions on the matter that’s your decision.

    a quick glance up the forum here, i can see now you guys will most likely bounce a bunch of crap back and forth (while not actually taking on any other perspective), so excuse me for a bit while you get on with that.

    cheers
    nd

  116. Hippycow says

    Lynnea makes the claim that sexual harassment is prevalent at atheist conventions because skeptics believe they are immune to bad ideas.

    When I heard this, I thought two things:
    1. Is sexual harassment is prevalent at atheist conventions? What data is there on this? Is this in comparison to other kinds of conventions, or what? Is it anecdotal or are there really an alarming numbers compared to say Comic-Con the Democratic National Convention or the Republican National Convention, etc.? I’ve not been to an atheist convention, so I have no first hand knowledge.

    2. If there is an extraordinary amount of sexual harassment going on at atheist conventions, as Lynnea alleges, how does she know that it is because skeptics believe they are immune to bad ideas? If there was a lot of sexual harassment going on at some gun convention or some stamp collectors convention, would it be because the attendees thought they were immune to bad ideas, or something else? It seems like it takes sociologists and/or anthropologists doing some thorough and wide-ranging research to determine the cause of common behaviors in particular environments. What research is Lynnea drawing on to make these claims?

  117. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Hippycow
    I think the tone is off. I don’t think I’m just tone trolling, though that may be part of it. I do think that some of the nuance assumes an unreasonable degree of burden of proof. We all make characterizations on incomplete information, on second-hand accounts, on personal experience. We don’t have peer reviewed studies for everyone we make claims on.

    I think your underlying questions are legitimate and interesting, and I wouldn’t mind hearing her answers. Specifically:

    1- “Why do you believe sexual harassment is prevalent at atheist / skeptic conventions?” (I am willing to bow to her personal experience as sufficient for this purpose, and even to a decent list of second-hand accounts.)

    2- “Could we have a deeper conversion about your purported connection with ‘being a skeptic’ and being less actually skeptical?”

  118. Narf says

    @130&131
    You’re the one asking us to go and spend a good chunk of time on something and to respect the opinion expressed in those videos, and yet you won’t even give us a basic summary. You’re new here, and your first couple of posts have come off as pretty conceited. You’re not inspiring a whole lot of respect in those you’re introducing yourself to.

    And if you think we never have much contention in the comment section of this blog, you haven’t looked into it very deeply.

  119. says

    I suppose that’s somewhat reasonable use of language, and I apologize for any misunderstandings on that point.

    Thanks! Apologies for any miscommunication on my part.

    And again with blather where you tone troll, do character assassination, anything but address the point.

    It’s character assassination to give you some constructive feedback about how saying “I’m right” doesn’t make you right? Whenever somebody does this, it’s like haz-mat sirens and flashing lights going off in my head that they’re probably about ready to spout some BS. I’m not accusing you of spouting BS, just saying that doing this detracts from your point/assertion/argument, which should stand on it’s own.

    You confuse caring about the conversation in general, and caring with the accusation of mere offense absent rebuttal.

    Fair enough. More below.

    “Some” does not mean “many”, “a majority”, “most”, or even “a noteworthy fraction”. That is a far cry from your earlier statement of: “It’s debatable whether it’s easier to change your skin color or the words in your holy book.”

    I used the term “debatable” to directly mean that, in reality, it could be any one of those quantifiers.

    Also, you seem to be looping back to this “accommodationism is bad, social rejection is the best” conversation from a few threads ago, specifically on the question of atheists in america being hyper critical of Muslims. Even taking it to the point that I, changerofbits, am personally responsible, in some part, for the actions of jihadists, because I acknowledge the predicament that moderate Muslims find themselves in. I’ve tried to ask you a few questions about how well your approach is working on converting the Muslim world to atheism, but you’ve dodged those questions like the plague. Just to be clear, I don’t have an answer to those questions. The best answer I have is that the change will have to come from within the Muslim world and that there is very little those outside of the culture/religion can do to influence it one way or the other (and I’m talking on a global scale). That’s why I think it’s a bit foolish to be generally rancorous against Muslims as a group since it gives the more extreme Muslim voices a real rhetorical weapon to keep the moderate Muslims on their side. At the same time, we need to be firm and loud with the reasons why we don’t agree with those extreme views, the things upon which the moderates agree with us. Even then, I think there is very little we can do personally, aside from engaging in honest dialog and tearing down ignorance on both sides.

    Also, I agree with you that de-normalizing being religious, within your own culture, is generally a good thing. If only you were ex-Muslim…

  120. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Even taking it to the point that I, changerofbits, am personally responsible, in some part, for the actions of jihadists, because I acknowledge the predicament that moderate Muslims find themselves in.

    Muslims

    Now, if you’re referring to actual death for apostasy, you’re making good points again, and I have to apologize for being wrong.

    PS: I meant I want a mild form of condemnation for religious people. I should have clarified. I didn’t mean social shunning. You know – a similar sort of reaction that theist callers get when they call into the show. I probably could have been much better here at communication.

  121. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    On second thought, I think I really need to clarify.

    I am a firebrand. I am generally ok with accommodationists being accommodationists. However, I don’t appreciatewhen accommodationists decide that my firebranding is too firebrand. I also don’t appreciate what is IMHO needless coddling of bad thinking by accommodationists, although I’m generally not going to call them out on it. I might be one of the few firebrands who is firebrand enough to sometimes call out accommodationists.

    I very recently realized that there is no such thing as a difference between attacking a person and attacking their beliefs. For most of us, our identity is our beliefs, and the consequent actions which flow from those beliefs. (To a high degree of approximation.) Thus, any attack on a core belief is reasonably seen as an attack on the person. I don’t think you can avoid that. Of course, you should try to avoid inspiring and inciting violence. You should try to avoid causing spillover onto other people groups, i.e. don’t let your condemnations of Catholics spill over onto the Irish. You should definitely avoid attacks on the person which imply that they are fundamentally bad, or stupid, or irredeemable, etc., because we are doing this for their benefit as much as ours. We are trying to make the world a better place for everyone, and that includes the religious. (It also includes criminals. It includes everyone.)

    Now, when I say that I condemn Catholics and Muslims, and I want others to do the same, I meant a mild form of condemnation, like what most theist callers get when they call into the show. Just a simple communication of non-acceptance of their way of thinking and living their life. I really could have done better on communicating this point, and I should have done better on communicating this point.

    Now, getting to changerofbits. As a matter of tactics, I have to condemn all people who proclaim to be religious for their purported bad thinking. I also recognize that some people might be trapped in various bad situations, such as the clergy of the Clergy Project. For such people, I don’t hold them individually morally responsible. I’ll give them a pass. I wouldn’t condemn such a person specifically if I knew about it. The problem is that I don’t know about it because they are hiding. That means that if I want to condemn bad thinking, then I will have such unfortunate people as collateral damage in my condemnations, and I’m ok with that. I don’t see any other way.

