1. bigjay says

    Waaaay too much talking over each other allowed on that first call, made it difficult to follow. The old duffer even mentioned it once and no one stopped him from doing it.

  2. pharynx007 says

    can we please stop taking chuck from hawaii’s calls? i think he may be a troll, but even if he’s not, he’s presented that argument about elements not wearing out at least once before, and never listens to the hosts responses, and never contributes anything worthwhile imo. i’m pretty sure he’s called in like, every other week for the last 3 months or so. maybe it just feels like it, but he is a frequent enough caller that i recognize him.

  3. bawdygeorge says

    Chuck from HI with his crazy laugh again? At least you quickly concluded he, once again, had nothing of substance to present.

  4. Serge Rubinstein says

    I don’t find it wrong that transgenders are being refused to the army. It’s already terrible that anyone else is accepted in the army ! 😉 😉

  5. me says

    the first call was completely out of control, but the talking over was done by russell. it seems that russell is not really listening, he just wants to get out what he wants to say.
    i would like to ask who else here thinks that russell is really bad at being the host? certainly worse than any other host for the show.
    i don’t have an issue with russell, i don’t know him, this is just an observation based on watching many shows.

  6. XRayA4T says

    Why do amateur astronomers who know the sky and are out viewing the sky all the time never report aliens? I suspect there will be a whole lot of “alien” reports after the upcoming total solar eclipse as people see Mercury and Venus and think they are space ships.

  7. Bret Frost says

    First caller gets to waffle on for 30+ minutes, last caller given 12 seconds. Retarded brain dead time management. The Atheist Experience appears to be about politics or solving insomnia. The show is a waste of time. To anyone who wants to hear stuff on topic just watch old episodes. It appears that the longer the show runs the worst it gets. Pick a subject (God of lack thereof) and stick to it. It’s all about the money now, just like the churches.

  8. RationalismRules says

    Frank (1st caller), continually talks over Russell & Jen, at one point interrupting Russell to say “I hope we can refrain from talking over one another here”, and then continues talking over them throughout the entire call.

    He strikes me as someone who is used to talking at others, rather than conversing with them. He wasn’t at all interested in listening to anything Russell or Jen had to say.

    Frank stop reading 5 books on every subject, and learn how to listen in a conversation. You might actually learn something.

  9. says


    You’re killing me every time you talk to Chuck. He’s what I call a “bad filter” person, in that he reads a lot and he has a lot of knowledge, but he processes it in a way that he misremembers almost all of it, so it comes out mangled and full of errors, like Tim Allen in his conversations with Wilson in Home Improvement (if you remember that show). He’s never met an urban legend or old wives tale he didn’t like.

    So every time he lets slip a factoid, you have to shoot that right down and it kills me that you never do this. He dropped a blurb about how “in 1840, science said it knew everything” — he’s getting this completely wrong. He’s very likely misremembering a quote by Charles Holland Duell who was Commissioner of the US Patent and Trademark Office in the 1898, who is often attributed the line “everything that can be invented has been invented”.

    He didn’t actually say that but that’s the way it was printed and passed into history. His actual quote was: “In my opinion, all previous advances in the various lines of invention will appear totally insignificant when compared with those which the present century will witness. I almost wish that I might live my life over again to see the wonders which are at the threshold.” He was of course wrong no matter which quote you use (although the second has more nuance to it), but to get back to Chuck, you need to tell him: “No, science didn’t say that, it wasn’t in 1840, and that’s not the quote meant.” Science would never say that. To quote Dara O’briain, science knows it doesn’t know everything — if it did, it would stop.

    Secondly, as soon as Chuck brought up that the elements don’t get used up — YES THEY DO! YOU KNOW THEY DO! All you had to do was interrupt him with “Radioactive decay!” Why didn’t you do that? It’s one thing to argue with someone about the semantics of their argument and I know you don’t like getting caught up in someone’s gish galloping, but this isn’t hard to do. It’s just someone flat out saying stuff that’s wrong that you can debunk in 5 seconds. You don’t need to be a physicist because they aren’t either, you just need to have Wikipedia handy to quickly shoot down specious claims.

