Open thread for episode 21.28: Tracie and Don


Don’s Topic: “The Failure of Revelation”

Also, note a few special announcements:

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Comments

  1. says

    I have been trying for weeks to get an email through to the show, have followed all the rules about sending one, have commented on these forums and the YouTube chat about said problem, still no response. I would really love to share my story with Tracie, Jen, Matt, and the others, but if I am not able to get any response after this 8th or 10th attempt at contact, I guess I will take that as a sign that I shouldn’t be sharing anything. I understand if everyone is too busy and in popular demand now, that’s pretty much the story of my life, not finding great shows or people until they are so huge they would never notice I exist… 😛

  2. Monocle Smile says

    @Bernice
    I think I would recognize your name, as it’s not very common, and I haven’t seen you post in any of the recent threads. Which ones have you posted in so I can go back and take a look?

    The show gets tons of email, and they’ve said before that it’s an insanely backlogged inbox. Just because you didn’t get a response doesn’t mean your story wasn’t read, and maybe cool it on the pity party next time.

  3. Monocle Smile says

    @Bernice
    Okay, so I found you a few threads ago saying basically the same thing. It probably took a while to get through initial moderation.

    I don’t know why you said “set up a time to call in,” because all you have to do is call the number about 20 minutes before the show starts. The number is on the AXP website along with the hosts for the next few weeks. I’m not associated with the show at all, but they give this info before all or most of the shows and have the number up the whole time.

  4. says

    “You send yourself to Hell.” This is just a sad attempt at trying to avoid assigning responsibility where it would be, if the situation were true. The fact that people are trying to avoid assigning the responsibility to the agent they feel obligated to support, and who is supposed to be actually enforcing something indicates that they have evaluated such a response as unwarranted. If someone commits armed robbery and gets sent to prison, we don’t say they sent themselves to prison. We say they were ‘sent to prison’.

    We recognize that they committed the robbery and are responsible for that. We also recognize that some collection of individuals taking part in the justice system made the decision to send them to prison as a response, and are themselves responsible for that. We would also recognize who was responsible for sending them to prison if they were sent there for some reason we considered unjustified, such as for hiccupping or for eating tomatoes. However, if someone felt obligated to support the justice system no matter what, then you would see this sort of blatant attempt to avoid assigning the responsibility to the justice system, with people arguing that the person could have chosen not to eat tomatoes.

    People would only be sending themselves to Hell if they literally took the initiative to travel there and enter of their own volition, just the same as people would only send themselves to prison if they literally travel to the prison and walk into a cell and close and lock the door on themselves of their own volition. So unless you believe that they literally do that, then assign that responsibility where it would belong. If you’re uncomfortable doing that because you evaluate sending someone to Hell for some reason or for any reason to be unjustified, then you should take that up with the agent that you think would actually be making the decision.

    Alternately, if you don’t want to assign responsibility to a god, I suppose you could argue that it’s like choosing to jump over the edge of a cliff. You could argue that gravity isn’t choosing to make you fall, but that falling is what will happen once you jump off, and that even if you aren’t directly choosing to fall, it’s just the natural consequence of jumping off a cliff. However, in making that argument, you are then denying that there actually is a god that is a thinking agent that either carries out the actions of sending people to Hell or who created the system by which people going to Hell occurs. Pick your poison.

  5. KJWalker says

    Not gonna lie.
    Kinda want to call child protective services on John.
    He made my skin crawl.

  6. Mobius says

    A soul is a spirit.

    A spirit is a soul.

    There, that should clear everything up. [/sarcasm]

  7. Bret Frost says

    The sound levels were fine this week. Well done Vern. Sadly the time management of the show is lousy. Too much time spent without making a point so the show runs overtime. I go to a doctor, I have 8 minutes to tell them my problems or I make another appointment. That is how time management works. (Look at other chat shows for guidance) I know they are ‘volunteers but the goal is to put out a professional looking show. Money is even asked for to achieve this goal. A cheap timer would achieve this. Love the new back drop. Let the flames rise.

  8. johnmaskelyne says

    Gosh, Joe was terribly impervious to any responses. I think it illustrates a completely different mindset. I actually thought the question of whether there is a greater love was interesting and didn’t have any preconceived position. So I asked myself whether or not that seemed to be true and tried to think of counter examples (very much as Tracy did with her excellent vignettes). Sadly, it was all too obvious that Joe had already decided it must be true and so just couldn’t engage with the replies. Shame.

  9. says

    @Bret – it isn’t just volunteers that do the show, but people like me who don’t usually host, but come in when called the night before during a situation where the regular host can’t make it.

    I acknowledged I could have paid better attention to the caller times, although the crew came in later, excited that the show chat during youtube streaming showed people loved the calls this week and weren’t complaining about calls going overlong, with the exception of Cade, who was only 13, and whom I did nudge along several times. I wasn’t going to be overly strict or rude with a child however.

    I also quickly cut the call on evolution, as there is not a point worth debating on an atheist podcast, just my view, with someone who has called to proclaim science supports them, as long as you are willing to throw scientific consensus in all relevant fields under the bus. That person needs to contact relevant professionals in the fields of study and convince them of his view, not hosts on an atheist program. Neither I nor Don can judge the information as well as people with requisite qualifications to do so. So, calls like that one are, on their face, dishonest. If he wanted to get to the truth, he’d be contacting evolution proponents to critique his views, not TAE.

    For the record, at dinner, we did discuss timing. I am one of the hosts who actually wouldn’t mind a timer and who has expressed it would help me, because I do get involved in the conversations, and when they are interesting, I personally could spent the whole show on one call. I get, though, that we have other callers, and my goal is not to keep them waiting on hold as long as possible. But if we have an honest theist on the line, willing to engage in civil dialog, my understanding is that’s what our audience wants to hear?

    Different hosts have different confidence levels, and not all are of my view that a timer would be useful, as they reasonably expect the privilege of managing the calls is theirs as the official host.

    We appreciate donations, but if donating is going to leave you frustrated when things don’t go exactly as you would like on the show, perhaps you aren’t the best person to be donating? I don’t say this with any lack of appreciation for whatever contributions you or anyone may have provided. However, if it leaves you with a mindset that you somehow own the show, and can dictate to the hosts, you may be someone for whom donating creates frustration, rather than a sense of positive contribution? And I sincerely don’t want people who support the show to become frustrated as a result. The solution cannot be that the show will always be everything every contributor wants it to be, and so, for some, a more practical solution may be, don’t donate, and save yourself the frustration.

  10. RogerClark0001 says

    Hey non-biologists, I saw some crap on the internet and you must refute every point or god is real!

  11. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Just look into the flames, atheists, all will be revealed in the flames.

    There’s a place called “Cut N Shoot” in Texas? Pretty kewl, Tex. Cade…has a utube, may the lucky charms be with you!

    Oh, James, just because we don’t know stuff(aka gap) doesn’t mean that your stuff(aka god) gets to fit in as a possibility. We have no reason to even posit jesus there(consciousness,) unknown doesn’t equal everything/anything can fit. It’s common rhetoric for shoehorners.