    So, yeah. I think I came off very badly. Hopefully you’ll find far less to disagree with now. My apologies.

  122. naughtee says

    @narf, get over yourself dude, my goodness.

    “You’re the one asking us to go and spend a good chunk of time on something and to respect the opinion expressed in those videos”… no i didn’t.

    what of the fact i’m ‘new here’, got some hazing for me? as i’ve already stated, all i did was to bring some alternative views/criticisms to the table, i agree with them, however don’t possess the skills to wade through your bs to make them. best to simply present them as is, all i’m getting in return is pompous, self-important, self-congratulatory posturing (i most certainly include uber-firebrand here with that charge).

    cheers nd

  123. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @naughtee
    What if I went to a place you frequent, and posted a 45 minute long video on a seemingly unrelated topic, and asked you to watch it, and refused to even give a short description of what it’s about? I have some confidence that you wouldn’t watch it either.

  124. naughtee says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal, first off, are you actually attempting to rationalise the treatment you two have dealt to someone bringing new material to a discussion? a new user no less.

    secondly, i did give it a short description straight up (“some critical analysis of this episode, seems when you misrepresent and use false equivalence as a large invisible cloak to hide the elephant in your studio… you get lengthy responses.”), and the material is most certainly not “unrelated”, why would you say that? in fact each video pulls apart the discussion and point by point demonstrates the errors and fallacies… i was genuinely interested to know what this blog thought of these points.

    so, very much like lynnea and russel straw-manned their caller at the very start, you appear to be doing so here, my hypothesis is you got your nose out of joint when i made an off-the-cuff comment about charging you to go through and summarise the material for you, you don’t suppose i was being serious?!

    what would i do?… probably have a quick look at the video(s), 😎 and not be such an arse about it (start with the second link).

    IF the video was unrelated or an advertisement or the like THEN i’d probably give them a serve. or if the person came across as a deranged (from the start), i’d probably ignore them, so now you have an out, you can claim i’m deranged and move on.

    nd

  125. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @naughtee
    Post 140 referred to you.
    Post 138 referred to someone else.

    I stand by post 140 w.r.t. you. I’m not going to watch 45 minutes of anything from a random stranger without at least some introduction of what it is, what points does it make, and why should I care.

  126. says

    Nice, dragging out the “let’s be hyper skeptical of something that is affecting women in the atheist movement” card. Ok, I’ll bite.

    Lynnea makes the claim that sexual harassment is prevalent at atheist conventions because skeptics believe they are immune to bad ideas.

    I’m no stenographer, but here’s my attempt at typing exactly what Lynnea said:

    Lynnea (without some relatively irrelevant injections by the caller and Russell):

    Thinking that bad ideas can lead to these kind of violent things, though, uh, worries me because it kind of gets to the kind of mindset of “well that means I’m immune, so I don’t have to worry about it. Because I don’t have bad ideas because I’m a skeptic.” And it’s the kind of reason why, uh, you know, sexual harassment is so prevalent at atheist conventions is ’cause for a long time they didn’t think they had to deal with it because they’re so rational, obviously. They wouldn’t do that kind of thing. And so now they’ve kind of figured out, no this is a problem, maybe we should deal with it. So, you know, trying to say. Oh, because I’m an atheist, because I’m a skeptic, I won’t fall for something stupid like that that’ll ask me to go so incredibly violent. But, you know, that’s not necessarily the case.

    So, she did mention that sexual harassment was prevalent at atheist conventions as an accepted fact. It’s not clear if Lynnea meant that it was more prevalent than any other conventions, or if it was extraordinarily more prevalent than any other social situation where sexual harassment occurs. She qualified the example by saying it was “kind of the reason”, not saying that because atheists/skeptics think they’re so right that this is directly the reason that sexual harassment was prevalent at conventions, but showing how folks who share Lynnea’s own rational values/methods can have blind spots when it comes to harm and aren’t immune because they have the best worldview. Hell, the recent Hicks murders are a horrific reminder that atheists/skeptics are humans and capable of horrible things, just like the religious are.

    When I heard this, I thought two things:
    1. Is sexual harassment is prevalent at atheist conventions? What data is there on this? Is this in comparison to other kinds of conventions, or what? Is it anecdotal or are there really an alarming numbers compared to say Comic-Con the Democratic National Convention or the Republican National Convention, etc.? I’ve not been to an atheist convention, so I have no first hand knowledge.

    I don’t know. Many women in the atheist/skeptic movement have made claims of sexual harassment to the point that I accept that it at least exists at some non-trivial level, a level at which I think it too high for building a diverse and strong movement. Unless you’re willing to disbelieve them when they claim that a problem that is undoubtedly present in our society is also present at atheist conventions, I think it’s fair to say that it was “prevalent”.

    2. If there is an extraordinary amount of sexual harassment going on at atheist conventions, as Lynnea alleges, how does she know that it is because skeptics believe they are immune to bad ideas? If there was a lot of sexual harassment going on at some gun convention or some stamp collectors convention, would it be because the attendees thought they were immune to bad ideas, or something else? It seems like it takes sociologists and/or anthropologists doing some thorough and wide-ranging research to determine the cause of common behaviors in particular environments. What research is Lynnea drawing on to make these claims?

    Well, she said it was “so prevalent”, which seemed more to stress that it is prevalent, not really to quantify that prevalence concretely. She didn’t say that there was “an extraordinary amount” or “a lot”. Maybe you’re reading the level of her concern about this topic with the prevalence of sexual harassment that would be required for you to also share the same level of concern?

    My thought: I’m heartened to hear Lynnea say that the folks running atheist conventions have acknowledged the issue and have taken steps to deal with it. One would think this would help put the whole meta-infighting to bed, but se la vie.

  127. Narf says

    Naughtee, this has nothing to do with the videos you linked on here. It has everything to do with the way you responded to questions about the videos. After that, I didn’t really care what was in the videos anymore and had no desire to watch them.

  128. naughtee says

    @ EnlightenmentLiberal

    “Post 140 referred to you.
    Post 138 referred to someone else. ”

    what on earth does that have to do with the price of eggs? or indeed my comment.
    either way, i didn’t refer to anybody when i posted up the links to these videos yet you responded to the post and are sill butt hurt you didn’t get the contents spoon fed to you, ye goodness… sigh.

    btw, i call bs you haven’t check out those videos, that’s laughable 😉
    you’ve spent more time posturing, bull-crapping and basically being a big baby than it would have taken to simply have a quick look at the material… you seem to have painted yourself into a corner. and i know how bad that is, i’m renovating at the moment, painting sucks, even when done correctly (that was a joke btw).

    cheers nd

  129. naughtee says

    @narf, has a little hissy-fit…really? put your narf voice on… “you were sarcastic to me, so i don’t want to even read the message” neeah (get that sense of humour surgically removed buddy). wholey-moley, there needs to be some serious growing up here, are you what 12? (that’s unfair to 12 year olds, my 9yr old daughter exhibits more maturity than your behaviour here).

    what you are saying is you are more interested in the wrapping the book comes in than book itself, didn’t they cover this concept in primary school?

    what on earth does my attitude to your requests about my post, which simply presented a couple of videos (i did provide a short description by the way) a couple of videos that patiently and systematically take the time to pull apart this, quite frankly embarrassing, error strewn, arrogant episode of a program (a program i have watched for years and really respect btw), have to do with the actual material i’ve brought to the table?

    you won’t view the videos? :)… got your ball? taking that home with your narf? :)… i figure you two are long time contributors to the show and hence feel somehow empowered to belittle new comers to this forum (what i call cabin-boy syndrome), you didn’t get your knee scraping response so you choose not to even look at the material… astounding. this is a typical empire building attitude, you’ll find enshrined from the loftiest echelons of corporate multi-national companies all the way down to nanny-knitting circles.

    leading horse to water and all that.

    cheers nd

    ps
    i’m actually honestly interested in what you guys thought of these points of view (please don’t pretend you didn’t actually watch them), i’m no expert with this type of interaction, spotting logical problems and especially with such a complex issue such as liberals accommodating one brand of religious, political and legal instruction over others and in light of recent global violence is something i’m still working through and forming opinions, oh well 8)

  130. Narf says

    *sigh*

    And now you’re being childish. I’m not being asked to “read a message”. We asked you to give us a message for us to read. A summary. Instead, you said to go spend 45 minutes watching a video that I have no real reason to care about in the first place.

    And now you’re engaging in childish, middle-school baiting. I care even less for what you have to say than previously. Do you get a kick out of annoying people until they ignore you?

  131. Monocle Smile says

    @naughtee The very first thing you did when you posted here was act like a huge douchebag. Yet Narf and EL were nice and asked for some clarification, partly because we get link-spammers here. You proceeded to double down on the douchebaggery. Now you’re just full-blown trolling. Yes, we value substance over style. You presented no substance, however, so we just have your douchebaggy style to go on. Good job being an asshole.

  132. Narf says

    @148 – EL
    Ditto, more or less. I think that last one of mine was the last one of any significant length, unless he does a complete 180 with his attitude. For that matter, I only read about the first paragraph or so of his last two comments, before I ran out of fucks to give.

  133. naughtee says

    @MS “The very first thing you did when you posted here was act like a huge douchebag”… really? presenting a link to some other points of view is being a “huge douchebag” (that was the “very first thing i did here” unless i’ve missed something)… as i’ve already explained the call for you to pay me my hourly rate was a joke… wow, you guys certainly defend your buddies no matter how silly they’re behaving.

    “You presented no substance”… does that mean you actually checked out the links? i’m actually interested. links don’t count? is this explained in your blog’s behaviour expectations literature? i don’t know.

    i’m not trolling btw. just reacting to a bunch of over sensitive morons, who can’t take a dig, you guys don’t take a step backwards, i present a couple of links to interesting perspectives and you press the ballistic-defence button, refuse to actually view another perspective (read fingers in ears and laaaah laaaah’s abound) and now have labelled me a “huge douchebag”… which is the telling part of this ridiculous story.

    @narf, what would entail a “complete 180 with his attitude” exactly, i simply presented some links for you to look at… ? again i’m genuinely interested, i never understood why people bagged out AE however i’ve never attempted to contribute to your blog… i’m beginning to understand.

    cheers nd

  134. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @changerofbits
    Again, I’m sorry. Very bad display of communication skills on my part. I was hoping you could respond to my latest post. At your leisure, of course. Thanks!

  135. Narf says

    Naughtee, it blows my mind that you really don’t comprehend this, man. Fine, let me spell it out for you.

    You’re talking about over 45 freaking minutes of video that you want us to watch, and as near as I can tell from what I’ve read of your comments, you still haven’t given us a capsule summary of what the videos are about, so we can determine if it’s worth our time or will even interest us in the slightest.

    It isn’t just taking a dig. It’s adding the crap about charging $120/hour on top of still refusing to give us anything of substance about the videos. If you had started out with some joke about normally getting whatever amount of money for your time, but you’ll wave the fee this time (although that still sounds elitist and a bit douchey), and then you went on and laid out the basic points of the two videos, you’d be on slightly firmer footing. As it is, though, the series of comments you’ve made so far is a very poor introduction.

    Considering the number of assholes we get in here, doing drive-by evangelism, drive-by men’s-rights advocacy, or some other flavor of trolling, you shouldn’t exactly blame us for taking what you’ve said so far poorly and dismissing you as another of the many trolls.

    And no, most of what you’ve heard about TAE and FTB is mostly shit from the anti-feminists. The MRA griefers get their panties in a bunch about anyone who stands up for women’s rights. It’s one of the biggest divides in the atheist community.

  136. naughtee says

    @narf, well it seems you ARE willing to interact with me (and in considerable length), despite your inbuilt prejudices against new users (you sound kinda weird pointing this out btw, perhaps you should put up a warning about the types of people you will deal with up front, bit of signage never goes astray), well done you.

    i’m about to pop out and entertain my lovely wife, i’ll get back to you with a response in the near future.

    nd

    ps, just because i charge AU$120ph does not mean you should feel inferior, i only work like 4hrs a week 😎
    for your benefit that’s another joke (this one is actually self-deprecating, as it’s literally true, so perhaps it’s more acceptable to your sensibilities).

    pps, i think i’ll bite, please be gentle with this AE virgin, i promise to provide a step by step presentation of the other links (that you have, no doubt had a squiz at, for you to tear down with your steely logic, however, as i’ve already indicated i don’t possess the intricacies of thought you and your (now refusing to deal with me) mates have, so, keep it simple please.

  137. Narf says

    I don’t have inbuilt prejudices against new users. When they come in with a load of crap and nothing of substance, I treat them appropriately. When they come in with interesting questions or points of discussion, I treat them appropriately.

    I spent a little time on another attempt, since you dropped the smarmy crap in your previous message. Now that it’s apparently back again, it isn’t looking so good.

  138. says

    @EL 152

    My apologies, I read it and understand where you’re coming much better now. I tend to agree with what you wrote. I don’t consider myself a firebrand or accommodationist, but maybe I lean more on the accommodationist end of the spectrum. I don’t really know.

    One point, where you said you don’t appreciate accommodationist saying you’re being too firebrand, I would take the feedback with an open mind (loaded phrase, I mean don’t stop listening just because it’s from an accommodationist), just as you would want the accommodationist to listen honestly and consider your feedback. I’m not arguing for a middle ground, just that the means of each side are kept in check (to minimize needless collateral damage) while pursuing the same goal, which I am assuming is progress toward improving the human condition.