    I’m glad you hung up on him because he wasn’t going anywhere and never does, but you must put your foot down when they just spew out complete nonsense because if you don’t challenge them, they think what they just said was true.

  10. Monocle Smile says

    Know what would improve the show immensely? Banning your douchey ass.

  11. says

    There is a problem with the Kalam that I have not heard addressed by the hosts before … or in other debates really. Not seeing it allows you to get sucked in to irrelevant side discussions pretty easily, as happened with the first caller a few times.

    It’s a type of category error, or perhaps a misuse of language or a false analogy. They all work as a description.

    Anyway, it about the first premise “Everything that begins has a cause”. The big problem here is that no one has any experience at all with anything ever “beginning” (we’ll leave virtual particles out of it for now since that is a debatable issue). All examples given are in our “universe” (i.e. chunk of continuous spacetime). The caller gave a typical example of pressing a button to start a process. But this is a total abuse of language or a category error.

    Talking about cause and effect in our universe is a great use of simplification in language that is very practical. But when you are talking about something like the existence of god these rough approximations are no longer adequate, you need to really look at what you are truly saying and what is really going on.

    As far as we know, our universe has a constant amount of mass-energy. The arrangement/state of this mass-energy changes over time, but the total amount is constant. Nothing new comes into existence, nothing goes out of existence, it only changes form.

    So we we talk about cause and effect, we are simplifying our universe. It is like a giant state machine, changing state continuously (or at least every Planck time). Information about local conditions often allows us to predict near future conditions. The finger is on the button, this allows us to predict future states about some process beginning. We say turning pressing the button started the machine, or caused it to turn on. But this is a language convenience.

    When talking about the universe as a whole, people discussing the Kalam are talking about something coming into existence. This is a completely different use of the word “begin”. Using them in both ways, to talk about something coming into existence and to talk about some process in our universe starting (i.e. mass-energy changing state) is nonsense. It is totally meaningless to draw any sort of analogy there. It is a mistaken use of language and is a large scale category error.

    Since no human has any experience, or even theory, for anything ever beginning to exist, we can’t say anything about it. Or, equally, we could say anything about it and it would all be equally meaningless. We can’t even be sure it is possible for something to begin to exist, or what that would even mean, or what conditions it would happen under (or what the word “conditions” would even mean here). This is just too far outside our realm of experience and science and knowledge to be able to say anything about it.

    So the first premise is not logical, and it is not a tautology as one of the hosts suggested. It is just nonsense. The whole concept of beginning to exist is just too far outside our current understanding and technology to say anything meaningful about.

  12. Purple says

    Weak show fellas.The first call was just unnecessarily long. Pin down a subject, and move on to the next caller. The caller from Hawaii made the same exact call like 2 weeks ago about how you blow out a candle, and the oxygen and energy have to go somewhere, and god exists. I think every AE show needs one host who won’t take the caller’s bullshit. Matt’s good at that, Jeff Dee was good at that – whereas Russel, Jen, Tracie seem like they’re willing to spend an hour on one caller who called the very last week about the most mundane topic. Y’all forget it’s a radio show and it needs to be entertaining and needs to have a pace. This was a abysmal. It’s like that one caller said today, he just laughs at the show’s callers. Well, screen out the low IQ people please so we can have actual intelligent conversations. And lastly I could care less about the Transgender ban. The statement Jen said about her having many transgender friends whom needed the surgery, but the military wouldn’t allow it, and they were discharged or so, and that’s the military’s loss. I don’t think it is. Server your 4+ years with your current genitalia.

    And please don’t turn the show into calls being anti-president. Atheist means lack of belief in god. Don’t let them stray from the subject so much.