    The pantheist thing came from your “collective consciousness” spiel, it’s common for some pantheists to say we’re conscious, therefore the universe is conscious(cuz we’re a part of it) and thus it’s all conscious(collective consciousness) therefore this is god. You might be borrowing their rhetoric without knowing though.

    Don, you might like to take your food “as it is” but theism likes some seasoning in there, a dash of salt “sinners die”, some sugar “I love you and we can hang in paradise!”, some pepper “Burn in hell!” etc.

    I’m glad Joe didn’t take long to “opinioning” I was not emotionally ready for a drawn out feels train. god can’t be love cuz it annoys me daily, I mean, “metaphysical?” I need my pills. Food is love, particularly homemade potato pie, when god gets that lovely, call me.

    So in order to soul, you need to be able to moral, not just empathize…that’s somehwhat new to me. Usually it’s just life of god’s favorites(us of course, who else!) = soul.

    Ah, Joe’s superiority(“we’re higher than the other animals”) complex rears it’s head, funny how god belief tends to align with humans >>> everybody else belief. Each of these people have this “oooou, we’re so above the lesser lifeforms” tint. I wish god instilled some humble in the human pool of highness.

    Joe gish-galloped like a true believer would. I could almost hear him say, “You’ll never catch me alive, copers!”

    asdfghjkl he walked right into Don’s wall. “No, I, ugh” I almost yelped. Oh, Joe. *wipes eyes*

    l’ll pocket Tracie’s, “Why do you get snacks for that?”

    He did not say, “LoOk At tHe SuFfErInG!1!1!” I think that rats, even in their “lowliness” wouldn’t say that. Joe, apologize to rats right now!

    Classes of theists have a kink for suffering, from jesus to those afflicted with perpetual pain, “Keep them there, there’s a virtue in that/It builds character!/Life is over when god says it” type of attitude to pain, I guess love hurts in that sense for them?

    A plan/A fuck up(I love it)…choose one!

    Joe with the mind-control picktooth of straw. J, this is not going in jesus’ favor, the guy is his own achilles’ heel. Jesus the victim of self, I bet he’s a fan of Gone Girl(the book, not the movie.)

    I won’t lie, I enjoyed this segment.

    Atheist x Theist couples never seem to go, “Hmm, maybe we should hash out this god stuff before we reproduce, perhaps?” But that’s common for a lot of couples(yes, I wasted your time.)

    John seems like a non-blockhead bloke, honest too. The future bodes well for the youngling.

    True, “purpose” is usually just “I beieve that such and such has a good future ahead of them” kinda thing, even if said person has a bad rub(drugs and or prison) them being rehabilitated/not is god’s will for them to be an example to others.

    Oh, Tracie just took the gloves off, “Does your god have a torture tint?”

    Ah, kewl, he’s already instilled in the apologetics art. I see a crimple in the child’s upbringing. I mean, being okay with a torture god is going to affect how you go about viewing your child’s actions, with the whole, “You send her to hell” depending on how she turns out(theist/atheist.)

    Damn, not, “You’re terrorizing your daughter” wooo! I love the bluntness. You love your kid yet you think her actions(once god disapproves of them(and there’s a lot of actions that women can take that god will have a problem with) means that said god gets the go ahead to fuck with your kid really wouldn’t jive with any atheist with a graze of humanism/feminism in there.

    god priveledge is repulsive, that fool gets to dance around in the blood of everyone and nobody tries to bat his ass into oblivion?!

    This is the reason that atheists push theists on their god belief, it’s rarely ever a, “Oh, yeah my god is not gonna roast you for sinning, do you” it’s always, “You brought it on yourself, though I think the punishment doesn’t fit the crime(If they’re screwed on correctly) but they’re god, so tough cookies.” Their theism always comes with a passive take on god’s tyranny.

    John is a common parent too, decent outside of god-stuff, not many parents run around finding eternal torture for lying okay without god involved. It’s very adrenaline inducing watching in from the outside as theist parents rationalize their “god can abuse my kid” thing.

    John, I hope so very hard that you get the necessary lightbulb appearance that pulls you away from your current position and fast.

    Okay, Ron, AfI is very common among ID people. It was so hard to not mute him on that “information” shit. I giggled when he came for you both on the, “Can’t talk to me about evo?” point. I highly doubt that Ron from Chicago is about to cut evolution’s ass and lay down the ID law on the fucking axp. I mean, even if he confuzzles two atheist non-biologists on the net, he’s done nothing to brag about.

    Ron, please, please, please get to amassing your evidence and in the approved “garbage in, garbage out” way dismantle evolution theory and put those snotty scientists in their place. I hope that running to innanet atheists is at the bottom of the totem pole/a single task as you take on this endeavor.

    Ron, evolution only leads you away from kristinnanity if your gawd belief hinges on the intelligent creation of life, not whether the diversity of life has an intelligent origin. Two separate things(for the rational, I mean.) Hence the kristians who believe in evolution theory while holding a gawd belief(several biologists are christian after all.)

    Ron, you come off as rather bothered today, are you calling in off of being triggered?

    asdfghjkl he said that Tracie was making “ignorant” statements….based on science. Ron is my new favorite for this show.

    Ah, jeez, he pulled the renowned, “Science has been wrong” class “S” card. I thought he had a a problem with AfI, considering he just used, “Science has been wrong so ID can be true!”

    Poor, Ram. Is this common Ram from past calls?

    Wow, wow, what the hell?! The heck did you come from Tristan?! One of the few non-“the muslims are shaking the table” people I’ve heard from in a minute.

    Athiests have taken up this mantle of “getting islam” and it’s partly due to the “atheists let islam go free” strawman of the religious bodies in power(usually right leaning) that has taken root in the “community” and it’s finally bearing fruit now. It’s all very reactionary and mostly elementary “us vs them” thing, I scoffed at it years ago but it’s gotten worse. Any place I go, the atheists go out of their way to target Islam in discussions, not in the “oh, this is pretty shitty” sense but in the “they’re lower than us/we’re superior to them” sense, the framing of it has become even more vulgar thanks to trolls and white supremacists coming into the vocal fold. I’m not talking about the foolish and foul “oh they’re r-tards!” juvenile thing a lot of atheists suffer from but the dehumanising and virulent “they’re beasts” mindsets. So much for “rational, athiests r rational.”

    I don’t mind religion bashing(as far as “your gawd is pretty shit”) but attacking the followers that are majority non-dirtbags isn’t the goal here, that is, outside of the “stop standing so close to the wall, I’m painting” quarrel.

    Issa no from me on the solipsism thing.

    A great big thanks to the hosts and bts crew! Always a pleasure.

  12. DanDare says

    All things dull and ugly,
    All creatures short and squat,
    All things rude and nasty,
    The Lord God made the lot.
    Each little snake that poisons,
    Each little wasp that stings,
    He made their brutish venom.
    He made their horrid wings.

    All things sick and cancerous,
    All evil great and small,
    All things foul and dangerous,
    The Lord God made them all.

