Comments

  1. The YouTube Guy says

    What was the first caller trying to argue…? I’m actually seriously asking this.

  2. Cary Francis says

    BTW I am the guy with the horror story. Yup, I’ve had multiple attempts on my life, by my father. I do blame them. I do blame religion in general to. Bottom line is, its a real story, and I doubt I am alone, but it does feel that way. If anyone else has similar experience and you need help, message me. I survived and I am leading a fantastic life, good job, wonderful family, positive outlook. The things that happen to you in your life that are beyond your control, are not your fault, and you can move on, and life can be good. Never give up hope. And thanks Atheist Experience, you are fighting the good fight. Super kudos’ !!

  3. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    Loving the last call. This came up in another thread, parenthetically…Someone quoted an article saying that lots of Western morality has its roots in this concept of man being “in the image of God”.

    The response was basically:
    “Do you know what that even means? If you don’t know what it means, how can it possibly be influencing your action? If you know what it means, what’s stopping you from translating it out of religious terms?”

    This came up in our call a few weeks ago…there is a big need to replace loaded religious terms in the discussion of morality in order to open the discussion to a bigger audience. Then we can sort out the chaff (“you don’t know what it means”) from the grain (“you know what it means”).

  4. adamah says

    (Doing my best Trump voice)

    It was a (h)UUGHEEE show, Tracie and John, the greatest I’ve EVER seen!

    🙂

    re: Chris’ call, just imagine the female caller’s son (the one from Frisco, TX) fast-forwarded by a few decades: that’s exactly what the Bible commands (the scripture which says not to be overly unbalanced by associating with unbelievers, or the psalms scripture saying how atheists are fools for not not believing).

  5. bsue929 says

    Great show! Thanks for being there. … Love the idea of an atheist out day! …

    Tracie made some great points about the consequences of emotional arguments. I had never considered the ramifications of only appealling to someone on an emotional level.

    I continually wonder, though, HOW to appeal to Christians. Reason does not work. It seems most Christians I know believe for purely emotional reasons, and they have no use for arguments based in reason. It’s frustrating and a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. Any thoughts?

  6. Kirkland says

    it’s a shame about that last caller.. even though he was nervous and was messing himself up, he really didn’t get a chance to talk at all. even though he was very polite and let her speak even when she interrupted him.

  7. Abigail Rhyddyd says

    I’d love an Atheist out day!! I also enjoy sending Happy Sir Isaac Newton’s Birthday cards to people for December 25th.?

  8. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    I enjoyed this show. No complaints about it.

    Meh on that last caller, didn’t mind it, he asked why the truth of the answer to the god question matters to them and it was a fleshed out answer on the separation of chucrch and state. People intend to push their unfounded beliefs into places of knowledge and are attempting to portray it as though it were on an equally valid basis.

  9. Jo says

    I listened with interest to the recovering alcoholic calling in to the show. I am also an alcoholic in recovery and I have been attending AA meetings for all the nearly 30 years I have been sober. There are a growing number of secular, atheist and freethinking AA and non AA support groups worldwide nowadays, and I am a member of one such group here in the UK. I have always been bothered by the overtly “GOD” christian religiosity of the AA literature and of some of the meetings and members. However I was told that I could find my own “spiritual path” in my recovery, and I was in fact able to bypass the christian nonsense and find a rational explanation of the phenomenon of recovery in AA which makes sense to me. Fortunately I have found lots of AA meetings that are not emphatically religious where I have felt comfortable to be expressive of my disbelief in any gods. I practiced Zen Meditation for many years and call myself an atheist, as there is no need for belief in the supernatural in Zen practice. I am lucky that I am a qualified translator of the languages Spanish, Portuguese and French and I did a lot interpreting of foreign language texts in the literature part of my university degree. This helped me to understand that there was a way to decifer the god word and understand the true nature of the meaning behind the text. Most of the literature in AA was written in tthe 1930s and 40s in bible belt america, so it is far enough back in time to have been outdated in this day and age. Also, AA has been hijacked by the christians in many groups, following the pattern in history where religions have co-opted many universal humanist social and moral values, claiming them to be original to their particular dogma. My hope is that the AA program of recovery can be rewritten to suit our present day society, and be relevant in the 21st century.

  10. Nathan says

    I also can’t figure out what that first caller was talking about, I don’t think the hosts did either.

    I feel like he thought he had something deep to say but it was just nonsense.

  11. Scott says

    I got nothing from the first caller. Did anyone understand anything he was talking about?

  12. says

    >I feel like he thought he had something deep to say but it was just nonsense.

    From what I could gather, he was saying that the Internet is a tool that can help people quickly and easily understand the perspectives of others and could operate to help humanity–if people choose to use it to that end.

    What I didn’t get was why he felt it was relevant in the atheist/theist dialog. I could speculate, but my goal isn’t to tell people why they’re calling us, but to find out from them why they called us. What he was saying has been said many times over, but maybe he isn’t aware of that–and perhaps in his social circle he has nobody to talk to about these things…but then I, ironically, would think “Why not use the Internet to find people talking about this?” Because they’re certainly out there; I’ve read many articles about how the Internet could be used as opposed to how it is mainly used–criticisms and praise.