  13. Monocle Smile says

    @Yet Another Blogging Atheist
    Yes, that’s perhaps the very first problem with Kalam and William Lane Craig “solves” this problem dishonestly with an intentional equivocation fallacy. He compares the particular state of a current lump of matter “beginning” to exist (like making a table from a tree) with the lump of matter beginning to exist when it didn’t exist before. Those are not the same thing; sometimes these two processes are known as creation ex nihilo and creation ex materia. Craig pretends that these are the same process and ridicules people who object.

    This “please only talk about dictionary atheism on the show” nonsense seems to translate as “please avoid topics outside the existence of god or my personal shortcomings might be exposed and change is hard.”

  14. A Gullible Skeptic says

    Wow, I think I just experienced unambiguous mansplaining for the first time. 😆

  15. mond says

    It’s all about the money now

    That is hilarious.
    The ACA has produced thousands of hours of content over two decades and spend 1 minute in each of the last 3 episodes to ask for help financially.
    Get a fucking grip Bret.

    The ACA has bought a building, kitted out to be a library and broadcast studio and were only 14 grand in debt.
    That is epic financial management

  16. Eazyduzzit says

    I always enjoy the show. Russell is my favorite host, but I think Chuck from Hawaii should be skipped for a few episodes. He’s had his say.

  17. RationalismRules says

    To be clear, ‘In debt’ is not the same as ‘in deficit’.
    Totally agree with your response to Bret, though.

  18. Marianne Sturgis says

    I concur with the other comments about Russell. He can’t express himself in an articulate way and has to use the filler word “like” all the time. My 12 year old daughter does this. He makes no coherent points, can’t articulate a sentence and obviously doesn’t have even rudimentary science knowledge. It’s so cringy listening to him and embarrassing to think he’s representing the Atheist community.

  19. says

    Hello, I’m an anthropologist who has dedicated her life to understanding the other. My path to atheism has been winding and full of interesting experiences, which began when I was a child. Apparently, you can get kicked out of Sunday school for asking your teacher to explain the Bible in a way that makes sense. Methodists and Baptists also became rather disgruntled with me when I would ask why it was acceptable for Abraham to cast away his parents’ teachings, but not acceptable for me to cast away my parents’ teachings.

    Since I was chastised for asking “why” as a child, I decided to get a degree in “why”. I wanted answers that made sense seeing as how the explanations Christians’ espoused for natural phenomena were consistently proven wrong by scientists. My path to atheism was also informed by an anthropology of religion course I took. A preponderance of evidence is what informs my worldview.

    Ultimately, I’m thrilled that I happened upon this podcast/show. I listen while I’m working on fixing the broken thoughts of PhD candidates (i.e. I fix dissertations by editing the content of methodology sections [limitations, alignment with purpose statements, & ensuring issues with reliability/validity are addressed], theoretical frameworks, refining research questions, conducting qualitative/quantitative analyses, write literature reviews, etc.)

    Anyways, thank you guys for providing logically consistent entertainment based on rational thought.

  20. StonedRanger says

    Bret, if you find the show so offensive to your sense of time management, why watch it at all? No one is making you watch it. We get it, you don’t need you to come each week and whine about how bad you think the show is. If you can do better, please go ahead and do so. I, for one, would welcome another atheist show. Until then, you know where the door is, please show yourself out.

  21. bigjay says

    Russell handles bad callers OK some of the time, other times not so much. Matt always handles bad callers well but sometimes he jumps too quickly on the mildly bad callers. What I’m saying is there’s no perfect host, 100% of the time. Sometimes the hosts turn what could be a good call into a lame one, but they usually do OK. I think today was mostly due to lame callers.

  22. says

    @Monocle Smile
    >Know what would improve the show immensely? Banning your douchey ass.

