Open thread for episode #939: Tracie Harris and Jen Peeples


Tracie and Jen discuss atheist topics and take viewer calls.

Comments

  1. Pete Watts says

    Just ike to say that it’s great listening to the atheist ladies on Atheist Experience. As a tendency atheist women are typically smarter and better-educated than theist ones (same for guys) but also have greater self-confidence. That’s a lot more interesting than “demure” women. Some men dont like clever women – I do. Listening to a clever educated woman express her opinions is a great aphrodisiac. 🙂 Seriously, it’s great to relate as equals – the Abrahamic religions, plus the other probably also, to a greater or lesser extent teach against that.

  2. enceler says

    #939:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gECkbDQNeZ4

    5:00: Intro
    6:50: Topic: National Coming Out Day & Texas
    17:50: Caller Ethan (Morality)
    29:10: Caller Brett (Abortion)
    42:10: Caller Till (Humanism)
    51:00: Caller Kenneth (Mind)
    01:14:10: Caller Cameron (Reasons for becoming atheist)
    01:20:50: Caller Raphael (Incest)

  3. favog says

    There are also (or at least have been) cultures whose incest taboos take into account the concepts of “cross cousins” vs. “parallel cousins”. You’re cross cousins if the siblings that connect you are a male and a female, parallel cousins if the siblings are the same sex. Some of these cultures will allow you to mate with one side, but not the other, and it varies which side is the prohibited one. Genetically, of course, it’s all the same, but the custom comes from before those had been discovered so magic of some kind had to serve as the justification for the rule.

  4. walkingmap says

    Tracie and Jen,
    That was a great show, and your analogy, scratch that, pointing out that we do not require mandatory blood and or organ donations from one human being to another gives me ammo when discussing abortion with those opposed to it. And Tracie, the Socratic way you lead Brett to the logic of your position was wonderful to watch.
    Thanks

  5. Eric Cameron! says

    I am an unbeliever. I have no children and I am unable to have children so I could care less about abortion. But the things Tracie was saying here about abortion and women’s rights is wrong. If women have the right to abort an unwanted child than men should have the right to bash in the head of their unwanted child after their child is born. Men should have a nine month grace period to decide if they want to bash in the head of their child or if they want to provide for the child for 18 years. I’m not rich. I don’t have $250,000 to raise a child. Sex and children are a complete accident, right? There’s nothing anybody can do about it. I learned about sex and pregnancy in the 7th grade but chose to ignore what I was taught. It’s easier if I choose to ignore important things like that. That way I can’t be proven wrong.
    Men have no rights when it comes to deciding if their child is aborted or not. If a man gets a woman pregnant the man is told to deal with it and to provide for that child until it is 18 years old. Me having sex with a woman is a mistake. I had no idea the woman was going to get pregnant. NOT.
    Tracy said that consent for sex is not consent for pregnancy. Nigga please. If you’re telling me that a woman who has sex doesn’t know she can become pregnant that woman is a dumbass. That’s like saying that consent for eating is not consent for pooping. If I eat I know I’m going to have to poop. When I eat I am fully prepared to poop when that time comes. I’m not going to ask a doctor to abort my poop so I don’t have to pass it. Pooping can cause me pain and can cause blood vessels in my rectum to rupture making me bleed and die. I fully understand the repercussions of eating. Just like men and women know the repercussions of having sex.
    I could go on and on about this. But Tracie will never understand why she is wrong. What is the difference between a woman getting an abortion and a man bashing his infant’s head and with a rock? It’s all birth control. An infant is an empty vessel that knows nothing about the world it has come into. Bash away. Who cares if an infant lives or dies? Not me. I fully support population control. I don’t want Tracie’s dumbass children in this world anyway. I guess it really wouldn’t matter to me if my parents had bashed my head in or not. I would never know the difference.

    I was drunk when I composed this message. but I’m still pretty smart. Aren’t I? love you guys.

  6. Cousin Ricky says

    At 16:49, Jen started to say, “Stop telling people…,” then the audio cut out. From her tone of voice, it sounded important. What did you say, Jen?

  7. daddyleon says

    Tracie said a couple of times “people like me” (and with the abortion question, also ‘this could be painful’, something like that), does anyone know what is she referring to? Is it the para-social thing?

  8. says

    Hello Ricky – Jen was talking about how people who say things about “let’s just let Texas secede” are actually promoting “give up” to voters within the state who may buy into the idea that there’s nothing that can be done, so why even try? She recommends not being so dismissive about the state, and rather viewing it as an opportunity to apply some effort for change.

  9. says

    Hello Leon:
    >Tracie said a couple of times “people like me” (and with the abortion question, also ‘this could be painful’, something like that), does anyone know what is she referring to? Is it the para-social thing?

    No, the parasocial thing was a different point. I can’t recall the context/s of the “people like me” comments, so am not sure what I might have been self-referencing. But with the “this could be painful,” it’s just that discussions on abortion are often painful to have, because people often lead with emotion and aren’t very rational, so they’re tiresome–although important and necessary.

  10. says

    Hello Pete:
    >Listening to a clever educated woman express her opinions is a great aphrodisiac.

    I often call this “I like ur brain boobz.” No harm, no foul, since we can’t control what floats our boats (to any great immediate degree), so nothing wrong with whatever gets a person off. But it really is amazing to me the way humans can sexualize just about anything and everything: Rule 34. 🙂

  11. says

    Eric:

    I am an unbeliever. I have no children and I am unable to have children so I could care less about abortion. But the things Tracie was saying here about abortion and women’s rights is wrong. If women have the right to abort an unwanted child than men should have the right to bash in the head of their unwanted child after their child is born.

    Can you explain how the child violates the man’s bodily integrity? I’m not following how you’re viewing a conflict of rights inherent in one human using the body of another to sustain itself and two completely independently existing humans that are each capable of physical autonomy?

    Men should have a nine month grace period to decide if they want to bash in the head of their child or if they want to provide for the child for 18 years.

    Please explain how the child that is born is violating the man’s bodily autonomy? I’m not following.

    I’m not rich. I don’t have $250,000 to raise a child. Sex and children are a complete accident, right?

    When they’re unplanned, right. But this is a separate issue than abortion, which is strictly tied to bodily rights that are being violated and whether or not a woman can make medical decisions about HERSELF, even if they impact someone else who is, without her consent, using her body to sustain themselves. Where do you see this violation occurring in the “man vs. born child” scenario?

    There’s nothing anybody can do about it.

    While there are precautions available, much like auto accidents, even with seatbelts, accidents still happen and people are still harmed on the roads. I don’t see how the availability of precautionary measures means that an accident is not an accident? Unintended consequences are labeled as “accidental”—and accidents often occur in all walks of life despite reasonable levels of prudence. But even if available precautions are not utilized, we still allow remedy and mitigation if unintended risk events occur. That is, even if you fail to wear a seatbelt, we’ll still get you to a hospital if you’re injured in an accident. We don’t ask if you had your seat belt on before we treat you in the ER.

