1. Phil Nomore says

    More likely, most mirrors are silvered on the back side of the glass, so, light reflecting off your eyes hits the mirror and hits the pattern of tiny moisture drops (each acting like a tiny lens), the image gets refracted into some crazy pattern, then it passes through the glass, hits the reflective layer, passes back out throught the surface of the mirror, again gets refracted by the tiny water drops, to produce some wierd pattern based on the original image.

  2. Idolater says

    If you think the bible is THE good book. Would you allow me to read bible stories of my choosing to your children?
    – Matt Dillahunty

  3. Mavortius says

    While I appreciate hammering on someone for the sake of entertaining the rest of the audience, I would personally prefer to be more tactful with someone who is honest enough to admit that they didn’t know something and may have been mistaken. That kind of doxastic openness should be handled more carefully to avoid closing them off when there’s an opportunity to get them thinking. I would definitely agree with hammering on someone for offering an argument that they should already know does not work.

  4. Orphan Black says

    Theists callers, love them. I would like to think Jeff was a troll for the sake of humanity but we all know a Jeff. Don’t be a Jeff.

    She said, “Love, Lord above, Now you’re tryna’ trick me in love.”

    Now Doug is starting. Get your popcorn out.

  5. Shinigami says

    A few thoughts on the atheist now theist caller:

    1 – He mentioned Catholic school. It seems to me that he was brought up believing and then doubted but never really knew why. I suppose that he felt there wasn’t enough evidence and then he stumbled upon the “evidence” he feels he has now. If this is true, this makes him nothing like Matt or (I assume) most of us.

    2 – He sounded younger. There is nothing wrong with this but given this information with the previous information, his doubting phase seems kind of short. If he was telling the truth, I think he was just angry and rebelling against his religion. Then the doubt started creeping back in his head. He started to worry that if he is wrong about there being no God he’d go to hell. These thoughts are what truly brought him back to religion. I know… because I too still have those thoughts from time to time. (Damn brainwashing)

    3 – The whole thing could be a lie. If someone asked me why I don’t believe, I could give half a dozen answers off the top of my head. If something were to bring me back to religion, it would have be demonstrable proof or personal experience. The later holds no weight for anyone but me and I’ve yet to see anyone give the former.

    Finally, if he posts here, I’d like to debate him. I want to get more out of him regarding why he first became an atheist. I want to know what he thought when he was an atheist. It’s rare to hear anyone say “I was an theist then became and atheist and now I’m a theist again.” If he truly was all these things, I want to know the full story and I want to see how much of what he believes is based in evidence.

  6. adamah says

    Great show, guys!

    As a retired eye doc, I was intrigued by Kris’ call. Although I’ve never heard of the ‘foggy mirror’ illusion before, I’ve spent plenty of time in dark rooms examining the eyes of patients with a specialized device (B.I.O.). It’s amazing how little light is needed to make the eyes appear to glow.

    When in general practice, I often used a form of retinal examination where I was able to forego use of dilating drops (the technique was referred to as ‘small pupil B.I.O’), and the key was using as little light as possible, both the ambient room light, and with the light on my BIO.

    Controlling the amount of light was critical to avoid triggering pupil constriction, which reduces the area in the back of the eye which you could examine.

    Even when the patient isn’t looking directly at the doctor, it’s amazing how much light scatters around in back of the eye, with it appearing to glow. In fact, the challenge of conducting a small-pupil BIO exam is seeing how far towards the periphery (ora serrata) you can view, having the patient rotating their eyes as far away from you as possible; their retinae still glows.

    Anyone who’s seen video footage of people filmed with night vision goggles (eg Blair Witch Project) knows how large pupils will dilate in total darkness. Small-pupil BIO was almost as effective as using dilating drops (and much more patient-friendly: most patients don’t require yearly dilation, since the protocol was to dilate at the initial exam, but then use small-pupil BIO, unless indicated).

    Why the glow?

    Humans don’t have a tapetum lucidum (the membrane found in the retina of animals that gives them superior night vision which explains why a cat’s eyes will appear to observers to glow at night, as if it’s emitting light on its own). However, the human retina nevertheless reflects plenty of ambient and directed light, especially when the patient has what we refer to as a ‘blonde fundus’.

    That refers to patients who don’t have as much light-absorbing melanin pigment in their retinae as others, and as the name implies, it’s more commonly found in those with blonde hair (who are more likely to have lighter-colored irises, i.e. blue, or green eyes).

    Some exceptions exist, e.g. I’ve examined patients with dark black hair and brown eyes who have a blonde fundus, and hence surprisingly little pigment in their retinae. (In fact, there are certain medical conditions which cause the retinae to lose pigment.)

    Also, the pupils of young people are noticeably larger than those of older people; this is due to the fact that the amount of pupil constriction slowly increases as we age.