    Each nasty little hornet,
    Each beastly little squid
    Who made the spikey urchin?
    Who made the sharks? He did!

    All things scabbed and ulcerous,
    All pox both great and small,
    Putrid, foul and gangrenous,
    The Lord God made them all.

    Songwriters
    JONES, TREVOR PKA JOHN DU PREZ/IDLE, ERIC

    Published by
    Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

  13. Leo K says

    @ Bret Frost #9
    I agree, some of the host of this show offer WAY too much time to the caller to parakeet lines they been told or picked up on CBN, I tend to tune this callers out. The hosts also offer way too much leniency towards callers who have been tagged as being “trolls” by the moderator(s). And as frustrating is is to see this play out on YouTube, it must be even more frustrating for the callers who want to have a genuine conversation with the hosts, only to be told to try again next week. It’s not uncommon to hear someone say they been trying to get through for weeks. In defense of this week’s hosts, they did try to reign in the first caller after he began to ramble on a bit.

    I like your idea of a “shot clock” of sorts for callers, you get X-minutes to make your case, otherwise, we’re moving on. If the conversation seems to be a fruitful one, then the hosts can choose to extend the call up to the point where they believe the caller’s original question was answered.

    @heicart #11
    The timer doesn’t have to be visible towards the audience, but something the hosts can reference. Something simple, but highly visible, that provides the hosts a visual reference to the length of time they spent on a call/topic. It doesn’t have to dictate how much time is allotted per caller/topic, but can provide a handy reminder that time is being wasted on a useless caller/topic. Doing this will ensure that honest theist have time to have a fruitful conversation, instead of being rushed through to make their point because the show has run out of time.

  14. Leo K says

    @Caller Joe – For the love of god… (all pun intended) …get to the point, after +30 minutes, I have no idea what our original point was.

    @Caller John #1 – Yes, there is no ultimate predefined purpose to life, it’s up to you to decide what purpose you want you life to have. Just don’t torture your child with with beliefs, let the kid decide what her purpose in life is.
    @Hosts in dealing with John – I thought you guys handled this caller very appropriately, and liked your Bart D. Ehrman reference. I haven’t read any of his book, but I have digested a few of his lectures posted on YouTube, and found his content very interesting and informative.

    @Caller Ron – I defer to Chancellor’s comment (#13) on this one, I have no additional thought on the topics brought up.

  15. gshelley says

    Even after so many years, there are still people who surprise me. They guy who seemed to agree that Jesus being sacrificed was part of God’s plan, and even that it was so from the beginning of the universe, but who had never realized that meant God intended for Judas to betray him and the Sanhedrin to convict him was one. The idea of what free will really means if God made all your choices for you when he created the universe, is such a common one, that it is surprising to see someone who hasn’t considered it.
    And even if you fall on the “you still have free will, even if there is only one possible outcome. You just get to choose it” side, you must have to never questioned your beliefs, or asked yourself what it would mean if they were true, to immediately jump to “oh, so Jesus was using mind control” when someone points out that he set things up for that outcome.

  16. Murat says

    The talk with Joe from PA was the best part of this episode. I adore both Tracie and Don, and the points they made on that one were faboulous as usual.

    However, I have one particular problem with the way Tracie questions callers about what a “soul” means: Ok, I get it, part of the deal is to make the other side put to test the very definitions of the terms they are using, to trigger something, to lead the communication to wherever it best belongs.

    But, regardless to the fact that many callers (including Joe) fail to explain well, there IS a definition to what a soul is, one that is even registered by people who are not “spiritual” at all, one that is quite practical, one that Tracie had to be familiar with both in her Christian days AND after her deconversion.

    A soul is the invisible and undetectable features of a human being. If one has commited murder, has confesed that to none and is now experiencing remorse, regret, pain etc. over this, well, you can practically talk about a “troubled soul”.

    This, in no way, means that the very THOUGHTS generated in the BRAIN (a physical part of the body, the engine, something that can be examined) are NOT the source to that “feeling”, but yes, this is exactly the kind of “invisible feature” people practically label as a “soul”.

    Much as I usually appreciate the outcome of such questionings, I sometimes get the feeling that callers, when asked this, get confused more on lingual aspects of their self-expression than on the validity of their beliefs on a soul being “what remains of us after the body dies”.

    The word “soul” does have a meaning, it’s not gibberish. What should be in question is whether a “soul” is what many religions claim to survive after the body.

    I think the shortcut to avoid the pattern is to practically ask callers HOW they know the “soul” to outlive the only visible, testable, physical feature of our existence, which is the “body”.

  17. Monocle Smile says

    @heicart
    I, for one, was fine with your time management on this show. Part of why people like Bret Frost get upset about it is 1) whining from the peanut gallery is their defining trait and 2) they think there are other, more productive theists on the line. But we as an audience have no clue who’s on the line, so I trust the hosts’ judgment instead.

  18. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat
    That reads like nonsense.

    A soul is the invisible and undetectable features of a human being

    Does not appear to exist. In fact, this appears to be incoherent because you have put elements of two apparently mutually exclusive sets in the same definition. “Has a meaning” doesn’t mean “not incoherent garbage.”

    This, in no way, means that the very THOUGHTS generated in the BRAIN (a physical part of the body, the engine, something that can be examined) are NOT the source to that “feeling”, but yes, this is exactly the kind of “invisible feature” people practically label as a “soul”.

    Maybe we should stop letting people use woo language and instead talk in terms of things that we do in fact understand and that do in fact exist. I’m perfectly fine with Tracie bringing discussions out of woo-speak.

    Much as I usually appreciate the outcome of such questionings, I sometimes get the feeling that callers, when asked this, get confused more on lingual aspects of their self-expression than on the validity of their beliefs on a soul being “what remains of us after the body dies”.

    Maybe they should stop thinking poorly, then. I fail to see how the caller’s problem is the fault of the hosts. Tracie in particular is great at asking the right question, and if the caller fumbles and gets baffled, that is the CALLER’s problem, not Tracie’s.

  19. StonedRanger says

    @Murat 19
    If the soul is invisible and undetectable, then how do you know what it is? How do you detect the undetectable? This is why Tracie and many other atheist/non believers don’t understand what they are talking about. It comes out to me as gibberish. This is the same reason the hosts frequently have to ask the question ‘how do you know’? The word ‘soul’ may have a dictionary definition, but it is meaningless if it talks about something that is undetectable and invisible that remains after the body dies. If you cant detect it, then you are just making stuff up when you try to talk about it, that is the point that the hosts were trying to make and get the caller to understand.

  20. Murat says

    Maybe we should stop letting people use woo language…

    What you call “woo language” is part of daliy, living, normal language. Try sending an “S.O.B.” signal when sinking, and you’ll get it.
    *
    *
    *
    (The final S there stands for “soul” whereas it’s the “body” that’s in danger. Nothing to do about it. That’s how languages get formed, how they are applied to real life. Words have usages, not intrinsic meaning.)

  21. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat

    What you call “woo language” is part of daliy, living, normal language.