    It’s not that it’s not a topic worth discussing. I just wish he’d have been more clear on how he felt it should be folded into the format of the show–which is atheism/theism. That’s what I had a hard time getting out of him.

    When he began to talk about god’s purpose for the universe, I was VERY intrigued to go down that road with him, but rather than take my offer to explore that point more, he changed it–as though my point that we have to come to a meeting of the minds there before proceeding was a prompt to move away from the point, not to examine it further. And that was a bit disappointing to me. But in the end he seemed to actually want to avoid interaction that would actually examine atheism/theism and stick with the point that the internet has great potential to be a useful tool to mankind.

    And for me, that’s a point that could be made in less than five minutes, and the way the call kept going in circles with the same thing being repeated over, and over, and over again, I finally had to make a call to either bring it around to be relevant / on topic, or let a new caller have a turn.

    At the very least he got to express himself–which, if he’s not in an area where he has much opportunity for that, perhaps was cathartic to him in some way? But he started out saying he had a lot of trepidation about calling, and since the topic was so non-contentious, I really can’t fathom what he thought was going to happen that gave him pause.

    But I do feel it went on about twice as long as it should have, at least.

  13. says

    >it’s a shame about that last caller.. even though he was nervous and was messing himself up, he really didn’t get a chance to talk at all. even though he was very polite and let her speak even when she interrupted him.

    Please feel free to let me know what you heard him saying that you wish we’d have explored further? From what I remember, as we discussed it at the after show dinner, He asked a question about why we think it’s important to discuss the existence of god. And I explained that on a local, national, and global level. Then he needed a moment, so I took that opportunity to plug the NOVA series “Intelligent Design on Trial” as another good documented case of religious intrusion in the U.S.

    Eventually he came back asking another question, I believe about whether we can get good ideas out of religion? And I tried to answer that.

    Do you feel he had a proactive point to make that I failed to glean that should have been explored more in depth? The more detail you can provide for show criticisms, the more constructive the criticisms are. But simply pointing out someone was interrupted does not help, because on a show like this one, where interaction is mainly by phone, we are going to have to interrupt people now and then for a number of valid reasons.

    On this show alone, I interrupted when someone had clearly made their point/question clear, and their desire to further clarify was not necessary (would only have taken time and not added clarity); when someone asserted something that was a point of contention, from which we could not proceed before resolving; when I felt that a caller was going off on an unrelated tangent that was not relevant to the point they were trying to make or what the show focus is. And I’m sure there are more examples and reasons, but without specifics, it’s hard to say why I would cut off a caller; but I won’t deny I will cut a caller off, because sometimes it’s necessary. The host is responsible for keeping the conversations relevant, on point, and pacing the show time. As it is, I went over by half an hour and did a 2-hour show–which means I allowed too much talk, not too little.

    I commented later to John that I felt I did the lion’s share of talking and hope he felt able to speak while I was hosting. He said he felt like he said a lot during that program and was fine with the balance of it.

    It isn’t as though we aren’t up there trying to give everyone opportunity to make points and ask questions, but there are limits, and sometimes I may let someone go on too long, cut someone off too soon, or make calls that some agree with/some do not. I’ve seen mail, for example where some folks will write to say “Why didn’t you let that caller talk more?” And someone else commenting on the same call will ask why we let someone ramble on so long saying nothing of interest. We can’t please everyone, but feedback is surely welcome–and criticism is welcome as well, as long as it comes packaged in a way that allows for constructive improvement.

  14. Shiniyami says

    I think that first caller was doing some mighty confused thinking. He seemed to have combined some ideas of possible worlds, the fact that the internet allows us to communicate on a level not seen before and something about achieving your optimal potential. He also threw in something about the purpose of the universe. I wonder if people articulate these thoughts before calling in. He seemed to just want our commentary on his thoughts to see if they make sense or not?
    The second caller brings up something I think we need to draw more attention to. The fact that 12 step programs are a way in which religions are getting state support. Judges send people to 12 step programs etc. We need to make people more aware of this stuff, and be able to point them to truly secular alternatives.

    All the best to you Cary. I hope your parents are no longer able to abuse any more children.

    National atheist out day seems like a great idea. Sadly I’m in the secular Netherlands so I don’t know how much help I could be from here.

    Great show all and all.

  15. Tolga says

    can you guys talk about why slaty water and fresh water dont mix ? if they do mix , how ? i am an atheist and people always tend to ask me this questions and always quote the line in Quran that indicates fresh water and salty dont mix.internet wont help me on this subject.

  16. mond says

    Atheist day already exists

    1st of April….crazy fools. 😉

    Really struggled with the rambling 1st caller.
    Sounded like he was saying “The internet is cool and…”.
    Then didn’t get round to finishing the rest of it.

  17. adamah says

    Heicart said:

    And for me, that’s a point that could be made in less than five minutes, and the way the call kept going in circles with the same thing being repeated over, and over, and over again, I finally had to make a call to either bring it around to be relevant / on topic, or let a new caller have a turn.

