1. Mak says

    You guys do an incredible job with the content but good dog you sure need help with the lighting. It’s horrible. You couldn’t do bigger disservice to your appearance than your stage lighting.

  2. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Chris reminds me of Sheldon but a lot less rigid and more pleasant, great to have him on.

  3. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Is the call header an expose of Andrew/Josh?

    I wish Chris chimed in more there, I’m rather excited to hear his “grew up atheist” perspective.

  4. Orphan Black says

    I can’t take that Josh or whatever he calls himself the next time anymore. It makes me not want to listen to the show. Maybe that’s his goal because he never says anything of substance. So aggravating.

  5. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Daniel’s type are becoming more and more common.

    Matt’s face when they got into his evolution denial in HS was priceless.

    That call was…something.

    Ivan: Hello to all the Scots!

    Yes to Chris jumping in on Ivan’s preposition, I agree in the general sense, with what he said.

    Hi, to Kris.

    Prayers are answered like a student’s wish for great grades after not studying and procrastinating with friends/themselves.

    Mmm, delicious correlation, with a side of Tracie deconstruction.

    Kris, please pray to gawd to deposit a minimum of a billion non-stolen bucks into charities that actually aren’t scams that help fight for the safety and improvement of the lives of the millions of kids in at risk situations.

    Kris is giving me cultist vibes, which is really odd, considering organized religions love to differentiate between them.

    Bye Kris, it was gud(no it was not) stay safe!

  6. Monocle Smile says

    Kris says she wasn’t raised in a Christian home, but I have a bad feeling that her home was nonetheless strict and repressive, given her rather sad state of education.

  7. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    I too woke up once with Dillahunty in my sprit, a true spirit-hunty experience due to an atheist experience binge watch.

    Mike’s call was an apt one to end on, great show today.

    Thanks to the crew and Chris for coming!

  8. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Mmm, I can see that, MS(#5.)

    The way she tap danced was very familiar to the eerie way bordered off people behave. She sounded nervous for a while too, it felt very, “I’m here to meet my preaching quota.”

  9. KiwiDaveo says

    MS (#7)

    She seemed “off” to me a well. Her whole vague visiting a “catholic church” thing did sound right to me either.
    I was brought up Catholic and my parents still are heavily involved, and have visited a heap a Catholic cathedrals/churches both before and after becoming an atheist in my mid 20s. (i have an interest in art history including religious) Its pretty much impossible that a catholic church is open for someone to just wander round seeing the missal (which isn’t just a catholic bible- it contains the whole official service rules for also every type of catholic ceremonies). As there been thefts of missals by satanists (as well as other props) they are locked out of sight when not being used in services. The idea that during a public concert or similar, a random person can find an open page and read it is unlikely. Sure there might be pamphlets with information on Catholicism with some bible quotes and contact details where you can speak to someone about joining, but the point of the Roman Catholicism is about the church providing instruction ,not individual bible study.

    I can see perhaps perhaps going to a choral recitation and being moved by the music (thats what they are designed to do) but that didn’t seem to be her story.

    She seemed to be very young and very vague. I thought it was hopeful she seemed to realize that she she didn’t have a rational reason, because thats pretty much how I moved to non-belief. I stopped believing in a literal, rational sense, but still had an emotional connection which was hard to lose.

  10. titan says

    Wow, Josh has gone from not having a good argument for his god to denying all of reality around him.

    What a terrible way to live; questioning the existence of every thing that you are experiencing in front of your face.

  11. Minus says

    Is there some reason there is no MP3 available at the archive for this show? This is seriously messing up my Monday morning gym routine.

  12. titan says

    Minus- There are some Youtube to Mp3 sites out there that can convert a video that big. It comes out to over 200mb usually.You just need to convert at home before your workout.

  13. Minus says

    Titan, yeah it’s called “listen to you tube” and I use it all the time; it’s terrific. However, AEX has been posting MP3s of their weekly show for years. I’ve been downloading them for at least seven or eight years. Today, for the first time I can remember, there is no MP3.

  14. Kenny De Metter says

    I’m interesting in buying the book ‘A better life’ , but I when I look at the price on , the shipping costs ( to Belgium ) is through the roof :

    $34.99 – Autographed book
    $49.99 – Shipping

    So the shipping is more expensive than the book.
    Is there an e-book version out there somewhere ?

    One solution I can think of is to order multiple books, and divide the shipping costs that way.
    Does anyone else live in my general area ( Belgium, Netherlands,France, Germany) , and interested in getting the book ?

  15. says

    titan @ 9:

    What a terrible way to live; questioning the existence of every thing that you are experiencing in front of your face.

    i have no doubt that, in reality (pun intended), josh does not question everything in front of his face. it’s just an ultimately desperate rhetorical tactic folk like him deploy whenever they’re asked to defend their willingness to believe whatever they want without evidence. it’s basically an attempt to shift the burden of proof. i think it was lawrence krauss who once said, to paraphrase: skeptics ask “what’s your evidence?”; theists ask “what’s evidence?”

  16. marx says

    Tracie was phenomenal!!!
    How she handled Kris’s call was brilliant!!!
    Tracie deserves to be Atheist Experience President!!!!
    You have my vote!!!!

  17. DanDare says

    Daniel failed to explain a nuance that I think I got from his call. He knows something he “believes” is not warranted. I don’t think he means “believe” but more a feeling of “it could be true”, or “would be good to be true”. Saying something is unwarranted wont change those feelings, only demonstrating it is untrue or very unlikely to be true would impact on those feelings. However they are not belief in the sense of “conviction that something is so”.

  18. DanDare says

    When Tracie lets fly she reminds me of one of the reasons I love my wife so much. They are very similar in that respect. Its great to listen to.

  19. says

    One thing I’d say about the “I believe until someone shows otherwise” is that it sabotages you. When you think you have the answer, you stop looking.

    If you think you know where your car keys are, why would you keep searching?

    That’s why it’s important to avoid the “belief” status until it can be sufficiently demonstrated. It means you’ll likely be wrong forever for who knows how many different beliefs you’re doing this with.

    That caller directly demonstrated that he doesn’t care whether his beliefs are true, no matter how much be insisted he does.

  20. Leo K says

    @Orphan Black #3
    Yeah, Josh/Alex, is starting to get on my nerves as well, seeing the he keeps calling into the show with different pseudonyms. I defended him back in April, and to some extent I still defend him now. It seems like he’s struggling with something that’s not computing with his current programming, I just wish he stopped pretending to be other people when he calls in. His tone, pitch, idioms, and speech patterns continues to betray him as you, ans may other pointed out, why put up the guise in the first place. He did sound a bit more reserved in his standard mantra compared to previous call-ins.

  21. Monocle Smile says

    @Leo K
    That dude has shown up in the chat a few times. He is not an honest caller. He is a troll, pure and simple, and deserves no defense. Matt’s gone through epistemology 101 with him twice, and it’s still the same conversation every single time. Hell, he opens with “why don’t you believe in god?” in literally every call, IIRC.

  22. Kenny De Metter says

    Regarding 49:01 , I have a bit of a problem with that, because for some things it isn’t as clear as believing/not believing.
    I’ll give an example :

    There are a number of silly superstitions I have, such believing the number 13 is bad luck
    Now, I know these are silly superstitions, and I know there is no basis for believing in them. I would never try to defend these believes or convince others to hold them.
    So in that sense, I could say I don’t really believe them.

    However, when I’m faced with say a hotel number 13, I immediately feel anxiety over it, so doesn’t that indicate that I actually do still believe it ?
    I still recognize that it’s silly and so I wouldn’t demand a different room number, but it takes me a few moments to get over it.

    So it’s like consciously I don’t believe it, but subconsciously I do still hold the belief.
    It’s like each time my conscious/rational self has to convince my subconscious/emotional self that there is no basis for the belief.

    Doing this is not entirely fruitless though, I do notice that over the years, my anxiety in those situations has decreased and it’s easier to convince myself.

  23. Monocle Smile says

    @Kenny De Metter
    It’s a bit more complex than that. Physiological responses are often not the result of conscious thought. In fact, AFAIK, most physiological responses are not. I think the back of your brain is just remembering the superstition and your body is reacting; it doesn’t mean you consciously believe it. I still get a certain feeling when I walk into a church that I don’t get anywhere else, and it’s just due to my experience, not because I believe there’s anything special about the church. Brains are weird.

  24. says


    I guess my question would be “does emotional reaction = belief?”

    I could be phobic of enclosed spaces and suffer anxiety attacks when I’m in an elevator. That in no way translates to a belief that the elevator is dangerous. It’s simply a physiological reaction that includes intense fear. But the person isn’t scared the elevator is going to break or kill them–they know it’s “safe.” They simply suffer anxiety over being in an enclosed space. It doesn’t speak to their beliefs. It’s an irrational emotional reaction not tied to beliefs at all. That’s why it’s a phobia.

    Fear of something is not necessarily–at least not in my head–evidence that the person holds it as true that the thing they fear is going to really harm them.

  25. Leo K says

    @Monocle Smile #23
    I’ve picked up on his standard intro, and seen a few of the previous shows he’s been on, and agree he’s been schooled by more than just Matt epistemology 101, but I’m still on the fence with regards with the kid being a troll. There’s better ways to kill time on a Sunday afternoon/evening, depending on where he’s actually located, and repeatedly calling in an atheist show for kicks is not one of them. This is why I suspect the kid’s going through some turmoil with his beliefs and is constantly seeking out something to convince him of whatever he needs convincing of. At least, that’s the way it come across to me.

  26. Monocle Smile says

    I do like your phobia example much better than mine, FWIW.

  27. Kenny De Metter says

    @Monocole Smile,@heicart

    Thank you, that’s an interesting way of looking at it.
    I agree, it is a lot like a phobia.

  28. Mr. Thursday says

    First off, “Josh” or whatever he calls himself is such a nuisance at this point. Second, I thought Tracie was awesome in this episode. It certainly felt more balanced an episode than some others, where the co-host is overshadowed by Matt dropping logic-bombs on callers (though I can never really complain about that). Her comments after the second-to-last call was certainly worthy of a “best of AXP” video.

  29. HappyPerson says

    first and last caller were eerily similar in that they both attribute a ‘feeling’ of god’s existence as some sort of knowledge that god exists. they just ‘know’ based on this feeling.
    specifically about the last caller, unfortunately many things just went over her head, like matt’s explanation of the post hoc fallacy and tracie’s warning that if you leave things open ended, you can interpret anything to your liking.

  30. Kyle D says

    Great Show today. There is one point that I have seen come up a lot especially when it comes to things like the neo pagan religions.

    I think that Matt would do better to look at making a distinction around the word belief.
    There is a difference between:
    1) Having been convinced that something is true
    2) Adhering to the set of ideas of a group with which you associate
    3) Acting in accordance with something being true because of some benefit

    Danial pretty much stated that he hasn’t been rationally been convinced of his “beliefs” but gets benefit from them.
    This is common of the “current world religions” like budhism rather than the ‘future salvation” religions like christianity and islam.

    Type 3 belief can certainly have its downfalls if it is not kept inside of a shell of “probably isn’t true” and instead describes something objective about the world.

    However, it is very common in certain sports, meditative practices or martial arts to use imagination to change the context of the things around you and the way that you deal with them.
    In the short term, visualising that you are like an eagle may change the way you move in a fight. Or, thinking of yourself in a lotus flower etc. when meditating.
    In a longer term, something like imagining that you have a dragon on your shoulder when dealing in business may also be a benefit to your confidence.
    The less contained it is, the more likely it is to be misused on something it wasn’t designed for and to tend towards superstition.

    The key distinction is that you are merely acting in accordance with something being true, rather than convinced of its truth. It must only effect things within the scope of the usage.

    If Matt and Tracie were to run this distinction by the Wiccan guy, I think that they would do less talking past each other.

    All these usages of belief are a “statement about the world that guides your actions”, but just calling it all belief doesn’t get you to the understanding of what someone is saying.

  31. says

    Hey Matt and other fellow panel. I’m a full blown Atheist who at one point was very miserable but also comfortable with believing in God and this man made written bible. But I came to my common senses and debunked thee entire process. I want to ask anyone who would listen. Where are all the biblical offspring of the biblical superstars and less fortunate biblical people that according to the bible, roamed thee earth? What happened to Moses and all the rest of the characters offspring family members? They should be around today, to brag about their amazing ancestors time in the bible. I’m mean, some will say that most slaves can only go back to a certain time to know their ancestors, due to separation from slavery. But the biblical characters should have a solid, long line of offspring till this day. I’m thinking the reason that we don’t see the offspring in everyday life and in sports and entertainment, is because they never existed, only in men’s minds that didn’t have much to do back then, since there were no computers and other electronics. It just doesn’t make since that know one has found not one person who was kin to any of the characters of the bible, that exist today. But let the christians and other religions tell it, we’re all offspring of the characters of the bible. That’s impossible!

  32. says

    @Dyke – There are many ancient famous people who had children, whose lineages cannot be traced to the present day. In fact, I’d say most people from 2,000 years ago can’t be confirmed as an ancestor to any present-day living person. Any such claim, I’d think would be considered highly dubious. I don’t think not having any recognizable living descendants is an argument for the nonexistence of someone, for example, like Augustus Caesar?

    In general, people who consider themselves Jews, not by conversion, but by bloodline, believe they descended from Abraham. There were 12 tribes, each descendants of the sons of Jacob.

  33. Devocate says

    There are bloodlines which trace back 2,000 years. Mostly those are for ‘nobility’ in societies that cherish their ancestors. So perhaps the question should be, “If these people existed why didn’t their ancestors cherish that relationship enough to maintain that knowledge through the generations?”

  34. ironchops says

    I believe/have a feeling that Josh is not real. He live in La-La land. I have lost a lot of bets based on feelings. I got ran over by a Toyota, oh what a feeling. Admittedly I can not say there is no g_d. I can say I want there to be a g_d and everlasting life. I can go as far as to say I have a feeling that a g_d does exist but that does not prove anything except I have wishful/hopeful thinking.

  35. ironchops says

    If you can not choose your beliefs then how can you change them? Rhetoric has convinced me in the past but not so much now.

  36. Devocate says

    “If you can not choose your beliefs then how can you change them?”

    If your beliefs on evidence and rationality, there is no choice involved. They change when evidence accumulates for some other hypothesis. If your beliefs are based on self-delusion, they can be anything, and changed at will.

  37. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @heicart #35:

    In fact, I’d say most people from 2,000 years ago can’t be confirmed as an ancestor to any present-day living person. Any such claim, I’d think would be considered highly dubious.

    Article: Adam Rutherford – So you’re related to Charlemagne? You and every other living European…

    If you’re vaguely of European extraction, you are also the fruits of Charlemagne’s prodigious loins. A fecund ruler, he sired at least 18 children by motley wives and concubines
    This is merely a numbers game. You have two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, and so on. But this ancestral expansion is not borne back ceaselessly into the past. If it were, your family tree when Charlemagne was Le Grand Fromage would harbour more than a billion ancestors – more people than were alive then. What this means is that pedigrees begin to fold in on themselves a few generations back, and become less arboreal, and more web-like.
    In 2013, geneticists Peter Ralph and Graham Coop showed that all Europeans are descended from exactly the same people. Basically, everyone alive in the ninth century who left descendants is the ancestor of every living European today, including Charlemagne
    The truth is that we all are a bit of everything, and we come from all over. If you’re white, you’re a bit Viking. And a bit Celt. And a bit Anglo-Saxon. And a bit Charlemagne.
    Each subsequent generation, the contribution from an individual from your lineage becomes less. […] Before long, you will find ancestors from whom you bear no DNA. They are your family, your blood, but their genes have been diluted out of your bloodline. Even though you are directly descended from Charlemagne, you may well carry none of his DNA.
    So what does this all mean? Ancestry is messy. Genetics is messy, but powerful. People are horny. Life is complex. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

  38. Obviated says

    Uh-oh! I see quite a few comments complaining about Alex/Josh/Trollboy. I wonder if we’ll be seeing another “This-is-what-happens-when-I-don’t-take-my-lithium” invective-filled diatribe telling one or all of us not to voice our opinions on that.

  39. says

    Yep–at some point it just becomes claims of lineage that are highly dubious.

    Can you provide examples? I’m honestly curious, because I was not aware of ancestry reliably traced that far back.

  40. Kyle D says

    “If you can not choose your beliefs then how can you change them?”

    There is something you can do. You can identify any authenticity that might stop you from seeing the evidence.
    E.g. Perhaps someone might associate atheism as being some commo, leftist, anti-american movement because of past experience. If one is aware that there is a filter to how they are listening, then it can be somewhat nullified and what people are actually saying can be heard.

    It can also be referred to as “trying something on” in order to get a different perspective.

    So, you are not directly choosing to be convinced of something, but you are removing a restriction to obtaining evidence which can then convince you.

  41. ironchops says

    Thanks Devocate and Kyle D, but I’m still confused. Trying to clarify; are you suggesting I have no choice in my g_d belief (or any other belief) but I can choose not to act on these beliefs base on good evidence (or lack of evidence in the case of g_ds or most other invisible/undetectable agent/entity and/or esoteric knowledge)? I am having trouble wording this question.

  42. Monocle Smile says

    Discrete beliefs are not discrete choices, but we can choose how we develop our guiding principles when it comes to what’s convincing. We can choose to care about what’s real rather than what feels good, for instance, and that will influence our discrete beliefs.

  43. says

    I sometimes ask “can you choose to believe you won’t die if you jump off a skyscraper?”

    We believe based on convincing evidence–but what we deem convincing evidence can vary and even change. A person who is convinced eye-witness testimony is good evidence may believe a defendant is guilty because of an eye-witness. Later, if they learn that eye-witness testimony isn’t as good as they thought, they may decide they’re no longer convinced the defendant is guilty, and require more evidence outside of the eye-witness to remain convinced or to be convinced again. But the belief follows the information. It’s not chosen regardless of the information.

    Beliefs can change–generally based on new information that challenges our basis for the belief, but they’re not a choice in the sense we alter them based on mere decision in the way we decide we want broccoli rather than carrots.

  44. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says


    I sometimes ask “can you choose to believe you won’t die if you jump off a skyscraper?”

    Yes. Yes you can believe that. And as long as you never put your faith to the test (ie jump off the skyscraper) then you can continue to believe it.

    I think I’ve heard it phrase as ‘believing in belief’. People can think it’s important to believe – so they do. It’s an incredibly un-scientific view, but there you go.

    (as always I love your work).

    – Simon

  45. Kyle D says


    To actually change something of which you are intellectually convinced requires external input. As an individual, there are things that you don’t know that you don’t know.
    So, you can have a conversation with someone of a different view and listen with the expectation that you are about to learn something new. Instead of mapping their words to what you already believe, you can try to actually get what it is like to be them. Sometimes all you learn is why they believe what they do but to me, listening without filtering is a very underrated skill and learning that you are wrong can be exhilarating.

    – Kyle

  46. Luke Crawford says

    Great show as always. For what it’s worth, it would look better without those coffee mugs. They look as big as heads on screen.

  47. Vivec says

    Tracie didn’t ask if you “can believe it”, she asked if you can “choose to believe it”

    If you end up believing that you can safely jump off a skyscraper, it’s because either your data or your reasoning is incorrect, not because of a conscious decision to believe that.

  48. phil says

    @ Dyke and Tracie (34 & 35)

    in which Tom Dykstra suggests that indeed the modern academic view is that all the patriarchs up to and possibly including David and Solomon are fictitious characters (IIRC). It’s a good read, highly recommended.

  49. phil says

    Yes, Tracie was pretty much at the top of her game. I think she is one of the best of the crew and shows more patience than Matt, which is sometimes (sometimes) a good thing. I miss Jeff Dee though, and that short guy whose name escapes me now. See what happens? If he were on more often I’d remember!

  50. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    *Martin deserted us, left us alone to suffer a cold atheist fate of godlessness.

  51. Patrice Gallant says

    Caller Mike 21.20
    Fear of stop of believing –> Hell.
    You have been thought all your life to believe in a higher ‘authority’ over your head. There is no authority over you or your spirit. You have fallen prey (like vulture would prey on you) or captured by the false teachings of old and distorters\sribers of scripture. Somewhat the strong god-current of this world. REvelation teaches you, that the lamb was slain from the foundation of the world. Have you ever thought what is that foundation ? I will give you a clue: rev 10:7.
    They teach you submissiveness (bondage) to beliefs\fictional gods that are none existent. It will take a little while before you can fully pull yourself out of the trenches of the bottomless abyss (beliefs). You and only yourself determine your destiny and to find the real truth for yourself. You have never been given freedom of thoughts and therefore you always think to debase yourself and/or decentralize from your own spirit within. Who ever thinks he\she has no spirit within, is a spiritual poverty for sure. Nevertheless in your unknowledge of your own spirit, things can falls through as seemingly being an answer to prayer.
    IN this submissiveness you cannot find yourself for the good reason that you chase away and debase yourself always and shift always your responsibilities to a higher authority. But these powerless image have not might over you. Gather your strenght and slowly but surely build yourself up on the rock (for peter’s rock was a sandy foundation) ..on the rock of truth (facts, actuality) in all things. You need to anchor yourself in reality and truth.. because that is love.. for the love of reality and truth. Why not believe ? because i love UN-belief and the great foundation of truth which is like a great forged sharp sword.
    Now whoever read the bible, there is a book called Revelation..not for nothing it’s called like this, because it is a revelation specially for christians who do not know the real name and the falsification. Everyone will not like the real prophets for out of his mouth like sharp-sword comes out who brings an end to your delusions of gods and as if like a great judgment over believers of all kinds. You have fallen for the beast (deformed deluded-godly-teachings of all kinds) where you have been led away from the truth\reality. It will feel as if you being slain by the correctional judgments for those who are against the wisdom of spirit.

  52. BradfromCO says

    Would you look at THAT!
    Brad from Colorado is back!
    This time he’s Josh.
    “I just want to know why you reject God.”
    Great Job, kiddo! See you in two weeks or so!