    It’s a commonly used ball of nonsense that is either a synonym for “person” (can be reduced to physical items and processes) OR a referent for something that doesn’t exist. There are a number of these, and it would be better if we work to push toward talking about reality rather than fantasy, which is why Tracie asks questions. I don’t see what’s so terrible about asking questions just because the person being questioned is a poor thinker.

  22. gshelley says

    @Murat19
    “A soul is the invisible and undetectable features of a human being.”
    Sure, but what does that mean?
    What are these invisible and undetectable features and if they are indivisible and undetectable, how do we know what they are? Does the soul have anything to do with personality, memories, sensory experiences? Is it involved in decision making? you might find a dozen people who agree with the initial statement, but who all have different ideas about what that actually means

  23. Monocle Smile says

    Joe’s just babbling.
    “Love is metaphysical.” Three words and it’s already word salad.
    Then the dualism crap. It’s just like all the Catholic theology that explains nonsense in terms of other nonsense. It’s sophistry. It’s just words on a page and nothing more.

    “I don’t even think theologians can define a soul”
    THIS is the most telling thing. Theologians don’t know shit about shit except what other theologians have pulled from their ass in the past. If a soul is going to be discovered and identified, it’s going to be by science.

    Anyone else not surprised that Joe knows fuck all about animal ethics and the state of that field of science?

    Tracie’s question about brain-damaged people exposed Joe’s bullshit entirely. That was the end of the call for me. Joe has spent zero time educating himself on these matters.

    WTF is Joe even talking about with the sacrifice garbage? I’ve heard a number of religious apologists claim that only believers can truly engage in self-sacrifice, but it’s one of the most baffling claims out there.

  24. Monocle Smile says

    Wow, Joe. There was no self-sacrifice before Jesus? That was a “novel” idea? What in the fuck are you talking about? What is wrong with you? Too many things, apparently.

  25. Monocle Smile says

    And of course, a godbot who doesn’t understand free will. Color me surprised.

  26. Monocle Smile says

    Poor John’s fiancee. She can likely do so much better.
    Is it just me, or does John does not sound ready to be a parent? I speak as someone who is woefully unprepared to be a parent, so I have experience in this field 😛

    TrueEmpiricism acting like a clown again. This has been the show of “not surprise.”

  27. Monocle Smile says

    I should clarify that last post, because it sounds unnecessarily judgmental.
    Life comes at us fast and shit happens, so I’m not going to talk smack about John having a child with a fiancee despite them clearly having differing parental views. However, it’s a bit off-putting that the kid is already 2 and it doesn’t seem like they’ve even discussed these issues, let alone made progress, unless John is just not related the talks they’ve already had.

  28. says

    My reaction to John was much along the lines of Monocle Smile’s last comment. This is a conversation that he should be having with his fiancee, not Traci and Don. And the time to have it was before they had a child together. If he is calling an atheist show now, instead of talking with his fiancee before, that does not speak well for the relationship.

    I would have liked for the discussion on the show to have included the problems that they will be facing with things like how much participation the daughter will have in dad’s religious rituals. Does he expect to be sending her to Sunday School, and Vacation Bible School, and church camps, and confirmation classes, and does his fiancee have problems with this? Does he have any objection if her mother sends her to Camp Quest, or other secular kids activities? Does he have a strongly religious family that expects to have influence in these decisions? These are issues that are best tackled now, before the daughter is old enough to be confused and frustrated by parents arguing over these issues.

    I hope John will read some Ehrman, have some serious talks with his fiancee, and then call back with an update.

  29. ironchops says

    Yet another episode and still no proof for god’s existence, go figure.

    Don’s failures are getting old. Groups that are touting to be all secular have failures too. I have tried out 3 atheist meet-ups in my area and they weren’t too good to me, meaning I just can’t find a place to fit in. The first one was mislabeled as a free thought/atheist group but actually was a homosexual meat market and since I am not a homosexual looking for a mate I just can’t relate. Add to that there was no structure, no announcements for fund raising or fun family type activities and in spite of trying to introduce myself sat mostly by myself. The other 2 were more fun but had no goals other than to have an excuse to drink all night (get full of spirits). The leader of the 3rd one just got convicted for sexual abuse to his own children and will be in prison for 17 years. The group fell apart.

    To all theists, what is so uncomfortable to understand that we are simply mere accidents of natural events and have absolutely no divine purposes what so ever to exist. What you were before you were born is what you will be after you die which is nothing, dirt, fertilizer for the next evolved animals, or maybe fuel for some advanced civilization in the distant future. Just make the best of it.

    Mice are much dumber than rats evidently. One mouse gets caught in a snap trap and the other mouse eats the first one. After that the little glutton gets caught in the second trap with the fur form the first mouse still in his mouth. No soul. No reason. No morality. Just a pre-programed living accident.

  30. Mattmon666 says

    The complaint that they spend too much time on individual calls is definitely a valid criticism. I don’t complain though. If it gets too bad, and I keep thinking they need to end the call, I just reach for my keyboard and press the “jump forward one minute” hotkey. Problem solved.

  31. Monocle Smile says

    @ironchops
    Sounds like you maybe needed to do quite a bit more investigation into those groups before diving in. Note that the “failures” of those groups weren’t necessarily failures apart from the leader of the third group and none of the issues you had were systemic or due to “secularism.”

    Don’s failure series is largely about exposing how forms of Christianity foster problems that fly in the face of their advocacy. It’s important to understand the real effects of what happens under the influence of the church, not just what they claim happens.

  32. says

    Joe’s whole blarg about John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,” was built on a straw man, namely, that soldiers in battle sacrifice themselves to protect their comrades out of “love.”

    There may be “love” involved, but there are so many other emotions and motives that can influence someone to undertake this heroic behavior that it’s just horseshit to pretend it’s all about “love.”

    For example: Soldiers and Marines are trained to accomplish their missions; adrenaline; personal ethics; a sense of duty; and so on.

    My grandfather, killed in World War II, posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his self-sacrificing actions in the Battle of Tarawa, November 1943. He was, in life, a man of action who was never satisfied to hang back, sit still, take the desk job; he needed and wanted to pursue action in all facets of his life, and his final deeds on Nov 22, 1943 were very much in line with his adventurous character. If I had to guess, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had ADHD.

    We don’t, and can’t, know exactly what was in his head when he sacrificed his life for the good of his mission (other Marines who were part of the operation noted that he didn’t *have* to do what he did, and that the objective would have been met one way or another). “Love” for his fellow Marines may have been part of it. But it’s just as likely, based on his letters home, that he was driven by his hope and belief that after Tarawa, he would get to go home and see his wife and children for Christmas, and he was just doing his part to get the fighting overwith.

    My book about his story, “Bones of My Grandfather: Reclaiming a Lost Hero of WWII,” will be published by Skyhorse Publishing in 2018.

  33. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    John sounded young to me but my hearing kinda sucks so idk.

    I initially thought that they wouldn’t have much problems but as Tracie went below the surface, it produced things I found unsettling. His being well acquianted with the bob and weave maneuvers that many apologists employ means that this is going to go on for a while. I do believe that since he believes in hell that he’ll try to thwart any approach that would lead away from jesus specifically, I do see a possibility away from that mindset though, if he’s young then the emotional couplings can be undone without too much backlash. I highly doubt he believes for any reason devoid of the usual “faith”/”I saw a spirit”/”I think morals come from god” stuff.

    I don’t fault any of these unprepared parents for not doing the fine tooth combing, considering I had that relaxed approach to relationships until a year or two ago. Even in interfaith relationships the parents seem to rarely engage in a “what about the kid/s” discussion of upbringing in terms of religion.

    I did not recognize TE, I thank my brain for saving me any extra annoyance by his appearance.

    Joe was truly a doozy though, I didn’t expect it as I had conjured up a “happy-go-lucky believer in jesus!” image of him based on his voice and temperament. My bias fails me again.

  34. Yos8 says

    It’s so nice when Tracie’s on. I’ve come to the conclusion that she is probably the best host on the show. (I guess, second to Matt, who I believe is not just a great host, but a uniquely special, important mind of our generation. And… in general, a superlative individual who we should all just be taking lessons from.)

    She’s so good at navigating the calls and also keeping Don in check. In the past I’ve been hard on Don, namely because I find his “failures” series to be a almost completely a practice of pure naval gazing. And because he’s always chortling at his own comments in a way I find off-putting. But he’s got some pretty good insights every now and again if he has someone like Tracie there just keeping him from distracting the conversation.

    Enjoyed this episode!

  35. RationalismRules says

    @Murat #18
    Tracie’s question isn’t primarily about getting callers to self-examine, it’s because there is no point in attempting to discuss something unless there is common understanding from which to build a discussion, and ‘soul’ is an extraordinarily ill-defined concept. (Compare it with ‘god’, which, although also a supernatural concept, is comparatively well-defined. It tends to get a request for clarification “which god?” rather than the fundamental question “what is a god?”)

    The evidence for this is that everyone who tries to answer “what is a soul?” struggles with it. (Yes, ‘everyone’ is a big claim, but I challenge you to find a single AXP caller who readily launches into a coherent explanation when asked this question).
    Your own effort, which you appear to be claiming as some universally accepted definition (on what basis?), is a good demonstration of this, because it is effectively meaningless. “The invisible and undetectable features of a human being.” is simply an aggregation of unknowns. Even the god-of-the-gaps argument has a concept of a ‘god’ to which all the unknowns are then attributed. Your definition doesn’t even have that central concept – all you’ve got are the gaps.
     
    Regarding SOS:
    1. SOS was developed for its Morse configuration, not as an acronym.
    2. The ‘souls’ referred to in context of ships/planes (ie. those in the ‘save our souls’ post-hoc acronym) is not a spiritual reference, it is simply a term for living human persons.

  36. ironchops says

    Hi MS-To be fair the same happened as I probed churches trying to find a church home. I have had equally bad experiences at some of the wall small congregation type (independent) churches. Some of them are just plain stupid/crazy! There is only just so few advertised secular/atheist gatherings around here. If I just need an excuse to drink then I could join any local Moose Lodge type thingy.

    I totally get what Don is doing but If (and most likely) there is no god than we (humans/humanity) are to blame for the lion’s share of our and nature’s sufferings, minus natural illnesses, health conditions, deformities or natural environmental disasters and predation (probably which are minimal), correct? That means to me that all man made institutions, cultures, cliques, gangs and societies have similar problems and failures. If it isn’t religion/superstition than just pick some other dogmatic belief/rules/way of thinking and you will find problems. I just wish Don could change the failure topic to a more positive topic for discussion.

  37. Monocle Smile says

    @ironchops

    That means to me that all man made institutions, cultures, cliques, gangs and societies have similar problems and failures

    I will be bold and say confidently that the failures of religious institutions are far and away the most hypocritical and insidious and have also harmed the most people by a long shot. I don’t give a shit about the implied appeal to relative privation; the show is called “The Atheist Experience” and religion has been a destructive force for our entire history and gotten away with it for the most part, so pointing this out is a valuable exercise.

    If it isn’t religion/superstition than just pick some other dogmatic belief/rules/way of thinking and you will find problems

    Lolwut? it’s not like there are a ton of options outside of religion or things like religion. This is also irrelevant. At no point has anyone ever suggested that only religion has failures.

  38. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    And even if you fall on the “you still have free will, even if there is only one possible outcome. You just get to choose it” side, you must have to never questioned your beliefs, or asked yourself what it would mean if they were true, to immediately jump to “oh, so Jesus was using mind control” when someone points out that he set things up for that outcome.

    I’m a strong atheist: I confidently assert that there are no gods.
    I’m also a compatibilist. Determinism might be true, and if determinism is true then there is only one possible way that I will think and act in the future, and yet I also still have free will.
    If there is a god, and I’m pretty sure that there’s not, but if there is, and if it can perfectly predict the future, then it can perfectly predict all of my choices, but I still can have free will.

    This position requires fixing your understanding of what it means to make a choice.

  39. Monocle Smile says

    @EL
    True, but the caller, and religious people in general, are almost always talking about libertarian free will because their understanding of how the concepts of determinism, omniscience, “free will,” etc. relate to each other is sloppy at best.

  40. RationalismRules says

    @EL #42

    This position requires *changing* your understanding of what it means to make a choice.

    There, fixed it for you.

  41. ironchops says

    @MS-Fair enough. It’s easy to point out fault in religions. What goes around comes around. Religions point out atheist’s faults (falsely of course) as well. Let’s all just stay polarized, that always helps getting things done.

    When you say “religion” are you referring to organized religion (some 40,000 year history, maybe?) or our (Homo sapiens) entire 240,000+ year history. When, in your opinion did religion begin? And when you say “religion” are you also referring to other superstitious fallacious ideas or beliefs?

  42. Monocle Smile says

    @ironchops

    It’s easy to point out fault in religions. What goes around comes around. Religions point out atheist’s faults (falsely of course) as well. Let’s all just stay polarized, that always helps getting things done.

    What are you talking about? Oh, I suppose we should just let religions do whatever the fuck they want and say nothing? Fuck the kum-ba-yah bullshit. AronRa has a fantastic talk called “Religion Reverses Everything” that you should probably watch. It’s related to the reason Don does his failure series. These aren’t just failures…they are failures that christianity claims to not have.

    When you say “religion” are you referring to organized religion (some 40,000 year history, maybe?) or our (Homo sapiens) entire 240,000+ year history

    Doesn’t matter. Don’t really care. Irrelevant to my point. Let’s say “the dawn of human civilization” if that makes you feel better.

  43. says

    First, just a quick comment on Murat’s comment @18, where they said the following:

    This, in no way, means that the very THOUGHTS generated in the BRAIN (a physical part of the body, the engine, something that can be examined) are NOT the source to that “feeling”, but yes, this is exactly the kind of “invisible feature” people practically label as a “soul”.