    On his point, the thought running through my mind was how the Orlando shooter used the Internet to become radicalized by watching Jihadist videos, so it’s not so much about “learning about other beliefs to broaden one’s world view” (or whether the caller’s naive assertion was), but sometimes it’s about using the Internet to seek out only those ideologies which you’d like to believe.

    But yeah, when a theist engages in that kind of wordiness to express a non-controversial thought that could be easily stated in a single paragraph, I start to wonder if he was intentionally trying to “run down the clock”, as if eating up show-time is going to keep it from proceeding (in sports, it’s a “delay of game” foul).

    You repeatedly tried to politely steer the conversation in a productive direction, but he obviously refused to engage. As the old saying goes, “you can lead a horse to water, etc”….

  18. Devocate says

    @17:

    Take two glasses of water, add a lot of salt to one. Dump both glasses into a bowl. Using an eye dropper find some place in the bowl where the water doesn’t taste salty, or some place that is as salty as the original glass. If you can’t then the Quran is wrong about fresh and salty water not mixing. If you can, try whisking the contents of the bowl, and try again.

    If you prefer an armchair thought experiment: think about all the rain in the world, all fresh water. All flowing into fresh water rivers. All ending up flowing into the ocean. That adds up to about 3 mm per day. In the 1500 years since that was written down, that sums to 1.6 kilometers of water over the entire surface of the oceans. Since fresh floats on salt water (being less dense), there should be at least 1.6 kilometers of fresh water on top of the oceans. They shouldn’t be salty unless you go below that level.

  19. adamah says

    Tolga asked:

    can you guys talk about why slaty water and fresh water dont mix ? if they do mix, how ?

    Sure, they mix, but as pointed out by others, it’s possible that in some natural conditions they don’t.

    Google “halocline”, since that’s the term oceanographers use to describe the condition found in standing columns of ocean water, wherein stratification occurs based on differences in density (and ignoring oceanic effects, such as up-welling):

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halocline

    An exception is found in the case of ‘estuaries’ (the location where fresh water from rain-fall on the land flows from streams to mix with oceanic salt water). It’s a unique location, where marine organisms require special adaptations to survive in the salinity gradient.

    Google ‘estuaries adaptations organisms’ to learn more about the biological adaptations found in some species of marine life.

    i am an atheist and people always tend to ask me this questions and always quote the line in Quran that indicates fresh water and salty dont mix.internet wont help me on this subject.

    If you’re looking to point out scientific inaccuracies in the Quran, it seems like a rather pointless point to argue, since it likely offers believers the opportunity to ‘cherry-pick’ examples from modern science that support the Quran (e.g. halocline, as explained above), and ignore those that don’t (estuaries).

    It may be more productive to focus on MORAL issues, since that’s where both the Quran and Torah come up short, showing their outdated anachronistic beliefs (both support slavery, misogyny, killing of gays, etc).

  20. OnlyTheEvidenceMatters says

    Tracie,

    You were an excellent host. You kept things moving. I love that you went over on time. I’m with YouTubeGuy, I had difficulties following the first caller. I thought he had a God point but when you called him out, he started over again. I hope you host more in future as you’re easily my favourite on the show. Sorry everyone else.

  21. OnlyTheEvidenceMatters says

    I love the out day idea, wouldn’t secular out day be better though? Sagan’s birthday is a great idea.

  22. adamah says

    Re: 27, the PBS video has an interview with Dr. Eugenie C. Scott, former head of the NCSE (Natl Center for Science Education) who testified in the ID trial.

    She also wrote a book called, “Evolution vs Creation: a primer”, the 1st chapter of which is available as a free download from here:

    https://ncse.com/files/pub/creationism/Evo%20vs.%20Creationism–2nd%20edition–Chapter%201.pdf

    In her book, she makes many important points that most lay-people are unaware of. It should be required reading for anyone engaging in the topic (and I see the used hardback is available for $0.80 on Amazon).

  23. Barbara says

    Great show tonight. You both did a good job, first caller confused me not sure what point he was trying to make. Everyday for me is an Atheist day, nature is making everyday memorable.
    I just watch a 4 part show on the Galapagos Is with new 3D technology, wonderful orator David Attenbourogh. Tracing back to how everything came to be but with question still to be answered. Even discovered a new species of iguana the colour pink imagine that. Evolution YES
    You have a world audience following “The Atheist Experience” I am from NZ we have small issue we are fighting in the courts RI being re introduced by the evangelists back into our public schools. Secular Education FB have created a movement to let parents know what is going on. Talk about a David /Goliath moment.Two individuals against RI: a group who developed this program (with buckets of money) and our conservative government. Human rights org have come on board supporting the rights of parents to not attend.
    Cheers

  24. Joe says

    Juan: I am totally behind you Atheist Out Day. Atheist Pride? November 9 is perfect, in my opinion. Please post updates here if you make any headway in the promotion. I want to follow this and do what I can to help you make this a reality.