    I learned about sex and pregnancy in the 7th grade but chose to ignore what I was taught. It’s easier if I choose to ignore important things like that. That way I can’t be proven wrong.

    I’m not sure this is actually even coherent. I get your first two sentences but you failed to actually tie that last one in, in any coherent way.

    Men have no rights when it comes to deciding if their child is aborted or not.

    Because their bodily integrity is not at risk. We’re asking: Can a woman make medical decisions about physical realities that could harm or kill her—even if it impacts someone else’s life?

    In other words, can I decide whether or not to donate a kidney to my dying child, even if my child will die without that donation? Since there are risks associated with that event, I have to make that decision—and if my child dies because I will not risk my bodily integrity—even though I have chosen my parental obligations with full consent—no crime has been committed—it’s within my rights.

    And in this scenario—the man has similar legal respect. His bodily integrity is not required to be violated even if it means his own child will die.

    Both the mother and father cannot have their bodily integrity violated—so I fail to see the discrepancy? Why would making the same choice in the event of a pregnancy change this principle?

    If a man gets a woman pregnant the man is told to deal with it and to provide for that child until it is 18 years old.

    And if the woman keeps the child, she is also similarly compelled. But this has zero to do with abortion rights—because nobody’s body is put at risk in these scenarios. The existence of that child, once born, does not pose this risk to anyone any longer. You seem to be confusing parental rights with bodily rights.

    Me having sex with a woman is a mistake.

    You mistakenly had sex? This is actually a good example of the difference between sex and pregnancy. “Accidental sex” is not an often heard dialog because you are aware of what you have consented to (assuming consensual status).

    I had no idea the woman was going to get pregnant. NOT.

    But you can be surprised by a pregnancy some time after a sex act has occurred. But are you saying you do or do not have the ability to predict which sex acts will result in a pregnancy—because if you’re claiming you can, that’s clairvoyance, and I don’t believe you have that ability. Most sex acts do not result in pregnancy in human beings—because we are, relative to most other species, piss poor procreators. Sex in humans serves more of a social purpose as evidenced by the male penis being perfect for dealing with sperm competition, the women’s estrous being practically hidden, and the fact that we can/do routinely mate outside of fertile cycles. We appear to have evolved away from sex for procreation and more toward sex as a social tool—like some other primate species. So, the idea that one should assume sex will result in a pregnancy seems a strange idea to me.

    Tracy said that consent for sex is not consent for pregnancy.

    I’m not sure if it was me or Jen, but that’s correct.

    Nigga please.

    Admin warning: Refrain from racist language.

    If you’re telling me that a woman who has sex doesn’t know she can become pregnant that woman is a dumbass.

    If you’re telling me that someone who drives doesn’t know they be injured or killed in an auto accident, that person is…what? Accidents still happen, and we allow people involved in them medical access to mitigate further risk and harm. In other words, they can get help and stop things from getting worse—and we proactively see to that by sending out emergency response. Whether they wore a seatbelt or not, is irrelevant.

    That’s like saying that consent for eating is not consent for pooping.

    You are assuming pregnancy will occur with sex, and that’s a faulty assumption. Sex comes with one set of risks. Pregnancy comes with another. Just because I say I’m willing to risk contracting an STD, does not mean I consent to die in childbirth—anymore than saying that if I consent to drive a car, I also consent to die on the road and have waived my right to medical help if an accident occurs.

    If I eat I know I’m going to have to poop.

    And if you have sex, you *know* you’re going to have a pregnancy? I challenge that claim—as would any patient at a fertility clinic.

    When I eat I am fully prepared to poop when that time comes.

    When you drive, are you fully prepared to die on the roadside and not be allowed to get to an ER?

    I’m not going to ask a doctor to abort my poop so I don’t have to pass it. Pooping can cause me pain and can cause blood vessels in my rectum to rupture making me bleed and die. I fully understand the repercussions of eating. Just like men and women know the repercussions of having sex.

    Would it be illegal to ask a doctor to abort your poop? No. A doctor may not do it because they are not supposed to provide remedy that is potentially more risky than the situation they are trying to remedy. In the case of pregnancy, it is more of a risk than the abortion.

    The question here is a simple one: Does someone else have a right to use another person’s body without their consent? In what other situation do we allow this? Do we force people who have taken on parental obligations under the law to lend their bodies to the continued existence of their children? No. Did they have sex? Yes. Did they agree to have this child? Let’s assume total consent—and say “Yes.” Do we then compel them to violate their bodily integrity to save their children since they “knew” they were going to have these kids and agreed to be fully, parentally responsible to them and obligated to them? No, we do not. And a pregnant woman is in no way *less* deserving of basic rights to make decisions about her health and welfare than any other person who has also had sex.

    I could go on and on about this.

    I’m sure you could.

    But Tracie will never understand why she is wrong.

    If your comment was supposed to be the catalyst, then you’re right. It’s not working.

    What is the difference between a woman getting an abortion and a man bashing his infant’s head and with a rock?

    You don’t even understand the basic issue involved in the question, and it’s just Dunning-Kruger at work that you’re trying to pretend to explain it to anyone else.

    It’s all birth control.

    It’s not anything to do with birth control. That issue could not be less relevant to this question.

    An infant is an empty vessel that knows nothing about the world it has come into.

    Irrelevant. There may be a person who is unable to be held accountable for their actions who commits assault on someone else’s body, and the fact the assailant isn’t responsible and can’t understand the potential harm they’re capable of does not mean the person being assaulted cannot defend themselves and protect their own bodies.

    Bash away.

    When it violates your body, yes.

    Who cares if an infant lives or dies? Not me.

    You could have fooled me. You’re willing to gut people’s most basic rights to make decisions about their own health and biological welfare—because this issue means so much to you. But it’s telling that it seems to be, to you, about taking an opportunity to condemn “irresponsible sex,” rather than address the actual issue.

    I fully support population control.

    This has zero to do with population control. You are so far off base in your commentary.

    I don’t want Tracie’s dumbass children in this world anyway.

    Aw. Is this supposed to make me upset—that you’ve now not only demonstrated a lack of understanding about the issue, but are now lashing out like an elementary child on a playground with transparent attempts to hurt my feelings?

    I guess it really wouldn’t matter to me if my parents had bashed my head in or not.

    Despite how ridiculous you’re behaving, I would not have condoned that.

    I would never know the difference.

    Likely not, but it’s still illegal, and for good reason. They would have no right to violate YOUR bodily integrity since you were not imposing in any way upon theirs.

    I was drunk when I composed this message. but I’m still pretty smart. Aren’t I? love you guys.

    Is this your get-out-of-jail-free-card? Your opinions aren’t actually ignorant and ridiculous? You were just “drunk”? Isn’t that what people assert after they’ve done things they don’t want to take responsibility for? And you have the nerve to accuse others of being irresponsible as you try and slide in “I was drunk”? In addition to all of the above, you’re a hypocrite.

  12. says

    I guess it really wouldn’t matter to me if my parents had bashed my head in or not. I would never know the difference.

    Well, it would go a long way to explaining your desperately awful arguing skills.

  13. ironchops says

    On Abortion:
    On the one hand I am pro-choice but on the other hand I am against using public money to pay for abortion simply as a form of birth control. It is preventable and, like anything else, there are abusers. I know a single young underprivileged woman (25 years young) who has had 5 abortions and 3 children. Where is the morality? Is that ok? She is on food stamps and unemployed. When should she take, or be made to take, responsible action on her own behalf to prevent getting pregnant? After all, she does know where babies come from and she has access to birth control, the pills/patches are in her medicine cabinet. I would much rather pay for birth control pills rather than abortions. When should society step in to decide enough is enough? I do not want this to be regarded as all the woman’s fault. The men are just as responsible and need to step up and either take preventative measures or take their hard earned money to pay for the procedure.
    Tracie, please explain how you can say “when you had sex you had no to way to know that in a month or two that you would get hit with the information you are now pregnant”? Is that supposed to be coming from the viewpoint of someone that doesn’t know how babies are made? Isn’t that one of the risks one takes when engaging in that activity?

  14. Conversion Tube says

    I stopped Reading Eric’s response after a few lines. However there was one point I agreed. I had my wife listen to Tracy and Jen’s response because it was so well said. I loved how you attacked the premise of the statement.

    Here is the point I disagreed.

    When Tracy said something to the affect of “We are not to expect or find that we are pregnant 30 days after sex” . Say what? Perhaps she didn’t mean it that way or perhaps I should go back and listen again. But yes, if you have unprotected sex, absolutely you should not be surprised or find it unexpected to be pregnant 30 days later.

  15. Ethan Myerson says

    As much as I don’t want to be that guy, after reading Tracie’s response (#13), I gotta say, “I love ur brainboobz”. 😉

    Kidding aside, great job exposing the vacuous argumentation, the fallacies, and the hypocrisy of that whole post. And congrats to everyone involved in this latest episode. Each week seems to get better and better regarding the technical issues. Thanks to you all for all you do!

  16. daddyleon says

    @ heinart
    > No, the parasocial thing was a different point. I can’t recall the context/s of the “people like me” comments, so am not sure what I might have been self-referencing. But with the “this could be painful,” it’s just that discussions on abortion are often painful to have, because people often lead with emotion and aren’t very rational, so they’re tiresome–although important and necessary.

    Yeah, I thought it was a different thing too.

    Well she said, Jen should handle the question (but still basically commandeered it perfectly herself), with the reason for it being that it would be painful (suggesting that this was specifically in relation with her). Which I also found interesting.

  17. greenjelly01 says

    The thing about incest has more actual basis in science. As a species, we have benefited greatly by breeding across communities:
    http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20151013-how-interbreeding-shaped-us
    Sure, it doesn’t mean that incest must be banned completely – but there is value in building a social perception discouraging breeding within small families and encouraging diversity in marriages. This is a case where on a case by case basis there is little “moral” objection to incest, but at a large scale it is generally beneficial to avoid incest. A social taboo on incest plays the role of ensuring that our species didn’t get subdivided into distinct closely knit families. But perhaps now the species is large and diverse enough for this to no longer matter.

  18. tonyinbatavia says

    ironchops @15: I don’t believe you can be classified in any way as pro-choice. Anyone who wants society to step in at some point to restrict a woman’s choice is decidedly anti-choice. I believe you would be better classified as anti-welfare-queen, what with your looking to punish women for their repeated immorality and all.

    Choice. The moment you restrict it in any way is the moment you are anti-choice.

    Me, I’m happy she chose to have those five abortions. Since I’m not squicked out by a safe medical procedure, I believe having an abortion is as morally neutral as taking birth control. I further believe it to be much more moral to provide for the children she has, such as she can, than bring five more children into the world. Yeah, birth control is cheaper than having an abortion, but an abortion is far less expensive than providing a child with food stamps for 18 years. So, good for her. And good for her three children that she has chosen not to make matters even worse.

  19. Monocle Smile says

    @ironchops
    The shortcomings of that woman are irrelevant when it comes to public policy, because she is a stark minority. But even if she wasn’t, that’s still not cause to blanketly outlaw abortion.

    EnlightenmentLiberal has often said that even if 90% of food stamp recipients were scam artists and only 10% needed the help, he’d still support food stamps. I agree entirely.

  20. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @MS
    Completely agreed. I do <3 that line of attack. It seems to cut right to the chase with libertarians, which makes it a useful tactic.

    Minor note: I'm totally ok with policies that will create incentives for people on food stamps to get jobs, on the condition that it doesn't lead to more people going hungry. Of course, the analogy to abortions doesn't follow, because I don't see abortions (at least before 6 months) as any kind of negative in any way. It's the woman's body, and it's her choice, and I simply have no interests in the matter, just like I have no interests in the matter if a person wants to get a tattoo, or pierce their ears.

  21. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Tracie:
    Just a friendly heads-up. Sam Harris has said some very horrible things, and advocated some very horrible things. His book “The Moral Landscape” AFAIK is still respectable, but you may need to offer preemptive disclaimers like “I don’t suggest anything else by him because Sam has said some horrible things in other contexts”.

  22. daddyleon says

    @24: EnlightenmentLiberal
    > Sam Harris has said some very horrible things, and advocated some very horrible things

    Maybe that’s exactly the reason why you should read it too, I haven’t read it not in isolation or in context.

  23. ironchops says

    @ 20, 22 & 23 Thanks for the input.
    As I read your posts and think it over and re-read my own post I think to myself “Wow….I am an ignorant hick!” I have lived my entire life in a vacuum.
    I am pro-choice, or at least try to be. I hate laws against abortion. I strongly disagree with the conservative stance on abortion, although admittedly I still allow that thinking to pollute my political views. I also seem to be mixing several issues into one argument instead of taking each issue on independently. I can now see that there is no real connection between sex and pregnancy. I did pick on a bad example to start with. The person I mentioned has so many other issues, child abuse/neglect & drug/substance abuse and possibly actual mental disorders. Yes…….abort away! Abortion is not the root problem.
    I sure hope there is an end to how ignorant and narrow minded I can be!

  24. tonyinbatavia says

    ironchops @26, don’t beat yourself up. There is no end to the ignorance, for any of us; there’s just too much out there to know. The key is to try to keep learning.

    I give you a lot credit for not just digging in and reacting negatively to our posts to you. It’s the digging in that can too often stifle learning.

    Incidentally, I can relate to reacting to a particular person. Years ago I judged my own sister in similar ways for similar reasons and used her as an example for why we needed to turn off the public spigot for abortions. It took a good 15 or so years for me to really understand how, regardless of how I felt about my sister, abortions are truly a public good. It also helped to understand how much more difficult her life might have been with even more kids.

  25. Esquilax says

    Ironchops @15

    I would much rather pay for birth control pills rather than abortions.

    I swear this isn’t just me giving you a hard time, since I see that you’ve seriously considered what others have been saying to you, so good on you for that, but… you do realize that there’s almost no way that you pay for any abortions at all, yes? It’s a common piece of conservative rhetoric that our tax dollars fund abortion, but like so many other conservative talking points it’s also a lie: federal money rarely goes to abortions, and it’s been that way for something like 30 years. There is simply no way that you or any other citizen is spending a dime on other people’s abortions.

  26. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @daddyleon
    What’s your point, exactly? I’m getting the impression that you’re trying to throw some subtext in there and make some point, but I’m not exactly sure what it is.

    I have seen many lectures of Sam Harris regarding the material in his book “The Moral Landscape”, and I am in strong agreement with almost everything I’ve heard. Thus, I am not speaking in complete ignorance.

    Sam Harris was the first person who I heard make the point that our morality necessarily starts with some basic moral pressupositions (albeit a point he often makes badly and unclearly), and that with those in place, there are right and wrong answers to many moral questions (a point he often makes clearly) just like there are right and wrong answers to what behaviors et al are physically healthy for the human body and which are not. He often uses that exact comparison, and I think it’s beautiful. In fact, I will probably always thoroughly respect him for being the first to make these points strongly, publicly, and clearly enough that I understood it. However, I also recognize that he’s a pretty horrible person on other topics.

  27. Anders says

    Regarding the incest, you can always skip the contraception and just assume it’s a pair of consenting homosexuals. No risk of pregnancy there.

  28. favog says

    My take on the whole Sam Harris thing, sure, the book he wrote on morals is a great resource … but like a lot of other humans, Harris explains the idea better than he lives it.

  29. Rhett Rothberg says

    I have some thoughts on the abortion topic…

    1. To some extent, the only issue is the law. It doesn’t really matter what people’s personal views are on the subject. A person may have some concerns with abortions, but in the end, the only important question is what laws should or shouldn’t be put in to place. Do you make abortion illegal or not? That’s really it at the end… Certainly people’s feelings will inform that opinion, but they aren’t necessarily correlated.

    2. I appreciate the treatment of the topic on the show. The example about blood donation is fairly solid. Blood donations are needed to keep people alive, but should we compel people by law to do so? We have all agreed (in the social contract sense) that we should not. But I think, in the context of this show where to some extent the secular approach to abortion is explained, there is something left out….a discussion of the ethics. There was no discussion of late term abortion. Does the blood donation extend to an abortion carried out on a fetus that is at 30 weeks? That’s a pre-term baby, but it’s viable? What about extending the blood donation analogy? Let’s say there is a 40 year old man with a wife and 4 young kids who needs a blood transfusion to live and will die in one month without it. Suppose he has a rare type of blood and there is only one person identified who can provide the blood transfusion. Under the analogy given in the show, that person is under no compulsion to donate their blood. And I would agree that they should be so compelled. But if they decide not to donate the blood, let’s say simply because they don’t like needles, and the man dies leaving his wife and kids behind, should not that person at least deserve some scorn? Should they not feel some responsibility? Now, per the show’s treatment, the response would be, well, that person needs to live with that decision. And, that is a rational response, but I think it, and this is where I still have question on the secular approach to abortion, is a little lacking.

    3. If the idea of advancing this secular philosophical approach to abortion is to “convert” or at least win over people with regard to law and policy, I think you (the royal you…it’s an issue for all of us) have to address the issue above. I am not one to argue issues on emotional grounds…I prefer the rational approach, but that is not the battleground upon which a lot of the abortion debate is fought. So I think we secularists need to get better at that part of it. The response in the show was pretty emotionally spartan…

    Thanks!!

  30. ironchops says

    @ 28, Esquilax et al
    Yea, my canned (Christian) responses pop out before I actually think it through, yet another department I need to work on. I am starting to realize that as I crawl out from under the rock of Christianity, the rock that many non-Christians have told me to go back under, the more work I need to do on myself. It seems to be expanding faster than my ability to keep up.
    I looked up abortion rates in the US on google and found in 2011 that roughly about 800,000 abortions were performed. Of these approximately 90% (at around $400 per procedure) were in the first trimester and the remaining 10% were in the later 2 trimesters at near $3000 ea. A different search indicated that 120,000,000 people were reported as working full time, of which I was one of them. Doing simple math of 800,000*90%*400=288,000,000 and 800,000*10%*3000=240,000,000. Adding the 2 results I get $528,000,000 and then divide this by 120,000,000 people and the total is a whopping $4.40 per working person.
    My (and the conservatives) argument seems terribly petty to say that $4.40 per year to pay for all of the abortions is too much. I suppose that even if the abortion rate went up by a factor of 10 and the cost went by a factor of 10 then it really is not unreasonable to use federal money to pay for all abortions, after all, the federal government pisses way more money away then that on way stupider stuff. I almost feel ashamed to have ever used that argument.
    Before anyone attacks these figures please remember that these are just round-a-bouts contrived by a mere peon. The exact numbers I will leave up to someone to do much better research.

  31. daddyleon says

    @ EnlightenmentLiberal
    > What’s your point, exactly? I’m getting the impression that you’re trying to throw some subtext in there and make some point, but I’m not exactly sure what it is.

    Well, I guess it’s a bit of an invitation for further explanation. I haven’t read the source material, and I’ve heard lots of people say various things, I’ve also heard Sam Harris say that those things are not what he actually said or meant. And everytime I’ve sort of started or joined a conversation about it things got really heated. I’m also getting the impression sometimes people get hung up on the wrong details. E.g. “it can’t be racist because islam isn’t a race”, if you’d change “racist” into “discriminatory” it´s already a lot less of a silly semantic issue. But for some reason that doesn’t really happen.

  32. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @daddyleon
    My complaints about Sam Harris are as follows. A lot of the stuff could be interpreted charitably and then it’s not bad IMHO. It’s made especially difficult because Sam Harris thinks highly of himself, too highly IMHO, and he cannot resist making an esoteric philosophical point that he knows will be provocative.

    Let’s take an example. Sam Harris has said that he can imagine situations where torture would be morally justifiable, even obligatory. I agree. It’s not that hard to construct such a scenario, but it would have to be so highly contrived that it never happens in the real world, or it’s so exceedingly rare that we shouldn’t base our public policy on it. At first glance, this is the position of Sam Harris. However, with further reading, Sam Harris isn’t talking about mere hypotheticals only. I’m pretty sure Harris has invoked some of the actual incidents of torture that the US has done to inmates at Gitmo as examples of acceptable torture. I am shocked. It seems Sam Harris also goes by the police-power philosophy of Jack Bauer and 24. Sam Harris is applying the 007 fantasy standard to real-world practices, and he goes completely off the rails.

    I never see any airplay for one of my favorite examples. Sam Harris has stated clearly and unequivocally on his blog that to his knowledge, Osama Bin Laden was not guilty of any actual crime except for the crime of speech and specifically political advocacy, and he states that Osama’s political advocacy was so dangerous that this alone is a sufficient moral justification for the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Whereas, in the world I live in, I’m sure Osama Bin Laden is guilty of accomplice to murder, terrorism, conspiracy to commit murder, laundering money, tax evasion, and so forth. Sam Harris again goes from mere hypotheticals to talking about a real person, and he stated that it is right and justifiable to kill someone because of their political advocacy. I am one of the biggest (reasonable) free speech nuts that you can find, and I am shocked that Sam Harris would take this position.

    Plus there was that recent feminism meltdown of Sam Harris where he was saying that learning or science or something was a “man thing”. Something like that. He was called on it, and in true Sam Harris fashion, he didn’t back down and apologize, but went on a long tirade on his blog IIRC about how he’s right, or misinterpreted, or something else equally inane.

    But AFAIK based on his many talks about his book “The Moral Landscape”, the book is probably pretty good for a large majority of its content. It’s on my “to-read” list, but I’m lazy.

  33. Monocle Smile says

    @Rhett

    But I think, in the context of this show where to some extent the secular approach to abortion is explained, there is something left out….a discussion of the ethics.

    Because in the context of the show…it doesn’t matter. This is a completely different discussion and doesn’t affect being pro-choice one iota. This is because your question is extremely individualistic and one of your situations is, sorry to say, impossible.

    If the idea of advancing this secular philosophical approach to abortion is to “convert” or at least win over people with regard to law and policy, I think you (the royal you…it’s an issue for all of us) have to address the issue above

    No. I disagree entirely. There’s plenty of shit going on that I hate, but I’m not willing to advocate outlawing because I understand the importance of certain freedoms. You’re conflating two very different discussions. Voltaire had something to say about this.

  34. Ajipon says

    Here’s my take on abortion. I have an arbitrary yardstick on when abortion should be allowed: It’s when the fetus can in any way survive if taken out from the womb. This I think is clear on the first trimester. However, when the fetus has the chance to survive out of the womb, then I would argue that it’s already life – that it should be given a chance to survive and grow. This in normal circumstances should be on the third trimester. That leaves me with the grey area of the second trimester, of which I have no strong opinion either way. At any rate, women should have a complete ease and free access early on without (or with less) social pressure to make decision as early as possible.

    Then again, as a male, I have to acknowledge circumstances and situations that may pose a risk to the mother, or any other possible problems.

  35. macanna says

    Johnny @ 5

    I think I found (and watched) the documentary Tracy mentioned on Youtube – just look for “Brothers and Sisters in Love 2008 Documentary”. Expect a little bit of weirdness, but mostly a lot of stuff that will make you angry and probably sad.

  36. HFQ says

    (brett here) I really enjoyed the show and I’m glad to have gotten my question in during one hosted by Tracie and Jen so lucky me. Abortions been a really muddy issue for me to consider. I’ve always supported the right to choose but have never really had a solid of understanding of why I should. Also never really considered the concept of “consent to get pregnant” and “consent to remain pregnant”.

    On incestuous relationships and children brought about by them I’m not particularly sure where the line should be drawn. Should we prevent siblings from having children due to the statistically high probability of birth defects? It sounds reasonable, but it’s not like its illegal to do something like say, smoke while you’re pregnant (though it is very ill advised).

  37. Rhett Rothberg says

    @Monacle Smile

    Thanks… I perhaps didn’t make it clear that I am not arguing that abortion should be illegal either. I am pro-choice… I have yet to resolve completely for myself any limits w/ regard to when in the term an abortion should perhaps be illegal. I certainly have some uneasiness with aborting a fetus that is something like 30+ weeks…

    Again, that question wasn’t really broached in the show… In the show, they seemed to tackle the easier parts of the issue. But the question remains…what do you do about the ethics and emotional approach?

    Saying you don’t like broccoli, but don’t think it should be illegal is significantly less emotionally charged than saying you don’t like abortion, but don’t think it should be illegal. And my point again was not that anyone needs to answer that for me, but if we want to advance the secular case for abortion, the ethical and emotional issue cannot be ignored…

  38. Rhett Rothberg says

    @Ajipon

    Just a note, typically a fetus is considered “viable” at 23 weeks. Some 22 week fetuses can survive, but not often and usually with health issues.

    I too have unresolved concerns here…. Again, extending on the analogy of blood donation as far as bodily autonomy goes. I think the point of the analogy is that you don’t have to provide your body to keep another human alive. I accept that…

    But when the fetus is viable, it’s less of a passive action and more active of terminating the fetus rather than just terminating the connection to the body.

    Again, I hope no one misunderstands, this line of thinking is not pointed at instituting any sort of law….but I wonder if everyone involved considers these issues when thinking about abortion.

  39. Conversion Tube says

    I realized Sam Harris isn’t as brilliant as I first thought when I saw how Chomsky interacted with him over email.

    I’ve read a lot of Chomsky’s books and I respect him but I know he has flaws to. But it did open my eyes to Sam’s childhood indoctrination of American exceptionalism.

  40. Conversion Tube says

    There is something different about the blood donation and abortion. It’s like the train analogy.

    A blood donation is proactive requirement to help survival.

    Staying pregnant is a passive requirement with no added steps.

    The abortion is a proactive step.

    Does that make sense?

    It just feels different some how, like the train analogy about pushing a man or flicking a switch.

  41. daddyleon says

    @ Rhett Rothberg, post 41:

    > But when the fetus is viable, it’s less of a passive action and more active of terminating the fetus rather than just terminating the connection to the body.
    > but I wonder if everyone involved considers these issues when thinking about abortion.

    Yes, I see the additional struggle here. I’ve been breaking my head over it for ages too. And… here´s basically why: if it still is mainly “no right to use someone’s body”. Just because the fetus is viable, doesn’t mean that it does not reside inside a body. And if you do not want it, but it’s viable and you’d say it cannot be aborted because of the viability. This viability overrides the use of the body. The viability of a fetus is directly linked to the progress of science, and it gets pushed back, more and more. (I think this is just the nature of science. I would not at all be surprised if, eventually, humans can be grown in big spheres, no natural birth required (though still possible), similar to how beef or even organs can now be be grown in “petri dishes”, just not ‘economically viable’.) And even if not… you would need to operate a body, to get the viable fetus out. And even then, just because it’s viable, doesn’t mean the chances are huge it will survive.

    As soon as you really start to think about it, the more of a clusterfuck it gets and catch-22 it seems to me.
    If you have a right to decide what happens to your body, period (aka it would override any other claim). Would it really make it okay to ‘abort’ at 9 months. If the ‘life of the fetus’ is the deciding factor, when would it ever be okay, and would people be legally responsible in someway of miscarriages, similar to negligence or manslaughter? Is a mixed model really viable for any strict line, is any said line really possible given the ‘logic of the grey’ and graduality of fetal development. I genuinely have no idea at all. And I have not made up my mind at all, I just know that it can lead to scary and unwanted answers in many ways.

  42. daddyleon says

    @ Conversion Tube, post 42:

    Yes, that makes a lot of sense to me. And it might make us understand the problem a bit better. Though, I’m afraid it won’t automatically get you closer to the ‘correct’ answer. Similar to the trolley problems, the different ethical/moral view or theory you’re convinced of, might drastically affect how you see the issue.

  43. daddyleon says

    @ EnlightenmentLiberal , post 35:

    I have actually no idea about the specific examples you mentioned. And I’m sort off playing devil’s advocate in advance, I guess. I do think that Sam Harris is not always as good at hearing what people say at/to him, for lack of better words, especially if it seems the person doesn’t agree with him. He may be similar to Dawkins in this clip (I found Dawkins shocking and very… saddening and disturbing, Tyson’s way is the right reacion): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_2xGIwQfik
    I think it might be a natural defense when you have to deal with so much opposition, which has a more polarizing tendency, I think. Though it’s still a shame. I think that’s also partly the root over other things, like the things you mentioned.

    His “science is a man’s thing” could well be a descriptive, and not a prescriptive, statement. Which… I think, it’s 100% correct. But idk. I guess I should just read his book 😛

  44. .SL says

    How is “science is a man’s thing” descriptive? There are hella female scientists.

    Anyway, part of what pisses me off the most about people who oppose planned parenthood, is that PP is probably the single greatest resource for PREVENTING abortions. People are always going to want to have sex. The species would have died long ago if that wasn’t the case. It is being aware of reproductive health and the proper use of contraception that prevents the pregnancies most likely to result in abortions.

    Would these people really rather live in a world where abortion and contraception are both unavailable, and the result is a huge spike in unsafe, unsanitary, illegal abortions?

  45. says

    .SL,
    It’s an open secret — one they futilely keep trying to deny — that the real agenda of the anti-choice movement isn’t so much to save the babies as it is to make “consequence-free” sex an impossibility for women. These are Christian fundamentalists and theocrats who firmly believe women shouldn’t be having sex at all unless it’s to Duggar out an army of babies for Jesus. Recreational sex, even if you’re married, that does not lead to procreation is a sin and against God’s plan for your body. That is what they’re truly against, and why they can reconcile this seemingly paradoxical stance of being both anti-abortion and anti-contraception.

  46. daddyleon says

    @ .SL, post 48:
    > How is “science is a man’s thing” descriptive? There are hella female scientists.

    Granted, I don’t have the stats of the gender split for all sciences world wide. But I’d be shocked if it’s even, let alone if there are more women than men in the sciences.

    For the rest… I totally agree with you. It’s infuriating. I’m glad, in that respect, that I live in The Netherlands. It’s (quite) a bit better here.

  47. Monocle Smile says

    @Rhett
    Sorry for screwing up the blockquote tags before.
    To be perfectly honest…abortions at 30+ weeks or even 24 weeks can be handled on a case by case basis. This is not only because 98.5% of abortions in the US occur before 20 weeks, but also because at 30 weeks, it’s not an abortion (almost always). Terminating a pregnancy at that point is induced labor + delivery or a C-section.

    Also, don’t get caught up in the “emotional” thing. Emotions are very often based on reason.

  48. .SL says

    There are more male scientists than female scientists. Science is not a “man’s thing” in any sense. That’s all.

    Martin, I tend to think that these Christians would find it even more virtuous if these women could find a way to reproduce while getting around the whole sex thing altogether; that it is only a reflection of our state as fallen beings that we have to resort to something as base and dirty as sex to fulfill God’s will that we reproduce.

  49. .SL says

    Incest is another sexual issue that comes down, ultimately, to people’s feelings of “ickiness”. Most people couldn’t give you an actual non-contradictory reason why adult siblings should not have sex with each other, but at the same time I think most people would say they are opposed to that. I’m sure the same has and does apply to homosexual sex, and other kinds of non-heteronormative sex. Why do some people feel this “ickiness”? Is it all religiously indoctrinated?

    In a society where healthy offspring is a scarce and fragile resource, unlike our privileged world where there is no danger of running out of kids, I can see how they would come up with rules to essentially enforce that sex be reproductive and likely to produce healthy children, individual desires be damned. And, as they do, religions come around and codify pre-existing cultural values. Now, we’re left the task of contextualizing these rules, and throwing them away when they don’t align with what we’ve learned about morality in the interim.

  50. frankgturner says

    @ Martin Wagner #49
    What is more messed up is how many of them fail to comprehend why some of us would actually respect them more if they just came out and admitted it. Every once in a while I meet an extremist willing to admit it similar to the way that you said. I still think it is sad but I have more respect for that individual. (I guess that many don’t admit it because they don’t want to admit it to themself and/or don’t want us to think of it as sad).
    .
    @ Rhett and Tracie
    I have met the occassional moderate to liberal minded Xtian who says “I want abortion to remain legal I just want people to choose not to do it.” a few I knew made a big deal out of alternatives like adoption and would fight very hard for women to know more about their bodies and know about child raising assistance programs. Some were even pro-contraception. I find that this type of individual really does seem to be “pro-life” instead of “anti-choice.” of course the people I meet like this tend to be well informed and well educated and know that a fetus won’t just “become a person” (paraphrasing from the show) if left without a host / mother.
    .
    @ Tracie
    There are actually medical research clinics who can raise a child born prematurely. I think the earliest is after 6-7 months gestation. Far be it from anti-choice organizations to support this type of research.
    .
    @ EL
    Regarding Sam Harris, I worked with colleagues of Ben Carson when I did medical research and I respected much of what he had to say academically speaking. I still do respect his academics as he is a brilliant neurosurgeon. As someone said on CNN I think (paraphrasing here), as a politician, Dr. Carson is a fine neurosurgeon. (I think Carson is doing a lot of pandering to extremists and does not but half of what he says).
    .
    Something similar can be said for Sam Harris. As a moral philosopher, he makes a great neuroscientist. And I don’t have to agree with everything Harris says. Some might accuse me of cherry picking Harris and Carson he way one might do so with the Bible or Qu’ran, to which I say, if I admit it and don’t try to claim what they say as all fact or all fiction, why is that a problem?
    .
    Too many people get bogged down in this false belief in dichtomies. That the Bible has to be all fact or all foction, that Harris has to be completely right or completely wrong (including Harris himself). Human beings evolved a capacity to discriminate for a reason, it is how we learn from our mistakes for crying out loud.

  51. Pete says

    @heicart NY comment about finding intelligent women an aphrodisiac was mostly humorous but Iam intrigued by your “Thats alight you cant help it” response. Why should it be something that needs to be excused, as if it is something undesirable? just as evolution has shaped me to find physical beauty arousing as it is generally a sign of reproductive fitness in the same way it should make intelligence also sexually attractive for the same reason. But Why would it not be alright to find female intelligence arousing even if I was actively choosing it? Clearly when it comes to a context where interacting intellectually with a woman is what matters it would be an unwanted distraction but thats no different from how it is necessary to not be distracted by her physical beauty as well. As human beings we can make rational choices as to how we manage our feelings and act on them in different contexts as appropriate.

  52. Pete Watts says

    Jen and Tracie are spot on regarding incest. Something that I have found interesting is that there seems to be little actually known about the prevalence of genetic disorders among the children of incest. Ive heard varying estimates from very low to 50%. .In the case of the siblings Tracie reports there is clear sexism here – why is only the male prosecuted? In the UK both parties would be liable. In a simiilar case here they were told they wouldnt be prosecuted if they never saw each other again but they also demanded the chidren went into care! Social prohibition against incest is about the “ew” factor and not genetics. Many cultures prohibit sexual realtions between people not genetically related. Thats where the phrase “in-law” comes from. Your in-laws were treated by the law as if they were blood relatives and sex with them was considered incest.

  53. Rhett Rothberg says

    @Monacle Smile

    Thanks. Just for my edification, is this the comment tag for Tracie Harris?

    Good points on gestational age. I did some quick research and found:

    “89-92% of all abortions happen during the first trimester, prior to the 13th week of gestation (AGI/CDC). In 2010, 6.9% of all abortions occurred between 14-20 weeks’ gestation; 1.2% occurred ≥21 weeks’ gestation (CDC).”

    Again, my point is less about my own view but more about how the secular viewpoint is presented to those who don’t have that basis for reasoning these things. I agree that emotion is not the place to go to decide these things, but as far as this topic goes, it is certainly something that can’t be disregarded when it comes to dialogue with those who may be “pro-life”.

    But your point holds so thanks for that calibration…

    PS – To anyone who is interested, the topical thread called “It’s So Personal” from Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish is something not to be missed… It is informative, fascinating, heartbreaking and more: (http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/threads/its-so-personal/)

  54. jami says

    @”But when the foetus is viable, it’s less of a passive action and more active of terminating the fetus rather than just terminating the connection to the body.”

    I agree, and I think that is where the blood donation type analogies start to breakdown.

    Now maybe someone can educate me a bit here, but isn’t the whole pro-choice, anti-choice, pro-life thing not just a sliding scale? For example I think most pro-choice advocates have limits after which an abortion should not be allowed and some pro-lifers will agree that in cases of rape or where there is a significant danger to that mother etc that an abortions should be allowed. There are also going to be extremes on both ends.

    I don’t understand why some are saying that having sex and getting pregnant are not connected and why Tracie said that it would be unexpected news to find out one was pregnant after having unprotected sex. I mean to me it seems pretty straightforward. Action X is known to sometimes cause result Y. If one carries out action X then one should not be surprised if result Y occurs. If couples participate in unprotected sex the likelihood is that the female will get pregnant.

    If I start firing a rifle down the street, eventually I am going to shoot someone. When the police turn up at my door I can’t presumably say ‘I did not consent to that man getting shot.’ If I didn’t want the man to get shot I should not have fired my gun down the street. Is it not the same with pregnancy? If you don’t want to get pregnant then don’t have unprotected sex.

  55. says

    Jami:

    >>I don’t understand why some are saying that having sex and getting pregnant are not connected and why Tracie said that it would be unexpected news to find out one was pregnant after having unprotected sex.

    Because the VAST majority of sex acts do not result in a pregnancy. Below, I’m posting information on women TRYING to conceive. It’s not simply a given that if you have unprotected sex you should expect a pregnancy. I think religious people promote this as though it’s some sort of given assumption that people easily or routinely become pregnant. But I know many men AND women who have had unprotected sex in their sexual histories and never had a pregnancy occur. In fact, just about everyone I know will admit they’ve had unprotected sex in their sexual history, who were not trying for a baby–but only a handful of those have had abortions or births as a result. We use sex primarily as a social bonding mechanism, not for procreation. Most other species beat the pants off human beings (no pun intended) when it comes to reproduction per sex act.

    http://www.webmd.boots.com/pregnancy/guide/getting-started-on-getting-pregnant

    >It’s a common question: what are the odds that I’ll get pregnant this month? For most couples trying to conceive, the odds that a woman will become pregnant in any particular month are about 15% to 25%.

    >But there are some caveats, and different things can affect your chances of getting pregnant. They include:

    >Age. After you reach 30, your chances of conceiving in any given month diminish, and they fall further as you get older, dropping steeply in your 40s.
    >Irregular menstrual cycles. Having an irregular cycle makes it more difficult to work out when you’re ovulating, which makes it hard to know the ideal time to have sex.
    >Frequency of sex. It may seem obvious, but the less often you have sex, the less likely you are to get pregnant.
    >Amount of time you’ve been trying to conceive. If you haven’t become pregnant after one year of trying, your chances of becoming pregnant may be lower. Talk to your doctor about tests for female and male infertility.
    >Illnesses or medical conditions that can affect pregnancy.

    And this…

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-therapy/201204/why-do-we-have-sex

    >Which leads us to the following fact: most sex happening right now around the world is not procreative. On the contrary, most of those getting busy at this moment would be shocked and upset to find that their joyful acrobatics have resulted in pregnancy.

    >The truth is, many people are having sex right now without pleasure or any expectation of it. If it’s pleasure you want, if you desire a nice orgasm, you’ll get there faster—and cheaper, with more certainty and less risk of pregnancy and disease—through masturbation. So why are you having sex with your partner? And why, when you do masturbate, are you fantasizing about him (or about someone, anyway)?

    ***

    >>I mean to me it seems pretty straightforward. Action X is known to sometimes cause result Y. If one carries out action X then one should not be surprised if result Y occurs.

    See above–the Psychology Today article indicating that people would be “shocked” to learn sex had resulted in pregnancy. And the one above, saying that even if you’re trying, you’re odds of achieving a pregnancy are not stellar. Now, imagine I have those same odds of having a traffic accident–if I set out in my car INTENDING to cause an accident. Let’s say that by trying to get into a car accident, I could expect to achieve my goal only 15%-25% of the time–given a month to accomplish it. Would you say that it should be reasonably assumed, then, that getting into a car will result in an accident if you’re NOT trying to have one?

    >>If couples participate in unprotected sex the likelihood is that the female will get pregnant.

    I guess “likely” is relative? It’s far more likely they won’t conceive than they will, so do you agree “If couples participate in unprotected sex the likelihood is that the female will NOT get pregnant” is also a true/fair statement? If it’s “likely” when an event will occur less often, then it should be fair to call the (far) more common outcome “likely” as well, no?

    >If I start firing a rifle down the street, eventually I am going to shoot someone.

    What if people intent on killing others could only manage to hit a person 15% to 25% of the time, trying their hardest for a month? That would make guns very ineffective killing implements, wouldn’t you say?

    http://nypost.com/2010/08/16/average-couple-has-sex-104-times-before-getting-pregnant-uk-study-finds/

    >Women took six months on average to conceive their first child, with couples having sex around four times a week while they were trying.

    Likely?

    For comparison:

    http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/02/human-sexuality-is-naturally-promiscuous-primarily-amorous/

    >Consider that the average human has sex about 1,000 times per birth. According to Ryan, we share that number of sexual encounters with chimps and bonobos, but other primates are vastly different. Gorillas and all other primates typically have sex only 12 times per birth.

  56. says

    >@”But when the foetus is viable, it’s less of a passive action and more active of terminating the fetus rather than just terminating the connection to the body.”
    >>I agree, and I think that is where the blood donation type analogies start to breakdown.

    If we opted, as a society to terminate pregnancies at viability with a live birth, would you then be in favor of the woman’s right to choose? We certainly abort now at near end of gestation with C-sections, for example. There is nothing required in aborting a gestation that the fetus’ life should be ended as a result if it’s viable. I think this could result in some gruesome outcomes, but is that what you’d prefer? If you accept viability as capacity to live on one’s own–does this resolve the issue for you then? Or is there some logic to labeling it viable–capable of autonomous existence–but still compelling someone to donate *their* body, (and incur further risks) without consent, on behalf of another person we legally agree doesn’t need to rely on someone else’s body any longer?

  57. osgi says

    Hello,
    I just ventured into atheist debates in the last week or so and ran into your TV show clips. I’m a Mormon apostate. In trying to keep this short, I hope that might explain a lot.

    So generations of indoctrination often leave us apostates swinging like a pendulum from agnostic to “spiritual” and often, after much time swinging all the way into atheism.

    With that small introduction, I have a question of what you think about “Friends of Bill”. It seems that some have inherited weaknesses that are totally self destructive. It also seems that from the times of those that lived and wrote the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of AA and the Big Book, till this day, that “One’s Higher Power” is still the main cure.

    Speaking from experience, it seems this aspect (need) for a higher power to help us is a big part of why that pendulum continues to swing back away from reason to a fear.

    Your thoughts on AA?

  58. osgi says

    Hey Martin,

    Thanks for the quick response and the reference. I listened with interest. I’ve enjoyed the flood of clips I’ve watched as if addicted to atheism this last week. I’ve much enjoyed all the hosts and guest hosts (finding Beth the most mysterious). Anyway.

    I think most compulsive addictive people (who become self aware of this) will admit they simply trade addictions for ones with the least possible consequences.

    I think one must have experienced being on deaths door to empathize with step 1. However I agree that after gaining ones strength back they should be able to move on. So I really don’t disagree with what was said on these points.

    I’m pretty sure that to this day, Utah forces convicted Drunk Drivers to join a group. This is obviously flawed and I don’t disagree here either.

    As far as success numbers, when the later caller mentioned the 95% of medical/governmental/scientific systems include 12 step concepts for those in crisis, your answer was so what? I think the interesting so what is that modern day science/medicine still does not seem to have an alternative (which you guys seemed to agree).

    It’s my hypotheses that those who’s birth/environment gave them a compulsive addictive personality is with them to the end. There is no cure only a picking of the lesser addictions. These people also seem to be easily susceptible to “spirituality” what ever that is, as being the only remedy.

    With my pendulum in the agnostic realm for several years now (and way over in the atheism spectrum this week) I wonder how many others tend to oscillate as they struggle with their possibly deep indoctrination and possible other addictions/compulsions?

    Ya make it look to easy.

  59. philippangrac says

    I know I’m late to the party here, but Tracie, do you know where or in what form that wolf story you told is from? Is it a documentary, an article, etc?

  60. osgi says

    I’ve gained a lot of appreciation for Jen and Tracie over the last few days. Sorry for my ignorance and I hope it is not inappropriate to ask. I was not clear if Tracie had come out as only atheist or if she has also come out under some sexual label as well?

  61. phil says

    Too much agreement here. Where’s Dillahunty when you need him? 😉

    Very enjoyable program. Although none of the callers seemed to be believers there was plenty of worthwhile and deep discussion (well, as deep as you could reasonably expect).

    I live in NSW (Australia) where abortion is not strictly legal but I don’t think anyone is prosecuted for it. I think the law should be changed to legalise it, but I prefer the current situation to what existed in the past. I think abortion should be treated as a harm minimisation issue, and contraceptives should be available on the subsidised pharmaceuticals list. Decent sex ed is also important. I think that those policies would probably cost society less overall.

    I’d prefer that there were no need for abortions but I don’t believe that is a practical option. Because unintended pregnancies, unmarried mothers, and orphans impact on society I think society has a valid interest, and a responsibility, to be be involved, but the choice should be the woman’s (it’s her body after all).

  62. phil says

    Spooky!!

    Just yesterday I was watching an old AXP tv show (from the 600s) with JP (host) and TH (co-host)! Not only that but Jen’s hair this time was short like Tracie’s then, and Tracie’s hair this time was about as long as Jen’s was back then. Was that coincidence or…. just coincidence?

    About the brain-boobz issue. We’ve (men at least) evolved to look for mating partners all the time so it probably shouldn’t surprise anyone that it happens on AXP tv. I suspect women do it more often that they let on (and I think women are less obvious about it because of the behaviour of men). And I sadly admit that after about 60 years I realised that some of the things that are s3xy about women are s3xy because they are women, and that the feature/behaviour/quirk/whatever would not be s3xy otherwise. Sad because it took 60 years I mean.

    Having said that I like to see women on AXP because they are just different to men. I have seen quite a few episodes, and it is obvious that the women behave differently to the men, in particular they are less aggressive, less in-your-face. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Matt’s confrontational style with theists (and Martin’s sly humour). But I enjoy Tracie’s questioning approach too, it tends to keep things from boiling over so the discussion can go further. I think the diversity is worth pursuing, but I’m sure you already know that. Hey, and maybe you should drag Linnea back, and Jeff Dee.

  63. Martin Zeichner says

    Excellent show. I especially enjoyed Tracie’s conversation with Ethan; the self-identified objectivist.

    Tracie, I would be interested if you would expand on why you say that you are considered a ‘black sheep’ only because I happen to agree with you on almost everything that you expressed in that discussion.

  64. Steve Thomas says

    Hi. There’s no six-hour workday in Sweden. (Tracie asks about this before Kenneth’s call.) I don’t care how many newspaper articles you’ve seen, it ain’t happening. It’s a shame you guys didn’t ask Kenneth.

    A few companies around Stockholm have experimented with short workdays, maybe one or two still are trying it, but it’s never accounted for more than about a gazillionth of the workforce. Everybody else is still slaving away same as always, I promise. I’m an American that’s lived here 3½ years (using up savings, not even working 3-hour days, not fun either).

    Here’s the first link I found, happens to be written by en finländare but Finns are okay, you can trust it:
    http://liljat.fi/2015/10/no-sweden-is-not-moving-to-a-six-hour-work-day/

    Little step further: out of all the working people I know personally, all professional, pretty much every one loathes their job with pretty much every fiber of their being, just trying to hang on until retirement same as tons of Americans do. One of these people happens actually to *be* an American, actually, moved to Sweden from Illinois I suppose 25 years ago or more. His job sucked so bad he went to a therapist for a while but finally just quit. The strangest thing about that guy (and also with a woman I met who moved here from Ohio about as long ago) is that both those midwesterners speak English with such a strong Swedish accent that you’d bet anything that English was their second language.

    Summing up: there’s no God.