    I find that to be awfully generous! I once had a Catholic coworker who was absolutely not talking merely about brain function when she would speak of a “soul.” This will be similar to what others have already pointed out, but people will likely end up talking around and over each other if one person has this thought of a “soul” as just brain functionality and another thinks it is something else entirely. That is why it is important to hash these terms out; there needs to be agreement on what is being discussed in order to truly reach agreement or disagreement.

    Otherwise, I wanted to share my thoughts on Joe. As with at least one other commenter, I, too, could not fully figure out where he was going with what he was saying. I thought he was trying to go down a path of “Humans are willing to die to protect other humans. No other animal does this! Therefore, god.” It could be that he was just never able to complete his point because Tracie, rightfully, cut him off at every turn, essentially calling out “bullshit” on his evidence for what was potentially his main premise.

    I’ll also make a quick comment on ironchops’ comment back @32: Sure, atheist groups do indeed have problems. I’ve left a number of atheist groups because, simply put, they were not humanist groups and I personally don’t put much value in groups that don’t support humanism. But, as far as Don’s failure series goes, Don is often pointing out fundamental problems with religion. The same cannot be said about atheism because it really has no foundation…which may be the one and only “failure” of atheism and is also why I now look more for humanist groups vs. atheist groups — the former at least has a bit more of a foundation to start from.

  44. ironchops says

    MS-I have watched many of AronRa’s videos (I think I saw that one but I will search it out for review) and I like them. They have helped me immensely.
    I fully get your point. I can agree that trying to quantify how much harm was caused by religion vs harm caused by all the other reasons (greed, power or just simple differences) is irrelevant but you mentioned it.
    You go about this your way and I will go about it my way. We will have at least a 2 prong approach to this topic.

  45. ironchops says

    @47 Leo-True that, lack of unity and foundation. I will try looking for humanist groups instead. Thanks for the input.

    It’s a little funny I still attend church for the social aspect and have all but come out atheist to my SS class. Still a little too scared for that much honesty. I’m working up the courage. We have some pretty deep discussions on this topic and I point out my skepticism a lot. They are a rather open minded group.

  46. says

    July 17, 2017 at 3:11 am
    Bret Frost says
    The sound levels were fine this week. Well done Vern.

    Thanks! 🙂 One interesting attribute of running sound- no seems to notices you unless something goes wrong. 😉

    A cheap timer would achieve this.

    This is doable. 🙂 I’ll talk to THE AMAZING AND TALENTED MARK VANDEBRAKE about making something available for hosts to use if they would like it. A simple kitchen timer would even work in a pinch.

    Love the new back drop

    That was Tracie’s idea- brought to fruition by THE AMAZING AND TALENTED MARK VANDEBRAKE! 🙂

    Vern


    Vern Graner
    Sound Engineer for
    The Atheist Experience Internet TV Show
    The Non Prophets Podcast
    Proud member of the Atheist Community of Austin

  47. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Monocle Smile
    No, I think I like the word “fixing” more than “changing” in this context. Lol.

  48. KK_Me says

    I love Tracie! She always makes excellent points, I like her way of inquiry and the examples are thought provoking and elegant. The dice in a jar is one example I always have on standby. Also I really enjoyed the (now old) Batman Begins analysis and would like more content like that.
    On the other hand Don’s failures I could do without. Even if he makes good points it seems like a bit of a strawman. Don generally rather derails the conversation when he tries to be witty or chases a ‘gotcha!’, which I have grown to be frustrated with. In this episode there were again several times where the host had to get the conversation back on track because Don brings new stuff in that allows the caller to derail the conversation before the host could lead them to the main point of her argument.
    In the past year Don came across as someone who just wants to make some clever points and then speed away, instead of taking part in a two way conversation. I thank him for all he has done for the show, but I wouldn’t be crushed if he left the co-host seat. I’m sorry.

  49. Murat says

    @MS #24 @gshelley #25 @RR #39

    I’ve been watching the show for almost 4 years. What attracts me most about it is the way the hosts deal with certain issues in a non-aggressive way, putting the callers on tracks they have probably not been on before.

    Just like many successful shows (of whichever kind) AXP also makes use of “patterns”, a.k.a. “formulas that work”. Hosts have signature questions, catchphrases, etc. It’s enjoyable to hear Matt go “No, no, no, you’re done!” just as it gives a certain kind of pleasure to hear Tracie ask “But what IS a soul?”, or, witness Matt ending a conversation after the caller says he doesn’t really care if his beliefs are true or not.

    I understand and appreciate such turning points in the conversations, and I admit that they work almost all of the time… But not always.

    There are times that I get the feeling that, for the sake of putting the caller on one track that we know will make him have to face some facts, some other probable tracks are being missed out.

    I’m totally okay with the “questioning” process as it is the only thing likely to cause confrontations. But the nature (or, wording) of the “question” matters.

    There was this episode from a few years back, where Tracie and Jen were talking to a guy about miracles. The hosts approached the claim of a “miracle” from every possible aspect till the caller simply had to come to terms with the sloppy way he was using the term. (Winning a lottery isn’t a miracle, nor can we say that for rats who survive cancer, but then what exactly is it? – Awesome piece of conversation)

    There is a fine line between making the caller question his beliefs and causing him to suspect if there is some sort of a “language barrier” between him and the hosts.

    Generically, when the caller says to believe in God, the follow-up question is “Which God?” and not “But what IS a god?” The first will make him elaborate, whereas the latter is likely to cause alienation, which I don’t believe to be reproductive, at least not in the way AXP is known to provide a platform for such talks.

    I differ with RR on the grounds that “god” and “soul” carry different levels of ambiguity. They are both unproven, most likely to be unreal, yet, embedded in culture(s) for long enough that we are familiar with what they “signify” for both their believers AND others.

    There are words for real, solid, well-defined things, just like there are words for ambiguous, imaginary, unreal things. But there is no actual border of perception between our undertandings of situations when these words are used.

    Example 1:
    – I believe that, DOG is the best companion for a human being.
    – But what IS a dog?

    Êxample 2:
    – What? You expect me to climb that wall with my bare hands? I’m no Spider-Man, dude!
    – Huh? What IS a spiderman?

    Example 3:
    – I have no doubt that we all have souls.
    – But what IS a soul?

    Only in the very first example, the point of reference is a solid, visible, proven, factual, real thing. Yet, in all three of them, we all understand perfectly well what the first side’s position is. The wording of the question makes it look like there are two different levels of ambiguity; the first with the point of reference itself, the second with the “clarity” of the term.

    However, there is one and only one level of conflict between the two sides, and it is about having a belief in an unprovable thing or not.

    In the first example, the wording of the question is visibly off course.

    So is it in the second.

    You guys seem to claim that the third differs due to the ambiguity of what a soul is, but I think otherwise. With regards to being (or not being) on the same page with the caller, they are all the same. The caller is very likely to be taken aback when asked THAT particular question. But I don’t think this is because he will turn inside his own mind and begin to question the nature of the belief. He will think there is miscommunication, because the host (for that brief moment) seems not to hold the common knowledge of what people mean when they talk about a soul.