    So one element to consider is that a young blue-eyed person is much more likely to notice the described halo effect, esp. if the ambient conditions are right for the phenomena to manifest.

    Off the top of my head, I’d suspect the warm water of the shower contributed to normal physiological iris dilation (esp if the person had their eyes closed to keep the water out, or they were relaxed, which also increases non-pharmacologic dilation).

    The phenomena is also more likely to manifest if the bathroom was somewhat darker than usual, with the relevant light source being somewhat paraxial (i.e. in-line) with their eyes, even behind them, but approximately in-line with their eyes.

    There may be other factors involved (eg water in the eyes can cause significant corneal edema, a phenomena which many swimmers are all too familiar with, esp at night). This may be a factor, contributing to the phenomena as well.

    Taken all together, the phenomena is likely unsettling, although it’s probably relatively trivial to replicate the proper conditions in the lab, given the right subjects. Throw in a large heaping of bias and a pinch of ‘availability heuristic’, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for making believers.


  7. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Thread: PhysicsForums – Mirror phenomenon

    Whenever I look in the bathroom mirror after a shower. I immediately notice where the reflection of my eyes are, there is some sort of larger shadow around them. If I move closer, my eyes look like bright white rings (no, it doesn’t resemble the normal reflection). Both phenomena seem to change size and shape depending on where in the mirror I look and they don’t appear unless the mirror is fogged.


    It seems to me that, when you are looking at your own eyes, that is the only circumstance under which your line of sight is exactly normal to the mirror’s surface.
    My first guess would be that the dark and light rings you are seeing are a cumulative effect of images in the myriad drops of condensation on the mirror. If the rings are truly concentric around the image of your eyes, that means that every light ray in any given ring has the same angle and thus would be subject to the same refraction. So I’d speculate that it’s basically a sun dog, writ small.

    Thread: StarshipAsterisk Astronomy Forum – Foggy Mirrors and Freaky Eye Dogs

    my eyes were encircled by two weird rings of alternating light and dark areas. They weren’t colourful, just took on an almost black or white shade
    I think it is a result of the tiny water droplets that have condensed on the mirror’s surface. As light passes through the droplets, it is bent and refracted and polarised in the water droplets in the same way a sundog creates a ring of reflected light with airborne ice crystals. The reason it is centered around your eyes is because of your perspective – the image of your eye is light bouncing off your eye, reflecting off the mirror and back to your eye, and the angle is almost exactly 180 degrees. The ring shape is caused by the distance of the cells in the retina from dead-centre in the field-of-view. Move further away and the light reflected changes radially from light to dark and back again.
    Check out my photos: centered directly over the camera lens is the dog.

  8. Antonio says

    Great show guys. I’m grateful that you all continue to give your time to keep The Atheist Experience going. Thank you.

  9. adamah says

    Yeah Skycapt, I googled it and found Kris’ post from a few years ago where she explained her perception in more detail (and someone posted a self-portrait of their experience).

    As the line from X-Files says, “The Truth is out there” (and it ain’t, “Goddunnit!”).

  10. jeffh123 says

    Doug and Jeff were very annoying. Regarding the paranormal glowing shower mirror eyes: I have experienced this myself, but only in one bathroom of my house. My wife has also experienced this. It is an optical illusion based on the reflectivity of the fogging, mirror and alignment with your eyes. It’s spooky and weird, and totally harmless.

  11. Philllip Moore says

    Great show guys! The technology finally came out great; I watched on a large screen. Unlike Jeff, Thomas was willing to listen and perhaps may actually investigate and consider what the evidence is. As for Cynthia, I think she should take her daughter to church and later go see a movie, something like “Maleficent”. Let her keep and read the storybook bible stuff, but have plenty of children’s books on fairy tales and mythology in the same place. I read many of the great classics of literature as a child; no, actually I read many of the Classics Illustrated comic books.

  12. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Jeff’s call was the typical scientists don’t want to believe bit, when they go with the evidence by the very structure of scientific investigation. Plus a seasoned circular argument. Tina Turner already answered with “What’s Love Got To Do With It” on the love thing.

    Doug’s call was weird as hell. Chest? What. The. Fecal matter. I laughed a lot.

    Kris’ call was cool, since I like learning about weird stuff.

    The highlight of this show was Thomas’ call for me, I rather enjoyed it especially his lack of apologetics, he reflects me before becoming an atheist. I did not know a lot of the debilitating crap in the bible, knowing those sent me running toward the road to atheism.

    Cynthia should do well as a parent, they both have a good approach with parenting their daughter. I wish her well.

  13. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Kris’ post from a few years ago

    Thread: Unexplained Mysteries – Glowing eyes in a foggy mirror
    kriscar (circa 2015):

    I was in a hotel for a week. One morning while getting out of the shower, something strange moved in the corner of my eye, and I looked across the room to the mirror, and in the mirror were two lights that followed the movement of my eyes. I could barely make out the form of my body in the thick coating of fog, but the lights where my eyes should have been in my reflection were bright and noticeable. […] I saw completely circular lights covering my eyes like they were flashlights.
    it happened 9 years ago […] The thing is, if it happened at any other time in my life, I would brush it off and assume some natural scientific fluke occurred, but the fact of the matter is that it occurred at a very pivotal time in my life: I was at a religious convention […] Honestly, this one experience is the only reason I can’t call myself an atheist.

  14. floridaantitheist says

    In response to Jeff from Augusta, his mistake is in confusing emotions with “spirit”. A feeling of love, even a universal love for others which is above the egocentric attachment we have for certain people, is still just emotions, based in genuine empathy with others: it is not a “spiritual” experience.

    The “woo” is not in the having the feeling of love, but in thinking the love is spirit-based rather than emotion-based.

  15. Robert,+not+Bob says

    The “chest/soul thing is a dramatic simile. Preachers love those; they think they mean something.

  16. Tonya says

    The idea that the brain isn’t the source of consciousness is just plain absurd. That’s like saying that the source of the copy of Window’s I’m typing this on isn’t my computer.

  17. Simon Hosking says

    I predict Thomas is going to actually read his bible and be suitably shocked and stunned by what he finds. My fear is that he will then ask his pastor (or whoever) how this could be and discover the whole world of Christian apologetics.
    It may have been useful to have warned Thomas that Christians do have explanations for these problems – we just don’t find them convincing.

  18. gbaconnecticut says

    I love Matt’s comment “If the Bible is the Good book, would you allow me to read stories from the Bible to the children of my choosing”.

  19. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Jeff (18:20):

    I experience love between myself and others. And I give love to other people. And I’ve received the love that God has shown and expressed towards me.

    It’s as if he thinks emotions can be telepathically broadcast and induced.
    I experience envy between myself and others. And I give envy to other people. And I’ve received the envy that God has shown and expressed towards me.

  20. says

    the money shot:

    matt: “if you’re god, you can pretty much do anything, right?”

    thomas: “yep.”

    matt: “so why didn’t you create a bunch of people who live in peace and be happy?”

    thomas: [after a beat] “awwww …”

  21. johnjnesbit says

    Why is it that when Theists call, 99.99% of them always try to talk over the show’s host ? I am always asking myself while listening, “what is that” ? Are they calling in to do penance of some some and out of desperation they are running around verbally so fast that they honestly think that the host cannot compete ? Is it an engagement in a competition? Do they not know about manners when being allowed to enter into someones home ? It’s almost like a group think that if they can get a running start verbally and put the pedal to the metal, that there babbling nonsense will bring on the ‘second coming’ or make the show’s host concede and say, “I give up, you’re right, God does exist !” It’s almost like a vast collective that comes out in the same or similar manner everytime a theist is on the phone during a podcast. Would it be a worthy endeavor to have a show theme based on this very phenomena (or morbid pathology). At least it may (or may not) bring to conscious awareness that the behavior serves no one. Except for the fact that it does give Matt a good reason to hit pause button, or to hang up on them.

  22. RationalismRules says

    This comment at offers a possible explanation:

    This is a “glory” type effect. Light coming straight at a foggy mirror is scattered in all directions by droplets floating in the air (steam), longer wavelengths scatter farther (red has a long wavelength). Then this scattered light is reflected back by the mirror. So its actually happening all over the mirror, but scattered light of all colors all reflected back looks like plain white light, the normal case. However, your eye is small so if you are sort of in the line of sight of the light source (doesn’t have to be right behind you, but if the mirror can see like a light right above your shower opposite the mirror that’s good, if you only have lights above the mirror it should not be as good, but still possible), you’ll see the way its light is being scattered preferentially based on wavelength. It is an observer effect, has nothing to do with eye color, so a person with one totally identical but glass fake eye would only see the eye-glory in their working eye. Two people in there should only see glories in their own eyes, not each others.

    Light is scattered in this way (Mie scattering) when the scatterers are close to the size of the wavelength. Since visible light has very tiny wavelengths, abnormally tiny steam droplets floating in the air may be what causes this. It’s possible it also has to do with the size of the droplets on the mirror, but I’m not sure. A mirror with a thin film of soap left on it will not fog so much and will have big droplets. A dirty mirror also will have big drops. A very clean mirror should make the smallest drops, perhaps why many of us saw this in hotels and not at home where the mirror might not be cleaned as often. But this may have more to do with floating steam droplets than the ones on the mirror. A way to make floating droplets very small is to have small particles for them to condense on already in the air, this is known in the atmospheric science community as the “aerosol effect”. Aerosol particles like smoke would help, so I wonder if those who have seen this are smokers or used an aerosol spray before taking the shower? A good experiment would be to smoke in the shower room right before taking the shower, which is what I did in Vegas that I don’t normally do at home.