  139. naughtee says

    @narf… “When they come in with a load of crap and nothing of substance”

    how does that describe my original post, where i bring two points of view in the form of youtube videos to this forum? the time you’ve spent with this circular dribble could have (as i know you probably have) just viewed the bloody videos and we could be discussing these points, what a whet-whelps you guys appear to be.

    in fact, you’ve already admitted you judged me based on your negative experiences with other people you don’t like… however i have no affiliation with those people, as if that matters, in the slightest.

    “smarmy crap “… heh? i guess that takes one to know one, what are you on about? what a thin skin you must possess, i come to the table and you play this silly game, fingers in ears, won’t bother to look at the links (or pretends you haven’t) and argues around and around in circles about who has offended whom… grow up.

    sigh, indeed.

    ok, let’s start with me bashing out some quotes from the episode, i’m trying to keep this as accurate as possible, you may have to listen to the video yourself… there you see a disclaimer upfront.

    so here’s the caller’s first point…

    caller:
    “i was calling in regards to the paris shootings that happened recently, and i was listening to a pod cast that sam harris did recently and he basically was addressing the reaction that alot of news media had to the killings and it seems like alot of people don’t want to address the issue of islam and the problems of these people taking the book literally and actually acting out on what the book actually says.”

    russel:
    “i don’t know who sam harris is talking to that he doesn’t think that they are objecting to fundamentalism islam and/or terrorism”

    this is a straight up straw man…

    that is not what the caller said… this is about the problem of our media or people failing to discuss if these murderers are taking the teachings of islam literally. which is completely different issue that russel has setup to destroy.

    and it wouldn’t be a decent straw-man if you didn’t have a whack at it right?

    russel:
    “it sure sounded to me like everybody who said anything about the charlie hebdo shootings (except for isis and al qaeda maybe), universally condemned the shootings and that includes a lot of muslim leaders”…

    russel now bashes his setup straw-man, what’s more, he fails dismally… as this attempt to take down his setup illusion is patently untrue…

    your thoughts narf?

    to do this to the entire video is going to take time, why don’t you pop over and check it out for yourself? AiU and TaI1 are far better at presenting this information than I and they have funny pictures to help you remember…

    cheers
    nd

  140. Monocle Smile says

    @naughtee
    You didn’t just post links with your first post. Here’s what went along with that:

    some critical anysis of this episode, seems when you misrepresent and use false equivalence as a large invisible cloak to hide the elephant in your studio… you get lengthy responses

    That’s substance-free and douchey. If you think we’re being “overly sensitive,” then fuck the fuck off. Why are you even here?

    ok, let’s start with me bashing out some quotes from the episode, i’m trying to keep this as accurate as possible

    Russell didn’t set up a straw man. He was exploring the issue and may have slightly misunderstood the caller’s point. The whole point of a discussion is to speak somewhat casually about a topic. You’re accusing Russell of being deliberately dishonest, which just makes you a tool. It’s very, very obvious that you have an ax to grind that has nothing to do with the topic of the call.

    How about we put every discussion you’ve ever had under a microscope and throw a huge fucking bitch fit whenever you don’t precisely understand what the other person is saying? Sound good?

    FYI, your attempts at “humor” suck. Like, a five-year-old wouldn’t laugh.

  141. naughtee says

    @MS, hello, i stand corrected my first post here was actually…

    “well this episode (last caller) shat me completely, it seemed to me TAE shut down the islamic question before the guy got to outline what he was going to ask, @taylor and @conversation cover this extensively yet have to fight upstream to make the point, even here.” so, sorry bout that chief.

    not sure how providing links to relevant information is now what you term “substance-free” ? would that be because you don’t like the substance? and now i’m actually presenting the arguments contained within one of these videos (you’re up to .75hrs btw ;)) you are still attacking me… dude chill out, worst client e v e r girlfriend (well not quite i’ve had some doosies)!

    you’re changing your standards on the fly MS, i’m quite comfortable for “we” to have a “huge fucking bitch fit” 😉 over whatever i’ve written in the past (goodness knows why you’d want to do that, you should calm down me thinks). if you and your homies were to bother, you’d probably find as you go back through my sordid history of commentary, the me now won’t agree with what i’ve said in the past (which i’d happily point out to you), i change my position on topics as i learn more. to learn more i discuss ideas and concepts with people, either in person or on blogs and forums etc. this particular topic IS one of those, i’ve recently changed my position with islamic governance/law/religion and am trying to understand the left’s behavour regarding the discussion and reporting of this phenonema. i’m not sure if you’re aware of the idea of changing ones position on a topic (i’m beginning to doub it), for me it means i now have to go through and examine it carefully from as many sides as i can to get my head around this new position.

    however this is not about me (as much as you seem to wish that so) and pulling a “huge fucking bitch fit” (love that thanks) won’t address the question or call for comments i’ve made will it? in fact even if all the charges you throw at me were correct (they’re not), that STILL wouldn’t effect this topic… would it.

    as an aside, i find it amusing you’ve appointed yourself the judge on humour, of five year olds no less… that in its self is comedy gold right there my excited friend, well done 8-), if your current employment doesn’t work out you can always move into stand-up.

    “Russell didn’t set up a straw man. He was exploring the issue and may have slightly misunderstood the caller’s point.”
    seems like a text book straw man to me MS, and now you’re representing russel’s intentions directly, me, i can only go by what he actually said, but if you know what he was thinking at the time perhaps you should go visit randy for your cool million… sigh. the interesting part was he couldn’t even bash his “misunderstanding” (straw-man) down 🙂 the attack he threw at his straw-man failed as it was simply untrue (i notice you’ve omitted to respond to that part).

    “You’re accusing Russell of being deliberately dishonest…”
    no i’m not. i’m presenting an argument from a video i watched and am calling for comments.

    “…which just makes you a tool…”
    see point above. so i’m a tool because i’m attempting to discuss a video i brought to the table… a video you won’t view unless i type out each word for you to read… ?

    “It’s very, very obvious that you have an ax to grind that has nothing to do with the topic of the call.”
    is it? i can honestly report to you i have no axe to grind, i simply was interested to know how such a quality show such as AE could get and still gets this topic so wrong, well it doesn’t even get it wrong it appears to me that it avoids it at all costs, and this, from seemingly intelligent, quick witted, experienced hosts?
    your behaviour on this blog only reinforces this suspicion. the mind boggles when someone comes to an open blog presents a point of view, only to be called names and have their intentions questioned… are you always like this?

    if i’m upsetting you so much perhaps you should let some of your homies address the point, instead of attacking me personally, i mean we haven’t even started (we’ve got the racist call, false equivalance etc etc) and already you’re all like nasty and such… relax dude. perhaps joseph should take it from here? sorry narf.

    cheers nd

  142. Narf says

    not sure how providing links to relevant information is now what you term “substance-free” ?