  25. jsdebruyn says

    Juan: I’m with you on what Tracie referred to as an ‘Atheist Out Day’!
    One thought I had was to, as you suggested, use the Italian phrase attributed to Galileo on a T-shirt & such:

    “E pur si muove ”
    (“And yet it moves”)
    Galileo’s utterance moved me to Atheism.
    Does it move you?

    The Galileo phrase as a meme/t-shirt/motto is just a thought, but for sure we need to do this Day!
    Great idea, Juan!

  26. jeffh123 says

    Next to last caller, the topic of religion being used to control. I have heard people comment that they don’t believe religion is used to consciously control people, but I disagree. I believe it is completely used for that purpose. Look at the concept of an afterlife that is WAY better than one’s mortal life. It seems to me that what is going on is “bow to my god, obey my rule because I speak for god, accept your lot in life no matter how shitty, and you will be rewarded in the afterlife.” It’s really that simple.

  27. CGuillot says

    Hi, anyone knows the name of the Mexico City convention Juan was talking about? I’d really love to attend.

  28. OnlyTheEvidenceMatters says

    I watched both documentaries suggested by Tracie and I have a few questions. Why are obviously scientifically illiterate people allowed to make changes to a science textbook? Is what happened in Texas legal? Are people being intentionally dishonest using theory and fact incorrectly once learning what scientific theory means? Do the short and long term goals of the wedge document worry anyone else?

  29. says

    >I watched both documentaries suggested by Tracie and I have a few questions.

    Thank you for doing that. I hope you found them as riveting as I did.

    >Why are obviously scientifically illiterate people allowed to make changes to a science textbook?

    Because “School Board” is a body made up of elected officials that are not required to have any credentials whatsoever. You don’t have to have any experience with education, the subjects you’ll be reviewing–nothing. It’s purely someone running for the office and people electing that person. And they are VERY low budget elections without much media attention. So, most folks don’t even know when they occur. It’s considered a low level position. But religious conservatives have found these sorts of municipal elected spots to be a boon, a place they can rally the votes because they are neglected by most folks. As I said during the show–TONS of folks wrote to complain to our legislators the moment the Austin American-Statesman began to publish interviews with the then-Chair, Don McLeroy, calling for him to be “fired.” But he was never “hired”–he was elected. The Legislature basically explained that from a civics standpoint, they don’t have the authority to “fire” an official the public has elected. So, the people empowered this group, not the Legislature. It’s not appointed by other elected officials, it’s a direct election result. The Legislature’s hands were tied, and all they could do was say “you put these folks in office, not us. These are YOUR officials that you chose.”

    > Is what happened in Texas legal?

    100% yes. And there is nothing legally anyone can do to stop them, beyond:

    1. Electing new folks next cycle.
    2. Take them to court if they overstep anything Constitutional. So, for example, McLeroy said during one interview he would teach creationism in the schools if it were legal. As it is, if he tried, he’d be sued because it violates church-state separation laws. But as far as gutting the science curriculum…no laws against teaching minimal or crappy science if that’s what you want in your schools, because we have no national standards for our school systems–it’s all locally controlled. This is why I would like to see “Common Core” promoted more and eventually I’d be good with national education standards created by *qualified* people with proper credentials from accredited institutions.

    >Are people being intentionally dishonest using theory and fact incorrectly once learning what scientific theory means?

    I can’t speak for whether someone else is being honest–except in cases like “Intelligent Design on Trial”–where they showed the infamous “search and replace” mistake that showed they had merely searched for “creationism/creator” and replaced with “intelligent design/designer.” There was simply no way to justify that your new label isn’t just a repackaging of the old idea, when this is the level of your text book updates. So, it was clear that even they knew their defense was a load of hogwash, and they were simply trying to re-sell “creationism” as “intelligent design.”

    >Do the short and long term goals of the wedge document worry anyone else?

    Yes. There is a huge battle for education in this nation. If it interests you, you can follow the Texas Freedom Network–a watchdog group in Texas devoted to quality secular education.

    Read more: http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2016/06/19/open-thread-for-20-24-tracie-john/#ixzz4CJHmcNQR

  30. Cecilia Nordén says

    Juan, I love the idea of Atheist out day! I am with the Swedish Humanist society and would like to hear if and in that case how we could support you with this. Would be great if we could make this into a global thing!

    Would also like to hear more about the convention in Mexico! I have searched for it but can’t find it. Anyone who knows when this is on?

  31. says

    I have to disagree with Tracie at the beginning when she kept harping on the idea that information was freely available even before the internet. No, it was not. Within religious communities, information given to children was controlled and limited by everyone around them. The school, the church, neighbors, relatives, everyone was a participant in religious indoctrination of their children and all participated in controlling what information children could read, watch on television, everything. Once the internet came out, that information was far more accessible to these same types of indoctrinated children. Parents can try and control the internet, but it’s just not possible for them to stop the flow of information like it was for television and other forms of media. Internet has transformed freedom of information. Schools and libraries have tried to censor the internet on their computers and failed miserably. It was whole new scenario once the internet became mainstream and I think maybe Tracie just didn’t experience true indoctrination back in the day or just forgot what it was like.

  32. says

    I think Kyle has some Utopian idea of everyone living full time altruistically. As in… hey, why wipe your own butt, I’ll do it for you cause I’m just that altruistic. It’s not feasible and in fact, impossible. Nobody can spend all their time doing everything for others unless somebody else is doing everything for them as well. How is that a better world? Somebody cuts my grass, somebody cuts their grass, I cut another persons grass…. it’s ridiculous!! Just everyone cut their own grass. These are very simple examples, but it gets the point across that altruism is a fantasy, it doesn’t work. Also, let’s face the real problem…. altruism would never be practiced by everyone. People with a Utopian outlook always seem to eliminate avg Joe and bad people from their equation. Well, you can’t do that. Avg Joe and bad people won’t ever change and all these people practicing altruism would get nothing in return from these people and their altruism would eventually stop when it comes to those who never return the altruism, which in itself completely destroys the altruism because true altruism is done without any concern for ones self and simply doesn’t exist. Even Kyle is a hypocrite when it comes to his own ideology, cause we know the concept is impossible. These utopian seekers are just delusional.

  33. Monocle Smile says

    @MotoAtheist
    I’ve run into a number of these naive libertarian types who (I shit you not) believe that the existence of the government is the only thing preventing people from falling naturally into this altruistic Utopia.

  34. Scott E says

    So no real theist callers on the lines this week, huh? Most of the callers were interesting but I know the hosts like to prioritize theists when they can, and the closest we got to one was the guy who mentioned God but then backed off. As repetitive as they probably are for the hosts, I do enjoy hearing yet another go at Pascal’s Wager, the argument from Design, or the “why can’t you just leave religion alone?” angle. They remind me of the people who notice you can make some pun or play on words out of your name and think they’re the first person who ever thought of it when they tell it to you.

    Very good show and an interesting mix of callers nonetheless. I thought Tracie and John gave the last caller ample opportunity to relax and articulate his thoughts; if I have any suggestion for cases like that, it might be to encourage them to write their thoughts in a journal later on and then politely move on. I did feel John didn’t say much during most of the calls; it’s always good to get both hosts’ angles on the topics. I also would have liked him to open with some substantive atheism topic or news item as the cohost has done in many of the shows; those are always interesting.

  35. Ethan Myerson says

    To Jason From Tucson – I don’t know if you’re here on this forum, but I’m Ethan From Tucson, and I totally dig what you’re saying. I agree that we should be doing more to eliminate the harm done by religion in society. I don’t know if you’re a member of Freethought Arizona or the Tucson Atheists Meetup Group, but those are great venues for meeting others like us. Tucson Atheists has a biweekly “Drinking Godlessly” meetup, which is generally pretty good.

    If you make it out to any of those events, I’d love to chat more about what we can do to oppose religious overreach.

  36. says

    >So no real theist callers on the lines this week, huh?

    You got it.

    >the closest we got to one was the guy who mentioned God but then backed off.

    Yeah, that was a bit disappointing, actually. I was hoping this would be the point where he’d get more into why he thought it was related to the atheist/theist dialog. But nope.

    > I thought Tracie and John gave the last caller ample opportunity to relax and articulate his thoughts

    I honestly thought so as well. And if a person tells me they have one more thing to discuss, I’m generally open to hearing it. So, it wasn’t as though I was inflexible on letting any of the callers talk more–when it came to topics of relevance to the show’s focus. I even picked up the slack when he said he needed time–by talking about another documentary–while he pulled himself together–so that he didn’t feel the pressure of dead silence as everyone waited for him to start up again.

    > if I have any suggestion for cases like that, it might be to encourage them to write their thoughts in a journal later on and then politely move on.

    This isn’t a bad idea–not precisely, but it reminded me that when I was a caller, before I connected with ACA, I used to write down my thoughts before I called, so that I didn’t get derailed. While I was on hold, as other things came up with other callers, or as other ideas came to me, I just jotted them down. Then when it was my turn, I had a list to refer to that was a nice guide/agenda to work from to keep things straight in my head. I might mention this next time I’m on as a recommendation to callers who feel nervous about calling and think they might seize up while on the air.

    > I did feel John didn’t say much during most of the calls; it’s always good to get both hosts’ angles on the topics.

    I agree. I actually tried to tell myself mentally to “shut up” when John would begin to talk, and I made a conscious effort to wait until he seemed to be done talking before resuming. Not sure I succeeded at all times. But I know at least three times I was very aware of John talking and made conscious effort to let him complete his thoughts.

    > I also would have liked him to open with some substantive atheism topic or news item as the cohost has done in many of the shows; those are always interesting.

    We used to do this routinely when we were in the Access Studios and had 1.5 hours. Then we moved to 1 hour, and people said by a large margin that they preferred callers to topics, although we also got feedback saying the topics were missed. Some hosts–like Don and Jen–made an effort to continue their topics, and others, like me, just moved to caller format almost exclusively, with a topic now and then.

    Now that we’re in our own studio, and back to the 1.5 hour format, I don’t see why topics shouldn’t resume as the rule, rather than the exception? It’s not a bad recommendation for us to reconsider them and get un-used to the caller only format.

    Thank you for your recommendations and thoughts.

  37. says

    >I have to disagree with Tracie at the beginning when she kept harping on the idea that information was freely available even before the internet. No, it was not. Within religious communities, information given to children was controlled and limited by everyone around them.

    It took longer to disseminate, but my point was that, if there was a revolution in France, people eventually got news of it. The idea that information didn’t travel was not correct. Also, please note that viewing global communication pre-Internet as something controlled by “religious communities” is ethnocentric. Not all cultures had religions that controlled their communication access or their interactions with neighboring cultures/communities.

    > The school, the church, neighbors, relatives, everyone was a participant in religious indoctrination of their children and all participated in controlling what information children could read, watch on television, everything.

    Again–you’re narrowly focused here. There are cultures even today that don’t have televisions, and they still get information. It travels. And ultimately the argument you are making is not negated by the Internet, but only mitigated. When you look up religiously related topics, the HUGE majority of hits will be pro-theistic sites promoting a pro-theistic perspective. You often have to dig more deeply to find critical perspectives on any topic/issue related to religion. But that’s not the point. The point is, if a fire happened in Toronto, people in Florida would hear about it–even without the Internet. In fact, before the Internet, I was in a university library reading books about all sorts of religions that were not Western traditional religions. I had that access–before the Internet.

    > Once the internet came out, that information was far more accessible to these same types of indoctrinated children.

    When you say it was “far more accessible”–you *admit* it *was* available pre-Internet. The internet made information *more* available–which is *exactly* what I stressed on the show.

    > Parents can try and control the internet, but it’s just not possible for them to stop the flow of information like it was for television and other forms of media.

    “Other forms of media” is where control of any sort breaks down. As I said above, I walked into a library where I was able to find all sorts of information contrary to my own religious views and upbringing. I took courses offering counter perspectives as well. I met other people who thought differently than I did in my social interactions at school…you can’t silence ideas. You can try, but it fails. However, again, your focus is *narrow*. There is more global information in the world than “religion.” People in the past, pre-Internet were reading, for example, books by people like Caesar, who relayed information about his campaigns abroad and his thoughts on the Roman Civil Conflict in the 40s BC. I think you’re not really giving sufficient credit to the availability of information on political ideas and international/national events. When Columbus landed in the New World–it may have taken awhile to get the news back to the Old World–but it definitely got back. Information traveled. It’s a fact. The Internet didn’t make that happen–it just made it happen more efficiently (by a great margin, admittedly).

    >Internet has transformed freedom of information.

    I think it has transformed *access* to information. Information was always there–just not as easily accessible. Now I can log onto the Internet and have information about what Buddhists believe in seconds. Previously I had to go to a library to find writings on such topics. I was indoctrinated and all the information to counter what I’d been told resided right there in the library. I just had to work a little harder to find it. But it was there.

    > Schools and libraries have tried to censor the internet on their computers and failed miserably.

    Interestingly–it was a library where I found all of my counter information about other religions, how the Bible was produced, and so on. A library–pre-Internet–freed my mind by handing me accurate information about religion and the history of Christianity.

    > It was whole new scenario once the internet became mainstream and I think maybe Tracie just didn’t experience true indoctrination back in the day or just forgot what it was like.

    I was raised Church of Christ–which make the Baptists look liberal. My mother took us three times a week. They were Biblical literalists, and provided me information from Josh McDowell as “evidence” for my faith. They were creationists. They were sexist. They were anti-divorce for any reason (even abuse) except infidelity. They believed in not sparing the rod, and in a real Hell. And I escaped that pre-Internet. When you say that must mean I wasn’t really indoctrinated–that’s not any better than a Christian saying that I’m an atheist now because I was never really a True Christian.

  38. John Iacoletti says

    I chime in when I have something relevant to add or an angle that hasn’t been mentioned already. I generally have to ponder for a few moments before I speak, so I’m glad that the more extemporaneous hosts can talk while I’m thinking, but then they are so good that they already make the point that I would have made before I do. I think I’m getting more comfortable speaking off the cuff though. It also depends a lot on the subject. For example, one caller asked if either of us grew up Christian, and Tracie did and I didn’t, so the conversation that followed was about her experiences with that.

    From the feedback that we get, people either love the co-host presented topics or they hate them. I try to compromise by doing a short (5 minutes or so) topic if I’m going to do one so that we can get to calls quicker. My “topic” this time though was to thank Martin Wagner for his years of service, because I wanted to make sure we did that before more time passed!

  39. Atheist in Georgia says

    I live in a small town in south ga called Quitman. I’m sure i am the only atheist for 100s of miles. It would please to no end to host an atheist convention here at least 3 or 4 thousand atheist decend on my town.

  40. Atheist in Georgia says

    I can relate to what you are saying i also pause sometimes before I speak to the piont that some people including my wife find it annoying.
    But i wish other people would think before they speak.

  41. Scott E says

    Re: opening topics: I guess I can see that they won’t interest everyone, but it seems like objecting to a 10 minute opener when there are 80 minutes (more or less) of discussion with callers is very much analogous to the theists objecting to a once-a-week atheism show when they already have hundreds of hours of religious TV programming. Just fast-forward the clip or go get a coffee. 🙂

    Re: information pre- & post-Internet: The flip side of having volumes of opinions and information so readily accessible is that it also makes it far easier to insulate yourself with information that only confirms your existing point of view. There’s a term for this that I don’t remember, but it’s a form of confirmation bias and it’s a natural and unconscious tendency (notice all of us atheists on this blog page generally agreeing with each other).
    It seems to me that the real challenge is getting people to the point of doubt and curiosity that motivates them to go learn more about other ways of looking at things. The Internet just means that driving to the library is no longer an obstacle; how do you get the pre-atheism Tracies of the world to want to go to the library in the first place? We don’t have a Spirit of Atheism we can ask to go around sowing questioning attitudes in people’s minds for us. ;P

  42. says

    I would like to create a calendar with special days . i wosh some of these rallies were held on certain days as well. So I will make a facebook group called Atheist Calendar and if you want to help pick some days join up. And maybe we can add artwork sell it and donate to beyond belief charity.

  43. AK says

    On secular recovery:
    AA (the first 12-step program which so many others are based on) was created back in the 1930s when a majority of everyone was a theist, and atheists (non believers, secularists, etc.) were still in hiding. In that light it makes sense that the program refers to god over and over in the program and the steps (not saying this shouldn’t be reformed, I’m only commenting on what it is currently).

    Let’s consider the intent of appealing/referring to god in recovery. In my humble opinion (based on experience) it’s appealing to something greater/outside of ones self. I come to this conclusion because appealing to ones own moral fortitude, value system, line of reasoning, etc. has gotten the addict into the situation (addiction and need for recovery) in the first place. For the religious, the word god may mean YHWH, Allah, Krishna, whatever/whoever. To me, a secular recovering addict, I still find it helpful to appeal to something greater than myself so I tend to substitute the idea of my Highest Self (ideal version of me), or the wisdom of those who came before me (those who have had successful recovery – i.e. people with long term sobriety who have written or spoken on it, etc.), unobscured reality (as opposed to the clouded perception of reality that people in active addiction have), or the group as a whole (among other concepts) for the word god. (I think assuming the baggage religion brings to this term applies to it every time, rather than looking deeper for intent and meaning of what it stands for, is something that holds the atheist community back, but that’s a discussion for another thread)

    Also, with a bit of research below are a couple samples of secular versions of the 12 steps, and there are many more:

    //
    1. We accept the fact that all our efforts to stop drinking have failed.
    2. We believe that we must turn elsewhere for help.
    3. We turn to our fellow men and women, particularly those who have struggled with the same problem.
    4. We have made a list of the situations in which we are most likely to drink.
    5. We ask our friends to help us avoid those situations.
    6. We are ready to accept the help they give us.
    7. We honestly hope they will help.
    8. We have made a list of the persons we have harmed and to whom we hope to make amends.
    9. We shall do all we can to make amends, in any way that will not cause further harm.
    10. We will continue to make such lists and revise them as needed.
    11. We appreciate what our friends have done and are doing to help us.
    12. We, in turn, are ready to help others who may come to us in the same way.
    // (via http://bit.ly/28QtD1d )
    and
    //
    1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.
    2. Came to accept and to understand that we need strengths beyond our awareness and resources to restore us to sanity.
    3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of the AA program.
    4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
    5. Admitted to ourselves without reservation, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs.
    6. Were ready to accept help in letting go of all our defects of character.
    7. Humbly sought to have our shortcomings removed.
    8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
    9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible accept when to do so would injure them or others.
    10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
    11. Sought through mindful inquiry and meditation to improve our spiritual awareness, seeking only for knowledge of our rightful path in life and the power to carry that out.
    12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
    // (via http://bit.ly/28QuvTv )

    There are secular resources to help those who are anti-theist or who don’t like the word god at all in their program. We have google, recovery is about helping ourselves, so do a bit of learning and a bit of research to see what is best for you. It’s a personal journey.

    On addiction in general:
    Whether its substance addiction (alcoholism for instance) or behavioral addiction (gambling addiction for instance) community is key. I say this because there was a study done on rats, colloquially referred to as the “Rat Park Experiment” as summarized in http://bit.ly/28RYfSR below

    //In this experiment rats, who are participating in drug studies, are given a large cage with free food, access to sex and toys and many playmates (the childhood kind, not Hugh Hefner’s). As Hari talks about in his talk, more a Rat Heaven then Rat Park, but still… Under such conditions, Dr. Alexander found that rats actually refused drug cocktails, unlike their solo-caged study-mates. The conclusion – it’s not the drugs that are addiction but rather the environmental stressors that are placed on the rats we are studying.//

    A huge part of 12-step programs is the connections and sense of community they provide. Community is only part of addiction however. Another part of it is accountability. Addicts tend to live double-lives in general. One life we are accountable for and the other we aren’t (or so we think when we’re acting out) In one life we portray what we want to be, and in a secret life we work to get our fix with no consideration of the consequences to ourselves and/or others. Being in active addiction truly clouds reality as it pertains to relationship to ones self and others through this double life and justification based in this clouded reality (I can have another drink because…, I can stop gambling whenever I want to and I just don’t want to, If nobody finds out I did a line of coke then it doesn’t hurt anyone, If she appreciated me more I wouldn’t be *insert acting out behavior here*, I’m too stressed and need to calm down so I’ll …, etc) A big part of really working the 12-step program is accountability (see steps 4, 5, and 9).

    Humans have very complex psychology partly influenced by biology, partly influenced by environment. A lot of emotion people carry around were taught and/or modeled in childhood. Oftentimes parents do not provide good examples of how to behave, how to set boundaries, what to do to keep self-esteem at a healthy level, how to deal with conflict, where to go for help, and so much more. These influences have potential to be highly detrimental to psychological effects in adulthood. Everything from shame to lack of trust in ones self to co-dependence to addiction and more. Addiction is a behavior to try to stuff down these painful emotions, feelings, experiences, memories, etc. through an unhealthy coping mechanism. I think this is evidence that 12-step programs are only part of recovery. Individual therapy, group therapy, (both of which I think should be stressed much more in 12-step meetings) and 12-step groups (including working the program) all work together to help addicts work towards recovery and a more healthy way of being.

    Conclusion:
    12-step programs, while not everything for everyone, is a good resource for addiction recovery. With a little mental gymnastics and personal research I believe I’ve shown that 12-step program, while there is an underlying religious message, can be interpreted in a secular way and still be useful and meaningful and helpful to those on the path to sobriety.

  44. Monocle Smile says

    @AK
    The first part of that was agreeable (the “ideal self” thing lit up my eyes) and I’m generally on board with what you’re saying, but there’s another objection to 12-step programs. Organizations like AA don’t actually release their data. We have no idea how effective these programs are. I think a harder look needs to be taken at 12-step programs in general; I’d rather not secularize and perpetuate something that should be done away with.

  45. AK says

    @Monocle Smiile
    I disagree. No matter how effective it is, a sense of community is very important to recovery, as the Rat Park experiment shows. It’s not the end-all-be-all, but it’s something very useful for people who can’t afford therapy. If we do away with 12-step programs, it would leave a void of recovering addicts needing community.

    I agree, they should release the data so we can analyze how effective it is. Fact of the matter is they don’t for various reasons (sobriety is defined differently for many addicts and many addictions, preserving anonymity, other political reasons). I haven’t seen any good argument presented on why 12-step programs should be discarded, but I have presented reasons that they should be preserved (and in my opinion reformed)

  46. Monocle Smile says

    @AK
    I don’t really care about “reason” when there’s no evidence. I agree that a sense of community is likely important, but that doesn’t mean we do the inverse of throwing the baby out with the bathwater

    I haven’t seen any good argument presented on why 12-step programs should be discarded

    Well, then it’s a good thing I never argued this. Not sure why you seem to think I did. My sole point is that we don’t know how effective they are and the continued refusal to release data is a glaring red flag, IMO.

  47. AK says

    Agreed. I think the evidence points to the fact that it’s important, and I think more evidence would help make it more effective.

  48. Devocate says

    “AA (the first 12-step program which so many others are based on) was created back in the 1930s when a majority of everyone was a theist, and atheists (non believers, secularists, etc.) were still in hiding. In that light it makes sense that the program refers to god over and over in the program and the steps”

    No it doesn’t. The driving manuals from 1930s don’t refer to god over and over. Nor do the chemistry books.

  49. OnlyTheEvidenceMatters says

    Tracie,

    I found them both riveting as well as frustrating. The things I found frustrating in Revisionists were: Those involved in changing textbooks needn’t be educated in the subject, the lack of knowledge and or respect. Hell, one board member, rolled her eyes and looked bored or disgusted whenever scientists were speaking, While both female board members faced forward, smiled and actively listened when Stephen Meyer (Master of Crapology) spoke.

    Judgement Day: Intelligent Design on Trial had a lot of the same. A sheer lack of scientific understanding and dishonesty to further their agenda.

  50. AK says

    those are government manuals, not a private group of individuals coming together with a common cause. one is regulated, one isn’t

  51. walter says

    Tracie, I find your thoughts to be cogent and clearly articulated. I look forward to those shows when you are host.

    John, nice thoughtful additions.

  52. Devocate says

    @60
    How about guitar playing manuals then? Those pushing god over and over? Juggling books? No?

  53. onetruegodcartoon says

    Enjoyed the show as always (just started watching this year), and I love Tracie as a host! Some constructive feedback (perhaps?) = While I could listen to Tracie as a solo host (or all day in general) I felt a little bad for John who was either not confident enough or not quick enough get out many words. He’s new to me and that’s maybe that’s the idea (new person with an experienced person). Maybe the experienced folks could throw a bone to the newbies here and there while being ready to bail them out if they get tongue tied? I’m splitting hairs. Thanks for the show, and keep up the good work!

  54. PIERRE NICOLAS says

    does any one know how to contact Juan for information on the Athiest Convention in Mexico ??