    In the first example, the first side (if not too confused) can be expected to reply saying “ANY dog” as his claim is obviously meant to cover chihuahuas, dobermans, german shepherds, etc. AGAINST any other kind of animal (like cats, birds, gorillas, maybe even “other humans”.)

    In the second example, regardless to the fact that there is no “real” Spider-Man, the person will be taken aback NOT because he, as opposed to the bearer of the question, thinks Spider-Man to be “real”, but because he will think they do not share the common grounds (of popular culture) to make the analogy work. The person in this example is in more dire straits for the brief moment he is expected to reply, because saying “ANY Spider-Man” simply won’t solve it. Yes, there have been many different versions of Spider-Man, from Jack Kirby’s initial one to Al Milgrom’s or John Byrne’s, to the kids’ cartoon to Sam Raimi movies, one with a black costume, many others with some red-and-blue one; most of them shooting the web fluid using a cartridge whereas bodies of some had acquired the ability to organicly produce it, etc… Does it matter? No, because the point of reference is Spider-Man’s unchanging, common, signature ability to climb a wall with no tools.

    As for the third example:
    Does it matter what kind of a specific “soul” the caller is referring to? He may have on mind (or, deep beneath the subconscious) one that is somehing like a vapor, or an ectoplasm, or one totally immaterial, existing only in a parallel universe. When he is saying “soul”, we are able to understand that the unreal, unprovable, mystic thing that he is talking about is not a werewolf, nor a goblin or a unicorn, but something very close to a “ghost”, something believed to never die. So, regardless of our non-belief, we are prefectly equipped to understand what he MEANS when saying this.

    In this episode, there was a moment right after the question when I felt Joe thinking he was unable to express himself. This is much different from being led to a confrontation on the specific definition of what he names a “soul”.

    This was one time that I thought the caller was “fertile” enough to provide us with an even more exciting conversation had the hosts triggered something different, had they chosen a different track, maybe by posing another question like “How do you know that the soul will outlive the body?”… The difference is that, such questions carry it to another level, one where the caller does not feel the discomfort of belonging in a whole different jargon / terminology than the hosts; providing him more of a space to elaborate best as he can.

    I did enjoy the episode, especially the part with Joe on, but this thing about recurring questions and the tracks that they always lead the conversation to may be something to consider.

    For the previous episode, having Lynnae as a co-host was good because it had provided a change. Given that there are only several possible hosts for the show, it may also be good for the hosts to occasionally take different routes.

  50. Murat says

    @Clay Bonneyman Evans #35
    It’s also quite abnormal to refer to some horrible thing like WAR when trying to mark an action as the indicator of “greatest love”.
    There is that area where some perverted form of nationalism, even fascism, makes its way to organized religion and form a special blend that provokes such beliefs.
    Martyrdom is invented to soothe the families that are left behind, and to provide motivation (in the form of “honor”) for the remaining manpower.
    It speaks volumes that, when trying to pinpoint a certain action as that of “greates love”, many people do not even think of little children feeding their pets, OR of the elderly dancing, OR of an erotic moment between a couple, OR a nurse caring for a patient… It has to get bloody, there has to be some kind of competition, etc.
    Of course there are many people who have shown notable heroism and friendship to the point of self-sacrifice in this world, but matching THIS to a concept like GREATEST LOVE is quite uncalled for.

  51. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat
    I take issue with your examples.
    “Dog” has an extremely rigorous definition. Ask a taxonomist. It also has a referent in reality.
    “Spiderman” has a fairly rigorous definition. However, there are places on this planet where people won’t know what you’re talking about. The referent is a fictional character, but the works exist in reality.

    No, because the point of reference is Spider-Man’s unchanging, common, signature ability to climb a wall with no tools.

    On this, I agree, and it’s why I object to the parallel with “soul.”
    “Soul” does not have a rigorous definition whatsoever and I find it utterly absurd that you think there’s any sort of agreement on what the word means. I can take a married couple, both of whom have similar cultural backgrounds, and get two different definitions of “soul.” Dude, they’ve had callers on AXP who claim that the soul actually weighs something. Ever hear of the seven grams experiment? it’s bullshit, but there are a number of people who believe that! I doubt you could find any aspect of any definition of “soul” on which there is anything approaching consensus.

    Generically, when the caller says to believe in God, the follow-up question is “Which God?” and not “But what IS a god?” The first will make him elaborate, whereas the latter is likely to cause alienation, which I don’t believe to be reproductive, at least not in the way AXP is known to provide a platform for such talks.

    Notice that the hosts often follow up with stating the idea that a normative ‘god’ refers to some sort of intelligent agent, because that’s the aspect of consensus. I think you’re just flat-out wrong when you claim there’s some aspect of “soul” that approaches anything like that consensus and I find your unabashed confidence when stating that a soul is “the invisible and undetectable elements of a human being” to be rather baffling.

  52. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat
    In contrast, I agree wholeheartedly with your post to Clay Bonnyman Evans. Shows you the kind of cultural milieu existing around the writers of the bible…bloodthirsty barbarism.

  53. Murat says

    @MS #56

    “Soul” does not have a rigorous definition whatsoever and I find it utterly absurd that you think there’s any sort of agreement on what the word means. I can take a married couple, both of whom have similar cultural backgrounds, and get two different definitions of “soul.” Dude, they’ve had callers on AXP who claim that the soul actually weighs something. Ever hear of the seven grams experiment? it’s bullshit, but there are a number of people who believe that! I doubt you could find any aspect of any definition of “soul” on which there is anything approaching consensus.

    With regards to the context Joe had in this particular episode: Does it matter? Any definition of the soul seems to be equally valid for him / invalid for the hosts, because he was talking about his belief about love being something more than what the brain perceives etc.
    Joe acknowledged that he knew there was no scientific proof of a soul. He knows that his belief is not backed by any proof whatsoever. He is holding a faith based position. A soul is an ambiguous thing. So, the hosts do not believe in a soul whereas Joe does. That’s obvious.
    And that should be it.
    Does it really help to be, like, using two different levels of languages? “Metaphysical” refers to something ambiguous as well, but there’s nothing ambiguous about the “usage” of that word. We understand perfectly well that people throw the ball out to ambiguity by using it.
    When listening to that part, I find some very unnecessary divides between Tracie and Joe with regards to the usage of basic language.
    *
    Is INCEPTION a good movie?
    I don’t have an answer to this because I think a very interesting idea was entertained, but the premise that you can dream when already having a dream and the ratio for time keeps applying to every single layer of each dream… Whew…
    *
    Expressing that concepts like soul, god, spirit, metaphysics are void, ambiguous, unbacked etc. is one thing, but it’s totally another to not read into what people try to express when they use these words… Whew… Let me just say that there were moments during that call when I felt the conversation was being drawn into an “Inception meets the AXP” kind of realm, where multi-layered miscommunication was taking over discussion.
    The second and third parts of that same call played out much better.

  54. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat

    Does it really help to be, like, using two different levels of languages?