    Your second comment, man. I don’t know how many times I have to tell you. That’s when you started going wrong and turned into a troll.

  143. naughtee says

    @narf, so i’m guessing you’re working up a response to the message i sent to you (#157), so we can move on to the other questions raised in these videos you won’t watch?

    you note i’m not relying on you to view them now, i’ve rolled over and am summarising the arguments for you. i still don’t understand how by not doing this you label me a ‘troll’, (i think you’re just being lazy, unless you still think i’m somehow a misogynist in disguise?)… i did inform you up-front that i’m not very good at this argument structure stuff etc.

  144. Narf says

    Nope. I said before that I was pretty much out of fucks to give, and then you went and used up the last one in #154, possibly putting me into fuck-debt. I’ll have to go get some from my girlfriend.

    If you wish to start again fresh sometime, on another subject, in a different post, we’ll see.

  145. naughtee says

    @narf, that is precious thanks.

    joseph, you’re potentially interested in another subject but not this one, because your butt hurts? you don’t seriously expect me to buy that right? you guys ARE a bunch of babies 😎

    “fuckety fuck fuck” seriously? that’s your big take down, AND you involve your girlfriend?… no wonder you’re getting alot of attention from mysoginists… they’re courting you. does your girlfriend know you talk about her like that? and to think all i wanted was for you to check out a couple of videos (slow head shake).

    either way your innability to engage in the topic is noted (and telling), thank you.

  146. naughtee says

    @narf… hmm let’s see arse-hole v misogynist, i guess there can be overlap right?
    you would gain some respect if only you’d take your eyes of the man and play the ball… just get back on topic and address the very first point of the video i kindly translated for you. your refusal do so is somewhat telling.

    what i am (to you), has absolutley no bearing on the point that i’ve forwarded to this forum, none.

    cheers
    nd

  147. Narf says

    Or I could leave it for someone who still cares. You can’t taunt me into something, when I don’t care enough to value your opinion of me.

    Frank hasn’t been involved with you, yet. Maybe he’ll be around on here, sometime this weekend. I’ll leave it for anyone else who wishes to say something, at this point.

  148. Narf says

    I already told you when that would be.

    When the comment that you pointed to as your post of substance begins with multiple paragraphs of insults, how do you expect me to engage you seriously? And I find it hilarious that you would attempt to criticize me for not engaging your points, after your introduction to this section. If your second post had been some kind of response to the questions we asked and a description of the point you were trying to make in posting those videos, we would be having an entirely different discussion, right now.

    Instead you strung out the nonsense past the point of me caring about it, and here we are. Try again on the next blog post, if there’s anything in the next episode that you find interesting.

  149. frankgturner says

    @narf # 167
    Honestly I have been reading this and keeping my distance. I did not think the show was done particularly well, though I would cut Russell and Lynnea some slack as I was having a hard time figuring out what the caller was getting at myself. I listened to that call several times and I could make a tree (like branching evolution) of what I thought was being implied, but it would just be guessing. Asking the hosts and the caller themselves might give a better clue.
    .
    I did listen to some of naughtee’s links and I think it made sense to offer some critique, but it could have been more constructively done in my opinion. One link sounded like it was going out of its way to make harsh criticisms of Russell rather than highlight potential error, like they wanted to attack Russell more so than his statements. Thats my opinion though.
    .
    I honestly thought Matt D could have handled this call a bit better. The call was tough to figure this out as I can’t get a clear picture on what the caller’s intentions were in his understanding of Sam Harris or what Russell and Lynnea thought the caller’s intentions were. And I don’t think the question she asked (about the NAACP) was all that useful but I am sure that some understood it (I think I may have gotten the point, but again this thing was hard to follow).
    .
    I can understand your point though narf as far as why we should spend our time listening to the critique from naughtee without a summary (the descriptions on the youtube videos don’t do the videos justice). I tend to be the kind that actually does try to listen. (Remember how I said to Ton that you have to actually “WATCH THE EPISODE”? I would say the same thing to you regarding naughtee, some valid points are made). The following week’s episode was described as being about sleep paralysis and Matt D started the episode with a wonderful speech about the Paris attacks and how news media treated the situation that I thought sounded much more clear on the topic matter. So sometimes it makes sense to listen despite what is in the descriptions.
    .
    A couple of weeks ago when Matt got the call from the kid Dixon I thought Russell and Lynnea could have handled that better and I think that Matt could have handled this call better, but shit happens. They get who they get.
    .
    I definitely think naughtee here is not addressing the issue in a way that makes him appear opened minded in my opinion despite him saying that he does. His actions sound different particularly given that he makes insults towards extreme liberalism (among other things) in the youtube comments of his videos. He also behaves in a way that I think is too certain. For me, couching your terminology gives the impression of open mindedness, Let me give you an indication of how I might have responded if I were making the criticism.
    .
    Quoting naughtee from $ 157

    “i was calling in regards to the paris shootings that happened recently, and i was listening to a pod cast that sam harris did recently and he basically was addressing the reaction that a lot of news media had to the killings and it seems like alot of people don’t want to address the issue of islam and the problems of these people taking the book literally and actually acting out on what the book actually says.”
    russel:
    “i don’t know who sam harris is talking to that he doesn’t think that they are objecting to fundamentalism islam and/or terrorism”

    What the caller says is a complex, multi layered idea. It has to do with sam harris’s comments on the new media, it also has to do with the idea of people not wanting to address the issue of Muslims taking their scripture literally. Russell seems to have focused on the latter half in his response. I “think” that it is possible that this “may not” have been the main point. (See naughtee, I am saying “might” and “may not” rather than insisting that Russell is deliberately setting up a straw man, I don’t know for sure).
    .
    It seemed to me (another way on indicating that I am not sure but that I am speculating naughtee) that when the name “Sam Harris” was mentioned that this set off a series of ideas in Russell and Lynnea’s heads about what the argument being presented was going to be. This is reasonable given that Harris is pretty well known in the community and has some common arguments. Humans do that, recognize patterns and respond to patterns, like dogs to bells and drooling in the Pavlov experiments, The name “Sam Harris” triggered a response. I don’t think this is what the caller was getting at either.
    .
    Pardon my critique of your critique naughtee but couching your terms explicitly helps in here and I personally think that this helps in general among well educated people. In my personal experience, this has to do with a lot of drive by evangelists coming in here and acting as though certainly and an air of authority will help to convert atheists and agnostics in here. Many of them behave as though we live in a J. M. Barrie novel and that if you convince enough people and they believe hard enough that one can make something a reality. That is a lot of how apologists like William lane Craig argues with his “Divine Knowledge of the Holy Spirit” bullshit, which is essentially saying that he is unopened to falsifiability. It did not sound to me as though you, naughtee, did not leave a obvious, opened avenue to your opinion being considered a falsifiable position or demonstrating an obvious openness to other options. (Then again neither did many responses to what you said).
    .
    Example:

    “i don’t know who sam harris is talking to that he doesn’t think that they are objecting to fundamentalism islam and/or terrorism”
    this is a straight up straw man…
    that is not what the caller said

    You didn’t say that it “sounded like” a straw man, or that it “might be” a straw man. Later you say it “seems like” a straw man to you, which is a bit better, but you don’t present the idea that maybe Russell just misunderstood. (Then again Monocle said that Russell just misunderstood and did not couch his terms either).
    .
    Given that Russell is actually addressing part of the argument (perhaps putting the emphasis on the wrong part though) I personally doubt that this was an intentional straw man. The way that evangelists and creationists set up straw men, by deliberately making obviously false statements about what is meant by certain phrases, perhaps omitting a critical part of the argument (i.e.: quote mining). Then again quote mining is about using part of the argument, often out of context or with emphasis on the wrong part, in order to set up a straw man. One of the videos you linked attributed this to poor listening skills.
    .
    I am opened to the idea that Russell may have set up a straw man, but I honestly don’t know. I can get into his head. I guess my criticism of everyone is this, try not to sound too certain of yourself. (I would say “DON’T EVER sound too certain of yourself,” but that would be hypocritical wouldn’t it?). Evangelists and politicians make the claim that showing the slightest amount of doubt is a sign of weakness. I say that the refusal to show doubt is largely a sign of weakness,
    .
    I just moved on to listen to the next episode which I thought was better done. Not that Russell and Lynnea have not had good shows, some of been great and very thought provoking. This just was not one of the best. I think it might have made more sense to ask the caller for clarification myself.

  150. frankgturner says

    P.S.: Can we all just try to move on? I mean we can learn from this and think about it in the future but somehow I think things got so mixed up that it was just not worth discussing it which is why I have not commented until now.
    .
    BTW Narf, was that a good $0.02 ? (You seemed to be interested in my pinion on the matter).

  151. naughtee says

    @ frankgturner
    “BTW Narf, was that a good $0.02 ? (You seemed to be interested in my pinion on the matter).”
    priceless! lol.

    thanks for the input, i take your point re: avoiding certainties, and you have an interesting hypothesis re: the pavlov dog / sam harris response… not very compelling for me as the caller’s point aligns with sam harris’s stated position anyway and russel’s (false, according to your pavlov idea) jump to his ‘misunderstanding’ of the caller via sam-harris pavlov-conditioning does not equate, as far as i understand it.

    of course i was going to go through each point in turn, but was shut down, i LOVE how you’ve put your finger on what i imagine created the drama in the first place… my per hour fee is a little high for narf’s liking 😉

    either way, i appreciate the time you’ve put in to this comment and the time spent actually watching the links… just pop a bill in the mail for that 😎

  152. Narf says

    @173 – frankgturner

    BTW Narf, was that a good $0.02 ? (You seemed to be interested in my pinion on the matter).

    Heh, I was just trying to come up with someone else who might try to take a shot at tolerating this guy. EL and MS both seemed to be as sick of him as I am.

    Your name was the first one that came to mind. Hell, you were still trying to reason with Adam, long after the rest of us had written him off completely.

  153. frankgturner says

    @MS # 175
    You do enough of presenting the counter argument amd indicating what the arguments are for it that I don;t tend to harp on you indicating when something is certain / not certain. You also ask for clarification so I tend to presume that when you don;t couch your terms that it is because tone doesn’t carry. Many do not couch terms when they are frustrated and you obviously were,
    .
    @ Narf #176
    Adam had some intellectual points and gave some indication of listening and considering the counter arguments but would then go back to arguing certainty and with an air of authority. I came to think of him as an example of how WLC would talk if he were an atheist / agnostic. When I tried to tell him that couching his terms and not behaving in a way that was so certain might get him better reception on here he blew me off and did not even try it.
    .
    @ naughtee # 174
    You are new here so I did not have a chance to see if you were really receptive to the idea of couching your terms and avoiding certainty. MS has so although he does not always couch his terns I get a good indication that he is listening to alternative ideas. You may have heard of what I am about to say before, but it is relevant here.
    .
    I have heard Matt D quoting other debaters and philosophers when he said something to the effect of, “when you entering a debate, in order to present an argument against your opponent you should know your opponent’s argument so well that you could practically make the argument for them.” That is good advice in general and if you watched Matt’s debate with StB it was obvious that Matt knew StB’s position so well that he barely had to break script. This makes sense. Matt had thought of what he would have to observe for StB’s ideas to be correct and even presented some of them, so it was obvious that he gave it honest consideration.
    .
    Thinking like that where you consider counter arguments and what you would I am a scientist myself and we do things like this, consider an argument and consider counter hypotheses, thinking of what we would have to observe for a hypothesis to be indicated as correct and what we would have to observe for the hypothesis to be unsupported, I had considered your idea that Russell was creating a straw man, but it sounded more to me like he just misunderstood the caller’s main point. The caller was giving a background context to his ideas and Russell focused on the background context rather than the main principle. That is a fair thing to do if you disagree with the principle of the context.
    .
    I was speculating about the mention of the name Sam Harris. I don;t know what podcast the caller was referring to and it sounds like neither did Russell and Lynnea. You can go through each point, but don’t go through it presenting your opinion as though it were (metaphorically speaking) hard factual evidence. Present fact as fact, present interpretation of fact, i.e.: opinion, as just that, opinion. Words have meaning by consensus and what is implied by them is not hard fact. You might be “going on what he said” (with reference to Russell), but your understanding of what he said is opinion (that goes for anyone, narf and MS included). Just to give you an example of what I mean naughtee, it seemed to me like you were accusing Russell of being deliberately dishonest in his “straw man” too. When you said “no I’m not” that gave me an indication that this was probably not the case, but given how insistent you were that he WAS setting up a straw man, that conclusion was supported by some of what you said.
    .
    I am not against the idea that Russell may have been setting up a straw man, maybe not deliberately though, and that’s the point, it is something he may have been doing. (Pardon me for highlighting the idea of avoiding certainties, but this is putting in context and it is something people miss all of the time). So (metaphorically speaking) the horse is dead right? We can stop beating it now right?

  154. frankgturner says

    @ naughtee
    P.S.: Matt D.’s talk on episode # 905 was about the Chapel Hill murders and not the Paris attacks. The point was that the episode’s original description had to do with sleep paralysis even though a significant portion was about the Chapel Hill scenario. The point was that this was not originally in the shows description about sleep paralysis. (The Youtube upload has corrected this). So one has to actually watch what naughtee’s links to determine what they are about overall.
    .
    However, giving a good (accurate) description or a brief summary is not a bad idea though naughtee as there are a lot of drive by evangelists in here. Many in here have heard that shit before and don’t want to waste their time with it. That sounds like it is a good source of some of the issue in here.

  155. naughtee says

    what a horse-cart of palava over so little, thanks for the detailed feedback frankgturner.

    yes the horse is dead (probably after dragging that above cart-load) 😉

    no doubt all in sundry have viewed the material so i’m happy about that (saves some typing and the narfster some more dosh ;)_

    cheers

    nd

  156. Hippycow says

    Why do you guys keep taking about a straw man? It seems to me it was more of a red herring. Russell and Lynnea both went off on irrelevant tangents based on words the caller uttered, but having little to do with the point he was trying to discuss. That was pretty annoying. I think Russell doesn’t like Sam Harris because of some differing political views (on guns or abortion, or something, I forget), so he seems to want to immediately dismiss anything Sam Harris says as silly or misguided. In this case, there certainly was some straw man in what he said about Harris, since it was a misrepresentation of what the caller had just said, but really the whole thing they were both doing was throwing out red herrings.

    I did watch the videos and thought they made some solid points and were generally correct in their criticism. At some points got carried away with insults and invective, but I think Russell and Lynnea deserved it to a large extent for their very poor handling of this call.

    My initial reaction to naughtee was similar to Narf, EL and MS though, in that I wasn’t inclined to go watch 45 minutes of videos from a new arrival without a little heads up on what they were about. Naughtee’s intro was rather vague and the immature behavior that followed did not encourage me much. All the time and energy spent on passive-aggressive insults, trolling, sloppy writing, vague references and “humor”* finally gave way to a sentence or two of description for the videos. That’s all that was requested in the beginning. I think it would have been worthwhile to point out that the videos were an analysis of that one particular call, not the whole show as well.

    * “Humor” that only naughtee finds humorous — hint, naughtee: if you are the only one that finds your “jokes” and raucous jocularity to be hilarious, it probably isn’t because nobody else in the world has a sense of humor; you may want to ponder what other causes there might be for this strange phenomenon.

  157. naughtee says

    @hippycow… as i’ve already pointed out, glad this particularly bad episode is being discussed here (i can assure you it’s being discussed elsewhere), your bizarre advice regarding humour is just odd… “in the world” really? this forum now represents the enitire world, you guys need to get out more.

  158. Hippycow says

    lol, nice nit-picking there naughtee. here’s some for you: “you guys” — huh? since when am I more than one person? and what advice did I give? lol, dude. learn how to read and you might pick up some grammar and punctuation skills n stuff like that. its like an elephant in a room man. lol. rotfl.

  159. Narf says

    @181 – naughtee

    as i’ve already pointed out, glad this particularly bad episode is being discussed here

    And I might have agreed with you that it was one of my least favorite episodes in a while, if the discussion had gone another direction. As it was, though, you were too insufferable to make me want to bother getting into details.

  160. naughtee says

    and narf jumps in with like an idiotic admitting that my behaviour effects how he assesses the episode in question… what a dick.

    be man enough to agree with people even if you don’t like them, it’s not their attitude that counts it’s the message or in this case the abysmal performance of the hosts and the critiques presented… sigh

  161. Narf says

    I doubt I agree with you on half of the details, though, and I’d have to spend a lot more time talking to you than I wish, in order to sort through those details. Just write it off and move on. I have.

  162. naughtee says

    bwaaahah, dude, grow a pair and admit you’ve watched the videos i linked at the start and address the points made by the authors, or better still impress us all with your amazing intellect and rip the call apart yourself, don’t be such a sycophant fanboy and present some critical thinking for yourself, you may score some extra cabin-boy credit-points and move up a level.

    cheers
    nd

  163. Narf says

    Sorry, haven’t watched those videos you linked. I really don’t care whether or not you believe me. You can tell yourself whatever you want.

  164. futrix says

    I think you guys were pretty off on what the last caller was talking about when he called in relation to Islam. It seemed like minutes of discussion from people who didn’t understand the question. The caller’s initial question/topic was on Sam Harris’ view that the media is scared to discuss Islam’s role in the creation of terrorists. The caller was bringing up a fear within the media of discussing how the literal reading of one holy book within one religion is the reason these horrible acts occur. The response the caller got had nothing to do with the topic, the response he got was about the subject of racism. He seemed so baffled that the subject had turned that he didn’t know what to do. This isn’t a discussion about race. Islam is not a race and open criticism of Islam is not racist.

    “I think that Sam Harris is mistaken when he says things like: people don’t condemn the shootings.”
    That is what Russell said which says to me that he doesn’t know what Sam Harris truly thinks on this topic and did not understand the topic he was presented with. What Harris will say isn’t that the shootings lack condemnation, but that the condemnation we give them are empty and meaningless. Harris would say that it isn’t the shootings we should be focusing on when we offer condemnation, but the religious cause of the shootings. What Harris and the others are looking for isn’t a plaque that reads “I’m not racist” (as Lynnea suggested). What they are looking for is an open discussion (publicly, in the media) on the harmful teachings of a religion and a discussion on how we can attempt to fight the indoctrination and the spread of harmful ideas.

    The conversation eventually got somewhat back on topic, but it never should have been dragged off topic and it was pretty disappointing to see. It is very sad to see criticism and discussions on Islam get dragged into discussions of race.

  165. Hippycow says

    Jeeze naughtee, enough with the trolling already. Are you like this in person, or is the does the internet bring out the thirteen-year-old in you? Scroll up and read all the childish nonsense you are posting and maybe you’ll get some idea why people aren’t responding to the “substance” hidden deep below the layers of childish petulance. It really is unnecessary and the idea that saying so is “tone trolling” doesn’t hold water. It is really tedious to have a discussion with someone who is being insulting and childishly cantankerous at every turn. The passive-aggressive style makes me think you might really be a Christian at play. That’s why people are tuning you out here. Look at a lot of other threads and you’ll see that Narf is generally amicable. You seem to be trying to pick a fight for no reason.

    Also, please go look up the word “effect.” Read that definition a few times, then go look up “affect.” Now try to compose a correct sentence with each of these. Wash, rinse, repeat.

  166. naughtee says

    “Christian at play”, thanks i like that one 😉

    and effect v’s affect yes, i agree, i do need to nail that one down, been on my list for a while (amongst others, one thing at a time).

    “Look at a lot of other threads and you’ll see that Narf is generally amicable.”… so it’s my fault that narf is being a dick here purely due to me being “cantankerous at every turn”?… i know you’ll paint that question as ME being a dick, whatever.

    perhaps if narf had half a brain, he would have swallowed his gum, as i did at when the race card was used and the very first question was misrepresented so blatantly, then actually criticised the failure of the hosts himself without using the fact he thinks i’m a i’m a moron to avoid it completely?

    as i indicated at the start, i am not well versed with debate methods, terminology etc and i’ll be the first to admit i’m not particularly well educated. so? if you want to call into question my motives that’s fine, i don’t give a fuck about that, it does nothing to counter the fact this episode dealing with, what i believe is an important topic (understatement) by a well known international atheist and skeptical thinking show/forum completely dropped the ball… a couple of influential liberal thinkers failed to condemn islamic governance, and instruction, for the daily, barbaric murders being dealt out by advocates of islam, in the name of islam and being encouraged by islamic leaders every day. i witnessed the media and public here in australia use the very same misdirection, attempting ‘wish-away’ the very real connection of this violence to islamic religion.

    i simply suggested these idiots (narf and monobrow or whatever) have a look at the points being made, made far more succinctly than i can, and to this day, i feel, you have breezed over them, narf here is happy to reject even considering them and blames ME for his intellectual laziness/incompetence.

    i felt, this caller presented a series of questions that were mishandled completely (and that is being rather ‘accommodating’). the use of ‘race’ and false equivalence to other unrelated violence was rather telling (in my opinion). not accidental as you posit, not a misunderstanding of the caller but a unwillingness to call a spade a spade (again this is my opinion).

    when i visited this open forum covering the very episode i was disappointed, i expected to see a thorough discussion of how this could happen, especially after so many years of excellent, what i felt, balanced comment on the harm religious indoctrination causes in our society, yet found nothing of the sort. it was like an extension of the very show i came to criticise, i encountered a couple of numb-nuts that felt they had privilege over me as they’d been polishing the crew’s nuts for longer than i. blaming me for being rude to imbeciles misses the entire point.

    cheers nd

  167. yngvef says

    I just want to pitch in regarding the last caller. Just saw the video on youtube as I had some catching up to do.

    Normally I think Atheist Experience is doing an excellent job, but in this case I was negatively surprised by the hosts response to the last caller. Even accusing him of looking for a “free card” to avoid being labeled a racist.

    Is it suddenly so that criticism of islam = racism?

    Saying the arab people are all terrorists *is* racism.

    Saying the horrible texts in Quran and the ideology of Islam is horrible is *NOT* racism. Any ideology, religion, political opinion et cetera is a free fire zone when it comes to criticism… And you know it, and have argued that exact point many times.

    Neither is it racism in saying that the Quran is a “terrorist manual” as some of the more radical critics might say. You may argue that it is factually incorrect or that you disagree, but it is not racism. It is a criticism of a book, an idea.. a very bad idea that is still followed more or less literally by millions of people all over the world.

    The Quran specifically tells about how Muhammad had some poets executed because they made fun of him. I don’t remember which sura it was, but it’s in there. Literalists could easily use that book to justify the Charlie Hebdo shooting as well as countless other unsavory actions performed in the name of that religion.

    I am personally getting a bit sick and tired of the good ol’ “No True Scotsman” argument/fallacy when it comes to religion. I still remember how Fox News Bill O’reilly weaseled around to show that Anders Behring Breivik of the July 22 mass shooting in Norway was “not a christian”… despite Breivik stating clearly that he did what he did as part of a holy war between christianity and islam, and how it was his duty as a modern day crusader to stop islam from spreading into his country.I say simply: Breiviks actions were his own, but the blame also lies with the religion (not the other religious… keep in mind the difference).

    This is the same way that I give partial blame to islam for 9/11 and Charlie Hebdo. Sure, most followers of the religions don’t do such things… even if their holy books actually support and demand such actions against the “infidels”. To simply claim that they are not “true religious” just because they do something unsavory is a cop out that moderate religious have been using forever to justify their horrible religion.

    Today, most christians don’t use the bible to justify horrendous acts… but it doesn’t make the bible and it’s possible justifications any less horrendous.

    Most muslims don’t use the quran to justify horrendous acts… but it doesn’t make the quran an less horrendous.

  168. Funslinger says

    @12 – Russell

    My concern is that the media is not painting a true picture of the potential threat that is Islam. If you can point out another religion where 20% of its followers (http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/polls-finding-on-islam-and-violence-should-ring-alarm-bells.aspx?pageID=449&nID=77797&NewsCatID=412) in a country, along with some of its leaders, proclaim that an event like the Hebdo shootings are justified then I’d start criticizing that religion as strongly as I do Islam.

    The West needs to get serious about confronting Islamic leaders on this issue. These leaders need to be doing a much better job of passing on the message that killings like those at Hebdo are to be condemned rather than supported at a 20% clip. If we aren’t careful we could wake up one day to find that 50% of muslims support such heinous acts. Now is the time to be duscussing these issues with Islamic leaders (some of whom are supporters of these heinous acts).

  169. Funslinger says

    @17 – Monocle Smile wrote:
    “Anders Breivik, the Norwegian nutter who slaughtered a shit ton of people, wrote an absolutely massive Christian manifesto before he committed his crimes. Exactly how many people in the media world laid blame at the feet of Christianity? Zero, as far as I know. I would love to be corrected.”

    Was there a country where 20% of polled Christians approved of his actions? And Christian leaders tried to place the blame on “Christianophobia” instead of a lack of control within Christianity.

    Well it happened in Turkey after the Hebdo killings.
    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/polls-finding-on-islam-and-violence-should-ring-alarm-bells.aspx?pageID=449&nID=77797&NewsCatID=412
    It’s time that Islamic apologists simply shut up or get onboard the effort to bring about more dialog with Islamic leaders so we can get this issue solved.

  170. Sean C says

    Hello everyone. I’m the last caller in this video. I found out by accident that there were reaction vids to my call via youtube. I followed a link to this thread. Thank you for trying to understand what my first point was. I just wanted to have an honest discussion about Islamic ideas, and the Quran, and the news media dodging the question. I wanted to discuss if reading the book literally can lead to violence, or if there are other factors.
    Yo guys are all awesome for trying to understand my point. I appreciate it.

  171. michael straney says

    I was extremely disappointed in the shows treatment of Sean, and the issue he tried to raise[which seemed completely ignored]. Lynnea singling out his race, and assuming racist motives seems to have been baseless, in bad faith, and showed extremely poor form. What I found bizarre was the refusal to call Islam a bad idea. Is this still an atheist show, or have you accepted Islam as the one true and good faith now? Christianity is bad. Islam is bad. Believing false ideas is bad. Is that a blanket ‘race placard’, or is it only that when one fails to mention ALL faiths in the course of discussing ONE? Your show has discussed Christianity plenty without nary a mention of ANY other faith for such contextualization. This makes me strongly question your intellectual integrity, and the value of your content.

  172. Hippycow says

    Yeah Michael, it was pretty appalling. #904 is by far the worst episode of the show that I’ve witnessed.