    I have to laugh. I think Bret may have a compulsion to visit each show thread and at least once say that, no matter who the host is that week, they didn’t give the callers the amount of time he would have. He then tries to say it’s “time management” in the same way woo-meisters like to add “it’s science”–when they’re merely spewing their personal opinions, but hope to make them sound more valid to other people.

    I replied to Bret last time to explain that it’s obvious to others what he’s doing, but also noted that he should feel free to keep parroting himself every week on the thread if he likes. I just have nothing further to add. At this point, I come to the blog and it’s like:

    Relevant Comment
    Relevant Comment
    Relevant Comment
    Bret Upset the Show Isn’t Tailored to His Personal Tastes
    Relevant Comment
    Relevant Comment
    Relevant Comment

    It reminds me of an episode of the Simpsons when Marge says something to Homer along the lines of “This is the worst thing you’ve ever done.” Homer replies with “Oh Marge–you say that so often it’s lost all meaning.”

    That’s sort of my reaction to Bret. It’s like I’m reading a comment I’ve read already that’s being repeated because somehow it helps Bret. It doesn’t hurt anything, I guess? So, while I can’t speak for other moderators of the blog, I’m OK giving him his space to exercise his need to say it *one…more…time*. It’s coming to a point where I might actually miss it if he stopped telling us we aren’t doing what he wants us to do.

  23. lezzgo says

    I watched the call from “JT from youngstown” about an hour into the show on youtube and wanted to comment. So, I haven’t watched any of the other content of this episode, but I want to point out a few things.

    * Are sasquatch and aliens as unbelievable as God?
    Hosts said that Sasquatch was a bit more believable than aliens. I think you need to define the alien thing a bit more to make that assessment. If the claim is that we are visited by aliens in spacecrafts, then I agree. Sasquatch however, is a claim that needs a lot of hand waving to explain away the lack of evidence. Because such a creature WOULD leave trace and produce sightings.
    But the main point is that NOTHING is as implausible as God. Sasquatch cannot be less credible than God, because if you have God in place, then even the whole of Harry Potter fauna becomes TRIVIAL. It’s just a matter of whether or not God (ever in his eternity) decided to put them into existence. God is the sum of all implausibles. If fairies are unlikely, God automatically becomes even less likely. Because, with a God in place, everything is plausible. No need for explanation can restrict anything. We’d be at the whim of God, which has no standard.

    * Corroboration.
    Two pieces of evidence pointing in similar direction is not the same as corroboration. If I have a single piece of evidence and then xerox it, I am not left with “corroborating evidence”. For something to be corroborating, they must follow independent paths from original source, so there is no cross contamination.
    The anecdotes about the “alien sighting” haven’t even been cataloged.

    * Government clandestine whistleblowers.
    The current sitting president also insisted that the climate scientists were in the pockets of someone until he and his cohorts tried to put them up for sale, but they wouldn’t be bought.
    When you are talking about 400 out of how many government officials, then you get into the same percentage of edge case mental illnesses.
    The projects with questionable ethics that HAVE been exposed show that in order to stay under the radar, it has to involve a very small set of people, and even such projects often get exposed.
    The major leaks that have happened with top classified information show absolutely no trace of the run-off-the-mill conspiracies. Were WikiLeaks, Mannning and Snowden in on the conspiracy or were there even greater masterminds at work that were in such control of the leaks that they were able to surgically vet the data?
    You currently have a POTUS that believed in stuff like the US government involved in a vaccine safety conspiracy. Now he is himself trying to exert the kind of control over the academia as he claimed that the US government was fully capable of before he took office. How did that go?
    Why are the all the “whistleblowers” people that “caught a glimpse” of something? Shouldn’t, statistically speaking, even one come from within the inner circles and produce some hard facts or breath-taking insights. Why are all whistleblower accounts carefully positioning themselves so that they manufacture a (hint of a) claim, but will not be expected to substantiate anything? And, finally, why are we into the population percentile where claims to have seen Jesus wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow?