Open thread for episode 21.18: Matt and Don


Don talks about explanatory power and how, by explaining everything, God ends up explains nothing.

Comments

  1. Joshua Williams says

    Corey’s call​ was just an obnoxious waste of time. What is the point of calling if you don’t care to clearify what your asking or care about the specific point your referring to. Seems he was just trying to trick Matt but he failed. If there is a God it would it would reveal itself in better way than thru books. It would reveal itself in a sane rational logical way that everyone could understand.

  2. Ben Weaver says

    The problem remains.Douches like Corey have no clue they’re douches.That call hang-up by Matt must be a Guinness record.

  3. says

    corey: “you can forfeit, go ahead.”
    daniel: “you lost some points there, guys.”

    counting coups are the stuff of which legends are made…

    Counting coup refers to the winning of prestige against an enemy by the Plains Indians of North America. Warriors won prestige by acts of bravery in the face of the enemy, which could be recorded in various ways and retold as stories. Any blow struck against the enemy counted as a coup, but the most prestigious acts included touching an enemy warrior with the hand, bow, or coup stick and escaping unharmed. …

    Escaping unharmed while counting coup was considered a higher honor than being wounded in the attempt.

    corey and daniel got away and quickly, but “unharmed” seems to be the operative term.

    (though i’m sure if we asked them, they’d insist: “the black knight always triumphs!”)

  4. Tom Whitaker says

    The tricks and mental gymnastics these theists have to perform to maintain their sky genie is always fascinating…..anything and everything except meet their burden of proof!!! At least one caller finally got honest…he believes because it makes him feel good!!

  5. jeffh123 says

    aarrgghh: You are correct. Today must be douche day. Also smorgasbord Christianity.

  6. marx says

    I hope Matt continues to be the primary host of the Atheist Experience for a long time!
    His great secular view point changes indoctrinated minds!

    Great job Matt!

  7. says

    Saying “When God closes a door, He opens a window” to someone who just lost their wife is disturbingly similar to saying “There are plenty of fish in the sea”.

  8. titan says

    Aaaaaand Corey is the same douche that keeps calling up almost every week. “I believe god is spaceless, timeless, yadda yadda yadda.”

    The burden of evidence is on you. If you don’t have proof, don’t come back until you do. But I’m sure that won’t stop you from asking empty loose questions without any definition on further episodes.

  9. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    What the hell was up with the first two callers? I’m guessing they’re probably YouTubers that are trying to get notoriety by ‘beating’ the AXP? It’s a very sad state of affairs that it will probably get them the clicks they desire.

    I think the roll of the call-screeners is getting more and more important. I don’t envy it, but please don’t let Corey back if you can help it.

    btw (very off topic I hope no one minds), I had a Facebook with discussion with a person (that I know IRL) who claims there was no rainbows prior to Noah’s flood and (this is the good bit) there was NO RAIN prior to Noah’s flood.

    No even Ken Ham agrees with him!

    As always thanks for the show guys (and gals).

    – Simon

  10. M says

    I enjoyed this episode a lot – clear arguments from Matt, as normal. I wonder if the best episodes are helped by having good callers.

    Has Atheist Experience ever considered trying to invite wannabe apologists to call in? The day before the show, the organisers could phone round a bunch of churches asking if they have anyone who would be interested in giving a brief run-down of what they believe and why. I imagine that many churches would say “nope, we don’t have anyone who wants to say what they believe and why”, but maybe a few percent of churches would be willing to suggest someone who would phone in (or be phoned) to present a specific argument.

    Just an idea – probably it’s been discussed already, but I thought I’d suggest it just in case.

  11. Michael Dempsey says

    I understand the second callers complaint that there are angry atheists out there but to assume it’s the majority is absurd. There are far more angry theists than angry atheists it’s the law of large numbers. In his defense, assumptions and supposition is a strong part of his thinking pattern and this brainwashing has spilled over into his everyday thought process where it interferes with rational thinking and the assumptions feels so good that it has become real. His own personal heroin. He’s using an intuition pump not just on the sharing of his beliefs but on himself as well and he is falling farther and farther down the rabbit hole. The poor Ejit. But the arrogance of the first two callers was entertaining. Acting less Christian to prove their Christian god exists would make
    Jesus very upset assuming he existed. Great shows I love watching. A fan from West Chester, PA! Thanks, Mike

    P.S. ( this is just my opinion and I am open to being wrong)

  12. Monocle Smile says

    Corey from Schenectady? Are you kidding me? How has this assclown not fixed himself in the past few years. For those who don’t know, Corey has called several times in the past and is just as douchey and stupid and he was in this call. Russell took him to task a few times and has taken to just hanging up on the line before even answering.

    Daniel’s yet another “deist” who seems to enjoy inventing reasons to feel smugly superior to atheists. Seems to be a theme. It’s a bit similar to Gerard’s schtick; focusing solely on motives to the exclusion of providing a modicum of support for your own position is a concession that your position is bankrupt. Daniel was less childish, but just as douchey as Corey.

    Daniel: “Logical positivism got blown away 50 years ago”
    Oh, I just can’t WAIT for EL to post. This guy’s head is so far up his own ass.

  13. Michael Dempsey says

    When John from Topeka called in there were skips in the video and some of the conversation is missing. As much as I can pretty much figure out The gist of the conversation I’d like to know if the video is uploaded to another video service where the video is working properly in that part of the video. Or was this an raw film issue where it’s. PT recoverable? Thanks love your show!

  14. Monocle Smile says

    Video skips and drops a bunch of audio throughout the show, especially during the presup…will a better upload be going up?

  15. mi tortent says

    i just wish don wouldn’t chirp in, matt is asking a good question and don interrupts with a silly comment or silly laugh, and gives an out to the caller from the skewering matt is administering.

  16. Minus says

    I wish Don had let the caller tell us where the bible says god is all powerful or whatever it is he claimed. Yes, of course the bible is not an authority, but it is fascinating to see how these people interpret it and twist it around to say whatever they want it to. Bible as sock puppet. Please let them go through with their explanations.

  17. says

    I love Matt’s ability to cogently analyze and discuss arguments. It’s pretty much why I watch. He had a big challenge in this episode against those apologist weasels — not with the ideas, where he and Don absolutely trounced the weasels as usual — but with keeping his cool.

    I know I probably wouldn’t be able to keep myself from blowing up with frustration at times either when people are being so obnoxious. But I find myself feeling like the trolls have won some sort of minor victory when they get Matt to lose his cool. 🙁

  18. Joe says

    The issue of the Bible and slavery popped up again on this weeks show. A quick Google of “philemon fugitive slave law” gets you several results of interest: “A House Divided: The antebellum Slavery Debates in America, 1776-1865” edited by Mason I. Lowance, Jr., Princeton University Press, 2003. Chapter Three, “Biblial Proslavery Aruguments” 51-87. Here is a quick snippet:

    “…By making it a federal crime to harbor a fugitive slave such as Frederick Douglanss, the Fugitive Slave Law invoked the precedent of Paul’s letter to Philemon as sanction for a secular and consitutional practice. (See chapger 2, “Acts of Congress Relating to Slavery,” where the texts of both the 1793 and 1850 Fugitive Slave Laws are excerpted.) The Pauline letter to Philemon was also used by proslavery advocates to sanction slavery independent of the clear assocation with the Fugitive Slave Laws that became part of the system of laws supported by the United States Constitution during the nineteenth century…”

    And to be fair and blanced there is of course there is “Chapter Four: Biblical Antislavery Auguments” of the same book. You can get more of the same in “The Religious Defense of American Slavery Before 1830” by LR Morrison, Journal of Religious Thought, 1980 which can be downloaded via this link: The Religious Defense of American Slavery Before 1830 by LR Morrison

  19. Corey says

    When it comes to ad hominem attacks, I guess they are a one way street on the show. If Matt needs a clarification on which God I was referring to… Then I need a clarification also… Is there one God or many? If there is none at all, then his question is groundless. If Matt has an endless slew of questions and just wants to open a can of worms,,, I would be happy to take him fishing…

  20. Joseph Reynolds says

    Hey guys,
    my question isn’t in regards to this video, but rather a YT video featuring Ben Shapiro and Dennis Prager titled “Dennis Prager and Ben Shapiro talk God and Atheism”. In this video Shapiro makes an argument which i have never heard before and doesn’t make any sense to me, but i figured if anyone could address it it would be you guys..

    “if you’re a true atheist then you believe that if we had a giant computer we could feed all the information about biology and physics into the computer and i could predict down to literally the millisecond when you’re going to take the next puff on that cigar.”

  21. Yaro Kasear says

    I hate presuppositionalists. I think there’s a point where you’d just have to put your foot down and refuse to give them the time of day since they’ve already committed to throwing reason out the window in favor of circular reasoning. I found myself shouting, “Is that you, Sye?” during the last caller, since that pinhead was making the same nonsensical crap claims as Sye.

    God exists because he has to, and he has to because God exists. That’s pretty much the entirety of presup arguments.

  22. Joseph Reynolds says

    Matt touches on the Johnson Amendment and explains that while it makes it illegal to directly endorse a candidate, the loop hole is to simply guide their flock to one side of the partisan spectrum by “discussing” the issues. We all know that there are no real discussions in hierarchical institutions such as churches. groupthink is controlled from the top down. Would it be any secret who a Pastor was endorsing prior to the election if he was promoting platitudes such as “misogyny is bad”, or “we need to stand up to racism”, or ” black lives matter”. How about a Priest telling people “We need to secure our borders”, and “islamic terrorism is our biggest threat”? This means that the Johnson Amendment is nothing more than a gesture and doesn’t actually protect us from anything.

    This, to me, is a great argument against a federal government as a whole. Knowing how easy it is to influence the majority of people’s political views it is very dangerous to allow 51% of the country to rule over 49% of it. That’s a best case scenario. In reality, considering that only 50% of all citizens voted in the past election, that means that at best 26% of the population is ruling over 74% of the population. This is from where we get the saying “Democracy is Mob Rule”. This is obviously pretty dangerous.

  23. Joseph Reynolds says

    Mod you can disregard my comment #18 i just found my answers in some old AE vids. thanks.

  24. John Phillips JPD says

    When I try to download this episode from either the AXP Archive page or Youtube all I get is the small 3.1 KB text description file. For unfortunately I usually can’t watch the whole episode online, otherwise I would watch it live, but Youtube is screwed where I live for any video stream longer than a few of minutes when it goes into endless buffering. Strangely, I can download Youtube files that allow it with no problem whatever their length, which s what I normally do to watch the show. I also don’t have problems streaming from other sites, well apart from the ustream feed which also buffers much too much to be viewable.

  25. John Phillips says

    Don’t know if it was fixed since my last post or the problem was something else that sorted itself out on its own but I just managed to download it from the Archive site with no problem a short time ago this time round so thanks. Have just watched the first two callers and my only reaction so far is WTF. Do they even think about their position before they call the show or is it as someone else in this comment section posted, it appears like just another failed gotcha attempt. It reminds me of the posters who would occasionally appear briefly on Pharyngula site and then run back to brag about it on their creationist sites. Matt up to his usual standard and I must admit, personally, my preferred host is Matt with Jen, Tracie, Phil or John as co-hosts.

  26. Diademata says

    I realise this is kinda harsh but I wish Don wouldn’t be on the show. He typically just cracks jokes, laughs at them himself when no-one reacts, and interrupts real discussion to do that. Also he is really rude to theist callers without actually addressing their points.

  27. t90bb says

    hahhah..the daniel call was classic…..he makes an assertion…over and over….matt challenges him for evidence….and gets none…..and when daniel brings up kalom….hes asked if he is familiar with it….he insists he is and that it concludes with a transcendent god…lol……when asked to recite the opening premise….he runs for the hills like a screaming girl…lol……not very impressive daniel!!!……….its amazing what little theists and deists bring to the table……..

  28. Tobias says

    I think Matt meant to reference Anne Frank, not Helen Keller, around the 37-minute mark.

  29. Robert Delaney says

    “I think Matt meant to reference Anne Frank, not Helen Keller, around the 37-minute mark.”

    Yup, which is why Matt corrected himself 30 seconds later at the 37:30 mark.

  30. Net says

    Hi,
    I am newly registered member, so my apologies, for using wrong thread, but I am bit confused by the design of this blog. I have noticed that YouTube comments are disabled… okay, I have registered, and it seems to me, you cannot discuss under old episodes either… so the question is, is there around good active forum so I can post my comment in a more proper place than the most recent video? Or read on some discussion people had. I would really like a good discussion about what supernatural is or is not and I am not quite convinced by Matt answers in the video I watched.
    – Net

  31. HappyPerson says

    @19 Tobias must have commented while in the middle of watching the video. i do that sometimes for youtube vids.

  32. Paul Money says

    I am sure that Don is a very nice man who does good things, but that smug and patronising chuckle kills me. What does it contribute?

  33. Monocle Smile says

    @Corey
    You must think we’re all stupid. You’re not fooling anyone. We know you’re the same douche-ass Corey from Schenectady from years ago. Fuck off.

  34. AllmightyDerp says

    @Joseph Reynolds

    This isn’t the best place to discuss topics other than the show. Still, I’ll do my best to address Shapiro’s “argument”, such as it is.

    Shapiro believes that free will is impossible without God, therefore anyone who is an atheist must think that free will is false and that hard determinism is true. Hard determinism, especially the kind Shapiro wants to attach to atheists, is a philosophical view that all events including human beings are completely determined by external factors such as the environment. Hence the comment about a perfect computer predicting your actions from information about physics.

    Why he believes such things in the first place is anybody’s guess but those aren’t his main point. He wants to say that systems of ethics/justice operate on the principle of retributive punishment, that is “punishment because you deserve it” – and you deserve it because you caused a moral wrong out of your own free will. Therefore, he says, atheism undermines the very things that hold society together.

    While his caricature of determinism and social order are certainly incompatible, they seem detached from reality. If anything, real social and legal systems have to assume some level of determinism – that laws, rewards and punishments have some positive effects on individuals: crime deterring, corrective, reformative effects. If they also assume free will it would have to be under a compatibilist, rather than libertarian model. On the other hand, his view seems absurd and even immoral: individuals have divine free will yet they try to control and punish each other because of antiquated principles based on outrage and revenge – and somehow that leads to a stable society?

  35. Joseph Reynolds says

    @AllmightyDerp

    thank you you for that explanation you made things much more clear for me.

  36. Monocle Smile says

    @Joseph Reynolds
    I need an argument?
    The US is a constitutional republic, not a mob-rule democracy. You’re just definitively wrong when you claim 51% of the population “rules” 49%. Also, this isn’t an argument against the federal government because you’d have the same problem without it.

  37. Joseph Reynolds says

    @Monocle Smile

    The US was founded as a US constitution, but anyone who is paying attention understands that the protections the founders put in place have become more and more of an illusion. For example, nowhere is there any reference to being able to force Americans to buy health insurance or face a tax/penalty. Yet this power has been claimed by the executive and astonishingly affirmed by Congress and the Supreme Court. Because we are a constitutional republic, the mere popularity of a policy should not matter. If it is in clear violation of the limits of government and the people still want it, a Constitutional amendment is the only appropriate way to proceed. However, rather than going through this arduous process, the Constitution was in effect, ignored and the insurance mandate was allowed anyway.

    This demonstrates how there is now a great deal of unhindered flexibility in the Oval Office to impose personal views and preferences on the country, so long as 51% of the people can be convinced to vote a certain way. The other 49% on the other hand have much to be angry about and protest under this system.

  38. Joseph Reynolds says

    @Monocle Smile

    It would also be nice for you explain why the problems resulting from a large centralized federal government would still occur without the presence of a large centralized federal government, rather than just asserting it.

  39. Monocle Smile says

    @Joseph Reynolds

    For example, nowhere is there any reference to being able to force Americans to buy health insurance or face a tax/penalty. Yet this power has been claimed by the executive and astonishingly affirmed by Congress and the Supreme Court

    Oh great, another libertarian. Are we not better off as a nation doing this? Isn’t it better for the sick poor to get the care they actually need within a coherent system rather than pile up unpaid emergency room visits (thanks, W)? Furthermore, it’s pretty clear you’re not a Constitutional scholar…the Constitution is not the immovable all-encompassing body of law in this country whereupon every law and power must be explicit in full detail. No shit there’s no reference to health insurance in a fucking 240 year old document. Would you expect there to be? But times change, technology changes, society changes, and expecting Amendments upon every single little change is ludicrous.

    Because we are a constitutional republic, the mere popularity of a policy should not matter. If it is in clear violation of the limits of government and the people still want it, a Constitutional amendment is the only appropriate way to proceed

    The ACA was determined to not be in violation of the limits of government by the Supreme Court. Take it up with them, but good luck getting very far. Accusing the Court of “ignoring” the Constitution is rather rich, given the clearly conservative nature of the judges. There were actually a couple of avenues of precedent for the Supreme Court to uphold it, according to my law school buddies.

    This demonstrates how there is now a great deal of unhindered flexibility in the Oval Office to impose personal views and preferences on the country, so long as 51% of the people can be convinced to vote a certain way.

    That is abso-fucking-lutely not how the ACA got passed; federal legislation is not done through referendum. What planet are you from? You seem to have bought into some right-wing borderline conspiracy talk, as the ACA was overwhelmingly supported by the populace and given massive GOP obstructionism, it was the best that could be managed at the time. I’d love a single-payer system as well, but you should bitch at Republicans about that.

    As a final note on this point, “personal views and preferences” encompasses pretty much all of why we have laws and ethics in the first place. I can most definitely categorize my desire to not die as a “personal view and/or preference.”

    It would also be nice for you explain why the problems resulting from a large centralized federal government would still occur without the presence of a large centralized federal government

    There are these things called “state governments.” There are also these things called “local governments.” The only difference is a matter of scope. In fact, “mob rule” and “personal preference” from the highest office is significantly worse at the local government level. I’m kind of shocked that I have to explain this.

  40. Joseph Reynolds says

    @Monocle Smile

    Well, the fact that you’re referring to the ACA as a “coherent system” makes me have to ask you, what planet are YOU from? Your two options of either the ACA or the ER as the only two methods of achieving affordable healthcare is a false dichotomy. Government worshiping leftists set up this straw man in order to portray anyone who disagrees with them as people who are selfish and don’t care about the poor. The goal of helping the poor and the sick is not the issue, the method is the issue. I would say that stealing from one group of people to pay for things for another group of people is not the right method. Anyone who understand economics and history understand that the cause of rising healthcare costs and the decline of the quality of healthcare services began as a result of government intervention. As government has become more involved it has only gotten worse. It’s pretty incredible how you champion the US as a constitutional republic and then scoff at the concept of having to create a constitutional amendment in order to change the constitution.

    Now, through your tone and your language it is clear that conversing with you on this topic is going to be an exercise in futility. You’re overly emotional and you’ve got your mind made up. You believe that you are speaking from a moral high ground. You’re doing a disservice to yourself. You should really do a bit more studying of political philosophy and economics before you speak on these topics with such authority and pompousness.

    BTW, what would the ACA look like if there were no federal government to force it on all of the country? think about that for a second then you will realize that your last statement is retarded.

  41. Joseph Reynolds says

    @Monocle Smile

    I forgot to mention the most important part. You’ve said both-

    “Oh great, another libertarian”

    “the ACA was overwhelmingly supported by the populace and given massive GOP obstructionism, it was the best that could be managed at the time. I’d love a single-payer system as well, but you should bitch at Republicans about that.”

    If you assume i’m a libertarian, on what planet would it be accurate to also assume that i’m in favor of single payer HC?

  42. Monocle Smile says

    It’s a bit rich that someone who either doesn’t read or deliberately lies about my posts (I very, very clearly laid out that “ACA” and “ER visits” wasn’t a true dichotomy) and seems to think that taxation is theft to accuse someone else of being uneducated, close-minded, and overly emotional.

    The last libertarian whining about health care on this blog ended up trying to rationalize Native American genocide (become “Homestead Act,” or whatever the fuck), so I’m not exactly eager to jump down this rabbit hole again.

  43. Monocle Smile says

    It’s a bit rich for someone who either doesn’t read or deliberately lies about my posts (I very, very clearly laid out that “ACA” and “ER visits” wasn’t a true dichotomy) and seems to think that taxation is theft to accuse someone else of being uneducated, close-minded, and overly emotional.

    The last libertarian whining about health care on this blog ended up trying to rationalize Native American genocide (become “Homestead Act,” or whatever the fuck), so I’m not exactly eager to jump down this rabbit hole again.

  44. Joseph Reynolds says

    @Monocle Smile

    it’s a bit rich to even be so opinionated about things that you clearly don’t understand. You called me a libertarian and then assumed that i support single payer health care. You obviously don’t even know what a libertarian is.

    i’m not too sure what taxation being theft has to do with education, close-mindedness, or emotions. taxes aren’t paid voluntarily they are involuntary. Coercively forcing someone to involuntarily give you their money is by definition theft. Feel free to go ahead and explain how it’s not.

    healthcare is a service. services are provided by people’s labor. you do not have the right to someone else’s services. that’s called slavery.

    “The last libertarian whining about health care on this blog ended up trying to rationalize Native American genocide (become “Homestead Act,” or whatever the fuck), so I’m not exactly eager to jump down this rabbit hole again.”<<<yet another straw man argument.

  45. Monocle Smile says

    The last libertarian actually supported a single-payer system, and if you don’t support single-payer or any socialized form of health care, then you’re a-okay with poor people suffering and dying, because there’s no other real, impactful solution at the moment.

    Since you’re determined to merely shout bumper stickers and insult my intelligence while failing to understand any nuanced concept, we’re done here.

  46. Joseph Reynolds says

    @Monocle Smile

    Well then he’s just another person throwing around words that he doesn’t know the meaning to. And there you go with your appeals to emotion and character assassinations. “If you don’t support government run health care then you want poor people to die.”