    Absolutely. If you can show someone that they’re talking nonsense, they might realize that they’re talking nonsense. That’s how Tracie got out of religion, in a way, IIRC.

    “Metaphysical” refers to something ambiguous as well

    No, it does not. Don’t let Deepak Chopra and bad philosophy trick you into thinking this. Metaphysics refers to a specific variety of abstraction (that becomes rigorous with the context of discussion), but it’s become a buzzword that woo-heads use to make their word salad sound important.

    Let me just say that there were moments during that call when I felt the conversation was being drawn into an “Inception meets the AXP” kind of realm, where multi-layered miscommunication was taking over discussion.

    That’s because Joe might as well have jammed an electric hand blender deep in his ear and scrambled his brains for all the sense he wasn’t making. I still don’t see how this is the hosts’ problem. The difference between the “soul” and “god” things is that there’s a fairly well established coherent concept of a god even if there’s no referent in reality. There’s no established coherent concept for “soul,” so how can we even check if there’s a referent?

    At some level, you have to stop blaming the hosts for the shortcomings of the callers. They are not professionals. They’re just people volunteering their time.

  55. Murat says

    @MS #59

    Don’t let Deepak Chopra and bad philosophy trick you into thinking this. Metaphysics refers to a specific variety of abstraction

    It was Tracie who asked Joe what “metaphysical” meant, shortly after asking what a soul is.

    At some level, you have to stop blaming the hosts for the shortcomings of the callers. They are not professionals. They’re just people volunteering their time.

    There is neither a blame, nor any relation to professionalism among what I wrote.
    You have such “sharp” an eye that you see corners in circles 🙂

  56. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat

    There is neither a blame, nor any relation to professionalism among what I wrote.

    In this case, it appears I have indeed seen a ghost.

    I dunno, maybe I’m just not nearly as interested in what the callers have to say as you are. Whenever a theist calls in, 99% of the time they’re full of crap, and lots of it is boring, drawn out nonsense. I enjoy hearing how the hosts handle this, and usually the callers just frustrate me with their inability to understand simple ideas.
    I might just leave your posts be, for the most part.

  57. RationalismRules says

    @Murat

    Yet, in all three of them, we all understand perfectly well what the first side’s position is.

    compare with:

    A soul is an ambiguous thing.

    FFS! How can you understand that something is ambiguous (def: “open to more than one interpretation”) and still keep claiming that we all understand what each other means by it?

    We share an understanding of ‘dog’ and ‘Spiderman’ because these have base definitions that can be expressed in unambiguous, non-controversial terms. ‘Soul’ and ‘spirit’ do not. Your various different attempts to define ‘soul’ show that you don’t even have a clear concept for yourself. What on earth would lead you to believe that everyone else shares this ambiguous concept that you don’t even have clear in your own mind?

    You’re keen for the hosts to get on to “How do you know that the soul will outlive the body?” and one of your definitions of soul is “what remains of us after the body dies / something believed to never die”. Are you aware that not even this is universally accepted as a property of the soul? (read up on JWs)

  58. Murat says

    @RR #62

    FFS! How can you understand that something is ambiguous (def: “open to more than one interpretation”) and still keep claiming that we all understand what each other means by it?

    We understand the basic premise and the borders of the ambiguity in question. Just like we understand what one means when talking about Spider-Man or dogs.

    Your various different attempts to define ‘soul’ show that you don’t even have a clear concept for yourself. What on earth would lead you to believe that everyone else shares this ambiguous concept that you don’t even have clear in your own mind?

    My claim is that, within the context of that particular call, ANY definition of that ambiguity ends up in the same place. A “soul” is clear on NOBODY’s mind. The lack of clarity is already embedded in the word. We don’t need an extra layer of questioning to see that. Had the caller been talking about an exorcism with a claim of witnessing a soul during it, then yes, it would make sense to choose his perception of this word as a pressing issue. But, watch the part again. You will see he is using it just as a pathway to his understanding of “love”.
    *
    Unlike some other followers, I do not see the merit of the show as something close to that of a bullfight where the spikes of reason are supposed to dazzle the animal and cheer the audience till the death strike will come in the form of a sword. Nor do I think that every single time a caller mentions a soul is the ideal opportunity to make him face the ambiguity of the word. What this means is the matador getting a not-so-surprising and quite easy home win, the clip of which will be presented under a bold title on YouTube by 3rd parties. (Dillahunty Smashes Arrogant Theist, 7 Times AXP Offended Your Delusional Beliefs, etc.) I get it, it’s fun. I had my share of it too. But currently, I look forward to some different kind of a “track” for the hosts to engage with the callers. Maybe not the venomous spikes but a lasso… Or, the bull given some advance before the matador uses any weapons of reason… I dunno.
    *
    The words people have in hand are limited. Keeping that on mind, conversations can be diverted into more virgin grounds. No spikes till the final blow with the sword, why not?
    *
    The difference we have in opinion is based NOT on what we understand from “souls”, but simply on our expectations regarding the format and the upcoming episodes of the show. Had I discovered AXP only a month or so ago, I would probably not even mention this as this kind of conversational track would still have lots to offer me.
    *
    BTW, this bullfight thing was a metaphor only for the kind of “confrontational pattern” some viewers seem to enjoy. In no way am I suggesting that the hosts have a perception or an aim that can be matched to that barbaric so-called sport. I’m pretty sure each of them respect other species, while also providing a friendly, productive and fair platform for anyone.

  59. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat

    But currently, I look forward to some different kind of a “track” for the hosts to engage with the callers. Maybe not the venomous spikes but a lasso… Or, the bull given some advance before the matador uses any weapons of reason… I dunno

    Okay, so I was correct above. Personally, I don’t like to play with my food before I eat it, and the fact that this is your criticism means the show is doing a good job of keeping its objective in mind. The show’s not just to talk to people for shits and giggles, you know.
    However, please don’t take this as a shot at you. It’s perfectly fine for you to hold this opinion, but I’m going to just have to stop responding to these types of posts that you make, because I do not share any aspect of this opinion.

  60. Murat says

    @MS #64

    Personally, I don’t like to play with my food before I eat it, and the fact that this is your criticism means the show is doing a good job of keeping its objective in mind.

    I don’t think you are in line with the hosts regarding the objective of the show. Their aim is not to rapidly discredit and expose theists to get applauded by atheists, but rather to engage with all callers in a way that could help both them and the viewers explore certain issues. There are differences between how AXP is perceived by some and what it actually aims to do.

  61. mond says

    @Murat

    Soul, lifeforce, essence, consciousness.

    These are all words that have a reasonable level of ambiguity about what they actually are.
    If I were in a poetic frame of mind they could be synonyms.

    Ask 10 people for a definition of each you are likely to get very many difference answers.

    This is the problem.
    If we engage in conversation and assume both our definitions are simpatico without actually checking with each other then potentially we are wasting each others time.

  62. RationalismRules says

    @Murat
    Meh, I find lyrical waxings a total turnoff. Comes from having to listen to preachers as a child – the weaker the point, the more bloviation it gets surrounded with. I’m out.

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