    Plenty of testable elements there.

  23. ironchops says

    I like it that the technical problems have diminished greatly. Good show this week. I liked the balance of theist vs. non-theist/atheist callers. Callers, please turn of the feed while on the phone with TAE. I hear people say they listen to the show all the time, or have called in repeatedly and forget this. The feedback loop is distracting.
    Doug’s call: I can agree that we are created, but only as a result of natural processes post big bang (the best explanation as of yet) but how does this prove god?
    Thomas’s call: I love it when a person claiming to be Christian calls in and doesn’t even know or understand the scriptures, (I have studied and still don’t claim to completely understand them either). How totally unprepared can someone be to argue with skeptics? As if knowing the bible will even help when arguing with a skeptic. Skeptics need empirical evidence. The debate is over and cannot but truly solved until the god character shows up and allow us to study and define (if we can) weather it is a “god” or just some other being. According to Christians god came once already and allow himself to be killed by his chosen people in an effort to enlighten them/us so why don’t he come back now that we are a bit more advanced?

  24. gshelley says

    Christianity makes God seem a little petulant to me
    “Oh god, you are great, thank you for creating me and the world, and for keeping your all benevolent eye on us” Gets “Talk to the hand, I don’t care”
    “Oh god, you are great, thank you for creating me and the world, and for dying for me” gets “Come join me in Heaven

  25. Jose Perez says

    Well, this is sad. I really really tried giving this show a chance, more especifically Matt, but it’s gotten to the point where I can’t handle an hour of “Me me me”. John could barely talk, and that happens all the time with Matt, and I’m not interested in hearing 20 minutes of “You are nothing like me” when it’s not even important. Sure, the caller was wrong, but handling it and taking it personal does nothing for me, the show or atheism.

    I might watch the show only if Matt isn’t in it. And I know I’m going to get the usual “Well this is my show, go watch something else”, as Matt has said other callers before, but here it is. Sad day

  26. Jezzo says

    Hello folks!

    This is directed at everyone who is interested in the caller ‘Kris”s account of the ‘glowing eyes’ phenomenon.

    I have experienced this phenomenon myself, often enough to be surprised that it’s labelled a ‘phenomenon’. My experience more closely reflects those who claim it’s a halo-like ring, or glow around the eyes – I don’t think anyone has mentioned that it also completely obscures the eyes. When I caught a glance of myself after coming out of the shower, I burst out laughing when my eyes were replaced with these pale glowing rings. There was no doubt in my mind that it had something to do with the light and reflective/refractive qualities of the condensation on the glass. I grabbed my twin sister who was in the other room, and we both goggled in front of the mirror for a few minutes, enjoying our altered appearances. Then, we went back to homework.

    First, the moment the water on the glass is gone, so is the glow, and if I were to steam up the room again, it’d be back. Second, we couldn’t see each other’s eye-halos, only our own – which would suggest it was something to do with the light, also. It was really funny, but ultimately, a reflection, and the only reason it appears around the eyes and not around the mouth or ears or nostrils is because the eyes are the direct point at which light enters. When you look in a mirror at your own eyes, you are having the light entering the eye bounce backwards and forwards over and over and over.

    Look up Mie Scattering, which might be able to explain the whole thing in greater detail (I don’t personally know much about it, but it’s been suggested by others concerning this very thing).

  27. frankgturner says

    Been a while since I have commented.
    To the caller Chris. You have probably heard a thousand explanations, but there it a rare type of pre-seizure aura brought on by the inhalation on Windex/mirror cleaning fumes in hot steamy rooms. Those with said conditions will have the majority of their drop seizures in bathrooms, particularly freshly cleaned ones. Many report a type of glow in their eyes similar to what you describe just prior to said seizure.
    I know an epileptic who goes through this who also has a type of faint yellowish glow in her eyes that others can see (all the time actually). It is more notocable when she wears certain types on contact lenses.
    Just thought I would mention it.

  28. ukcraig says

    I have also had the eye thing in the mirror and being the engineer I am, spent a good 20 minutes trying to figure it out. In my case and probably yours also it is down to the type of mirror. The mirror was double glazed and illuminated. The illumination source was embedded in the mirror surround and made the border light up which alsoeat a nice direct light to see your face. However the light source consisted of several small led round the border. These had light leaking into the cavity of the double glazing (between the mirror amd a top layer of glass). This light is trapped between layers in the same mannor as in fiber optics however when the glass is misty it also illuminates the water droplets. The last bit is that you appear to see the light in your eyes as this is effectively just a matter of optics from a dispersed light source. A little bit like not being able to find the sun through a layer of cloud but no matter where you look it is still very bright. Hope this helps

  29. Monocle Smile says

    Let the door hit you on the way out.
    Welcome back! I, for one, missed your posts.

  30. frankgturner says

    @Monocle Smile
    Well thank you very much. It was really the light scattering thing that caught my attention in the show as I am epileptic myself, but have not experienced that particular type of “bathroom” drop seizure. It came to mind as I have another epileptic friend that goes through something like that. Albeit I may have cause and effect backwards there. Flickering light is know to set off many epileptic and that may have another root cause similar to what Jezzo is describing with regard to Mie scattering or what gives it is describing. That would explain it being experienced by non epileptic as well.
    Also, no need to be so hard on Jose. The frustration he feels is probably very real, particularly with regard to Matt who is so accusstomed to dealing with these issues and is well versed in scripture. Many an individual who “glazed over” scripture (read it but did not really understand it) is often surprised to hear someone like Matt who made a concerted effort to understand scripture tell them things like how the Bible condones slavery. Matt has said on the show before when asked if he read the Bible , “sure, have you read anything else?.”
    What Jose probably does not comprehend is how closed minded many evangelicals can be and how in their effort to get validation regarding their views will repeat the same arguments over and over again as if that meant something. My main frustration with Matt (if he is reading this) is usage of the word “truth” when what I think he is getting at is “factual correctness.” I am not sure though. Then again I have never called into the show regarding that. (I know that some of the show hosts read this though).
    With regard to hearing the same arguments over and over, I would not be surprised if the caller given the assignment of reading Exodus 21 tries to read some apologetics nonsense about it trying to justify slavery as “not being the same type as that practiced in America,” or some bull like that. That is an argument I have heard Matt and other show hosts including on The Non Prophets and which I have seen written about a number of times on The Thinking Atheist as well. Jose may not be all that well informed on issues like that.

  31. Robert Delaney says

    I realize I’m probably in the minority here, but I am becoming increasingly disappointed with Matt’s impatience with callers. His quickness to raise his voice, curse at callers and put them on hold or cut them off has increased tremendously over the past couple of years. I can imagine that dealing with the same calls over and over can wear on someone, but while it might be his 100th time to hear a certain approach it is most times that callers first interaction with the show.

    It is one thing when a caller is being confrontational from the start – but for someone to simply say ‘I used to be like you,’ and have Matt fly off the handle seemed a bit heavy handed to me. Yes, Matt was right. But is the show about reaching people or is it simply about being right? Every week it reminds me more and more of the exchange from Lebowski between the Dude and Walter. “Am I wrong? Am I wrong?” “No Walter you’re not wrong, you’re just an asshole.”

    Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m a huge fan of the show overall. I’ve been watching/listening for over a decade at this point. It simply saddens me a bit that as soon as a theist caller is on the line Matt immediately turns his reactions up to 11. I’m not suggesting that he not correct callers, just that he perhaps do it in a more conducive way that might actually make an impact on any other theist listening. He has said for years that he knows debates do not change any participants minds, but instead they are for the audience. The audience watching is who you are trying to reach. I would guess that any theists watching that first theist call this week only saw ‘the angry atheist’ yelling when someone suggested they used to be like him… and from that point out they stopped listening to anything he had to say.

    Obviously this is just my opinion. I don’t expect anyone to change and I am aware it is not my show.
    There is no need to tell me to start my own show or stop watching, etc. I merely wanted to put my reaction out there in case it resonated with anyone – Matt included.


  32. Monocle Smile says

    @a few
    Personally, I find “I used to be like you” both condescending and confrontational when someone says that in their very first interaction with someone. It goes doubly for someone who’s seen the show before and knows what to expect.
    Matt’s been a little testy lately, but there have been some truly bone-headed theist calls recently as well. Maybe the theist caller quality is having an effect.

  33. says

    @Robert Delaney I think he had a right to “fly off the handle”but he didnt even do that straight away. Matt first calmly tried to ask what Doug meant by “just like you” and Doug put a false representation of what “just like you” meant. Doug then continued not to listen and got snarky and constantly interrupted – yeah that would pee me off too.

  34. Shinigami says

    To Robert,

    The issue is that the caller is either horribly mistaken or lying. I do want Matt to challenge a caller who says “I was just like you.” Am I to believe a hardcore Atheist who has come to their position through what they believe to be rational thought could be turned back to Christ? If so, I want to know what kind of Atheist they were and THEN I want to know what brought them back to Christ.

    1 – The caller could not give the reason they were an Atheist. They simply said they were raised Catholic and that seemed to be it. Also it seemed like their questioning started and ended a lot younger.
    2 – The reason they went back to religion was horrid. Matt correctly pointed out that “a chest” is merely how we define what we are observing. They were then unable to draw connections to something they observe and label a soul.

    The whole thing boils down to a fault in the callers reasoning. They believe inductive reasoning is a way to truth. You can often come to the truth through inductive reasoning BUT you have to realize you can be very wrong through induction. If I say that Jenny has blond hair. Jenny is a girl. Therefor all girls have blond hair. I am VERY wrong. The correct thing to do after formulating a theory through inductive reasoning is to test the theory with deductive reasoning. If as the caller said you can’t test the supernatural via deductive and you’re stuck with inductive, then realize any conclusion you make via deductive reasoning could be very faulty.

    To put this bluntly, Matt could’ve stopped the call there and not let the caller even give the faulty reason. He was humoring the caller by even letting them go on.

  35. Shinigami says

    I switched inductive and deductive in the last sentence. It should be noted that deductive is the only consistent way we have of finding the truth. Inductive reasoning can lead to truth but doesn’t always lead to truth.

  36. Curt Cameron says

    I agree with others here that Matt has had a hair trigger lately. I don’t mind him emphatically making a point but recently he jumps on people too soon and too hard.

    And bring on more Tracie! She’s always been my favorite in how she interacts with callers.

  37. Robert Delaney says

    To Shinigami –

    I agree with you. I also want to see Matt challenge callers, if I gave another impression then I’m sorry.
    My issue is not with the fact that callers are being challenged, it’s with the way they are being challenged.
    My hope (and I believe most people’s hope) would be that other theists watching the show would hear the host’s arguments and start thinking more deeply about their own beliefs, and reasons for believing. But when the hosts come in at ramming speed from the start I fear that all it accomplishes is making everyone dig their heels in much further into their own positions.
    Again, I’m not so much concerned with the theists on the phone as I am with the ones who are watching out of curiosity. For them the hosts of the show are ambassadors of atheism. I would hope we could win them over with well reasoned and calm explanation, not simply scare them with how we beat down and yell at their peers.

  38. Shinigami says

    To Robert,

    I do think Matt was a little short this show but that happens. It seems he expended most his energy talking to the first caller regarding love. That was quite a long call for the absurd point to be made “Love proves God”.

    Also, I do think Matt took the right tactic because many theists like to tell stories of the atheist converting. Take a look at Living Waters (Ray Comfort’s Channel). They have a video called “The Atheist Conversion” so if a theist is watching and Matt lets slide the line “I was just like you” then a theist listening might think “Oh! God is going to work on Matt just like he did this caller and bring him back to the fold!”

    I believe the caller was lying. The caller was never an atheist to the degree Matt was because they never had a good reason for being an Atheist. Here are the only two possibilities and why they must be telling a lie given they know Matt’s story.

    1 – Maybe they doubted but they were never truly an atheist. Since they stated they’re just like Matt they obviously knew some of Matt’s history and Matt wasn’t someone who went through a brief period of doubt. So saying “I’m just like you” is a lie if you don’t know the person well enough to say that.

    2 – They could be just completely lying to create this fictional person who was once a theist and lost their faith and then went back to theism. The video on Ray Comfort’s channel tells the story of a guy who got mad at God because he went through hard times. Living Waters calls this the “Atheist conversion” because the guy doubted his faith. I’d bet you $10,000 that if you could ask that guy 10 years ago if he’s an atheist, he’d say no. The guy was never an atheist much like I believe this caller was never an atheist.

    Doubting doesn’t make you an atheist.
    A refusal to accept the God(s) claim makes you an atheist.

    So yes, I’d have been fed up with this second caller from the start. I don’t take kindly to games where someone tries to create a scenario that isn’t true to reality.

    P.S. I kept trying to call in to the show… and had mic problems. I’ll try again this Sunday. Sorry to the call screener who had to deal with me saying “Hello” about fifty times. I could hear you some of the time… and I think you could hear me some of the time…

  39. Chris Perry says

    Really annoyed I wasn’t here for the live show as I have seen the glowing eyes in the mirror and do so every time I get out of the shower. It first happened after I tried and failed to use no mist spray to stop the mirror fogging up. It’s the residual substance on the surface of the mirror. Listening to the video while I write this and getting real frustrated I can’t tell Matt, John and caller Kris the reason.

  40. StonedRanger says

    I have to say Im not terribly upset at this show or anyone in it. To volunteer your time for what you believe to be a good and noble cause for all the years this show has been on makes me give nothing but credit to those who put the show on whether in front of or behind the camera. Most atheists know that most theists don’t have a clue about what it means to be an atheist beyond what they are told by their respective religious leaders.

    I personally find it offensive as hell every time a theist tells me this. No one was ever just like me. In anything. If you think that then you know nothing about me. Not knocking anyone here for being impatient with matt, but he has been more than patient over the years and if he gets tired of people who come on the show and are just plain dishonest from the git go and gives them rough treatment, then maybe those theists listening will think twice about what Matt says, and what they might say in the future. If you think Matt is testy then you must not have ever heard Jeff Dee go off on the show. Stop worrying about how they say things, its their show and if the theists really didn’t like it they wouldn’t continue to call. If someone wants to stop watching, that’s their prerogative. As for me, I eagerly await each show each week because the worst show they have put on is better than no show at all to me.

  41. frankgturner says

    @Shinigami and all
    I definitely think the “I used to be like you” line sounds suspicious. Of one were to analyze it a bit deeper it is more like “I used to be like what I THINK you were like,” which the speaker has never really thought about all that deeply and examined for accuracy. It does kind of remind me of the Ray Comfort bullshit as the guy who thinks he was an atheist because he was “angry at God,” clearly still believed that there was one to be angry at. Then again, you hear the same kind of bullshit coming from Comfort’a followers when then claim that they “used to believe in evolution” but “could not reconcile how a dog turns into a duck” or some other such nonsense that demonstrates that they clearly don’t understand it.
    As far as Matt jumping on people with a hair trigger, it is one tactic. One could try a softer tone with them but that may or may not work.
    The last caller (not the after show person, have not heard that) caught my attention, particularly with the coming out to her family and them crying and saying that they failed. It sounds a bit like they are old school Xtians that think atheists have no morals whatsoever. Many will talk about, when asked, what they think Atheism is and they will say things like “going out and raping and murdering because you have no God or Commandment not to do so.” As Russell Glasser said in response to a comment from a theist like that on “The Non Prophets,” “as an atheist I rape and murder as much as I desire to, which is to say, zero.” Finding out that atheists are humanist and practice a type of secular morality is often surprising to a lot of Xtians who live in a bubble their whole lives. The caller might do well to introduce her family to secular morality to get them to realize that you can be moral without a religious belief. Stories of the theist being surprised to find out that their mind and compassionate loving friend is an atheist and that being followed by the comment, “but you are a good person,” are becoming about as common as people finding out that their compassionate and loving son or daughter is gay when they believed all homosexuals were wicked evil people. The cognitive dissonance is common, but it happens.
    Then again some people cannot let go of the Pavlovian association. (In this case, the “ringing bell” is the term “atheist” and the salivation is their belief that means “wicked monster”). The bell rings and they drool, such is life (::sigh::).

  42. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To frankgturner
    Also glad to see you back. I hope I didn’t chase you off. <3

  43. frankgturner says

    Thanks, I was kind of bored with what was going on here and have been spending more time on other boards. Can’t guarantee I will stay long, this just interested me.

  44. says

    To all those saying Matt flew off the handle real quick with the “I used to be like you,” caller, I can completely understand why he got irritated, and why he immediately stopped everything to resolve that issue. Because the caller didn’t say “I used to be like you,” he said “I used to be an evangelical atheist, just like you,” and that’s a very different comment.

    Even leaving aside the huge assumption in there- which Matt corrected on air, in that he doesn’t “go door to door”- this sort of line immediately calls to mind the endless string of theist equivocations about “not having enough faith to be an atheist,” or trying to dishonestly assert that Dawkins is an atheist priest, or some shit. The hosts here really have heard all this stuff a thousand times, which means they’re uniquely primed to identify this kind of rhetorical grandstanding and, as Matt did, attempt to correct it before the caller can just poison the well, which was what was most likely going on there. “Evangelical atheist” suggests a lot of things before the call had even really begun- about atheism as contrasted with religion, about the intellectual reasons behind Matt’s specific deconversion, about the goals and aims of the show itself, and a lot more- and I think that stopping to correct that, and getting irritated at the lazy trickery of the comment, is totally valid, at that point.

  45. frankgturner says

    @Ryan Martin
    There are definitely a lot of “palette swap” theists, particularly among fungelical Xtians (I have met others). They definitely don’t comprehend how atheism and even agnosticism coincides with a whole different type of thinking. It kind of makes sense when there are atheists and agnostics that still engage in the same rituals like gathering and singing and being social on a particular day. In many ways, the flying spaghetti monster agnosticism-atheism is probably easier for them to comprehend as it provides an icon.

  46. KrisCar says

    Hey, this is Kris, the caller from the show. I’m really glad to see everyone’s comments on the glowing eye phenomenon, and I personally really appreciate it. It seems like a lot more people have experienced this than I first thought. Yeah, I’ve been posting on the Unexplained Mysteries forum ( and I intend to keep doing so if I find anything else out, and I encourage anyone else to post there as well. I’m going to check into the places Matt suggested and contact them soon. If you do so first, please share it.
    Just to note, I’m not epileptic.
    @caperryphotography I’m really interested to know how people can recreate this experience. Could you explain yourself more? How did you “try and fail” to use the spray, and what brand is it? Is that a kind of spray that doesn’t wash off a mirror? What is the lighting situation in your bathroom, etc? How bright is the glow effect that you experience? You’re in a good position to test a lot of variables.

  47. Curt Cameron says

    Ryan Martin said:

    The hosts here really have heard all this stuff a thousand times, which means they’re uniquely primed to identify this kind of rhetorical grandstanding and, as Matt did, attempt to correct it before the caller can just poison the well

    I suspect the caller really did think he used to be just like Matt, at least in regards to the atheism question. That should be corrected, but it would be my preference to let him get his point out, and then correct that underlying assumption, without sounding angry (and I did think Matt sounded angry there). It was another case of an under-informed theist, not a Matt Slick or WL Craig being manipulative. Just some guy who hadn’t thought the issues through, stepping on a land mine.

    I too want to know how I can recreate the glowing eyes phenomenon.

    Have you ever noticed when you’re flying on an airplane on a sunny day, and you look down to where the shadow of the plane is below you, there is a glowing halo around the shadow? I looked around for images, and found this from a hot air balloon:

    There’s even a German word for it: Heiligenschein. It’s caused by dew drops, but I don’t think the bathroom mirror would be the same, since Heiligenschein requires the Sun (or a light source) to be right behind you.

  48. walter says

    RE: Cynthia and pretending to be christian when visiting her parents:

    Her daughter will pick up pretty quick that it is ok to lie to your parents about something you do that they will not like. That is not something to model for her.

    I think that honesty here is better — especially since grandmother is trying to get closer and start the religious indoctrination.
    Matt’s suggestion to say “Thank you mom, but her religious upbringing is my responsibility.”

  49. LeeDownUnderInOz says

    Really great show! Technically as good as it has ever been. Video & sound were very good!
    After reading the blog, I decided to watch it again bearing in mind some of the views expressed.
    As far as I am concerned, all callers were treated very fairly and those that were cut off needed to cut off because they were going around in circles & most viewers would be starting to turn off, so the host did the right thing to keep the show moving.
    Just as well, because the call from Thomas was a really nice call. Thomas was very genuine and courteous and Matt & John responded accordingly. I believe that Thomas got a lot out of it & I am sure that he will continue to learn from TAE. In my experience the majority of Christians are probably just like Thomas and the show tonite shows how simply many Christians can be helped to understand that which they think they understand but don’t.
    Keep up the good work to the present & past crews both in front & behind the cameras.

    PS. I missed Shelly Segal at the opening of show.
    PSS. Matt, without claiming that you and I are a like, we do have a common trait, that we doodle on paper while we are listening & thinking. I have been trying to work out the style of scribble you go for. I did work out that when you slash a line across the page, the callers are likely to be chopped of pretty soon …..hi hi! Great work!

  50. kimsland says

    I found this episode to be one of the most unique shows.
    The first caller(s) about proving the soul, showed your side that most people like about you (direct and strong)
    Your ‘conversation’ with the Christian who hadn’t read the bible in its entirety was interesting and basically nice 🙂
    So was your conversation with the last caller about children concerns as an atheist parent.

    I am an atheist parent and have been strong on these views since they were 3 years old.
    Although I totally agree that a child should be raised to think for themselves, I also state very strongly that the ‘theist’ reasons for beliefs are just delusional, and therefore I have never once expected they may choose theism (especially the horror of Christianity and Islam). In my view atheist parents of young children should not say it’s either god or not god, they should tell their children the truth > There is NO evidence of a god, and therefore no good reason to believe or have faith in one. Your shows continues to also show this to me as well 🙂

    My reason for writing in is because ‘I felt’ that Matt wasn’t exactly sure on what to say to his ‘future children’. You say the truth 😉

  51. Shinigami says

    To say “There is no evidence of a God” is to make a claim. Giving such a dogmatic statement (Without proving it) is the same tactic Christians are using to indoctrinate their children. Yes, you can indoctrinate someone in to atheism.

    I believe it is best to say, “I investigated the evidence people claim for many religions and did not find them convincing.” Now there is no claim of knowledge but merely a statement of lack of belief. I would also follow this with, “You should investigate things for yourself and see if the evidence is convincing.” I wouldn’t ask a five year old to do this. It is important that any person investigating a claim has the proper abilities to pick a part of a claim and see if the evidence is sufficient. If you’ve raised your child to use logic and think critically, you’ve achieved this goal.

    One of the most important questions a child can ask is “Why” and yet many parents discourage this simple yet amazing question.

  52. kimsland says

    Thank you Shinigami.
    There is no known evidence of a god that I’m aware of. 🙂

  53. Kudlak says

    @ Tonya #19
    Yeah, it’s like the old appeal to the first law of thermodynamics that they always throw out regarding the soul. If you can’t destroy energy then it’s possible for a soul to escape, they say, forgetting that energy must be housed in some kind of container for it not to simply scatter.

  54. Monocle Smile says

    @Doctor Forbin
    I can’t find a reason to give a shit about obscure theological struggles between sects of christianity.

  55. StonedRanger says

    I was able to give about three minutes and then found myself wondering what else I could do. No way I was going to listen to this drivel for over an hour.

  56. magnusl says

    DId Matt agree with Doug that love and happiness are immaterial? Aren’t they chemical reactions in the brain?