Comments

  1. David Hasselhof says

    Boring and uninteresting show. The hosts of atheist experience are all good and dandy until someone brings forth a real hypothetical question/scenario that they can’t easily laugh about and dismiss like simulation universe theory. Then they flop and flounder about like fish out of water.

  2. t90bb says

    #1…….simulation universe theory is not any better than any of the other hypotheticasl…..the CLAIM that the universe MIGHT be a simulation is not particularly exciting to me…..its no more exciting that Little green pixies tossing magic fairy dust may have created the universe……come back when you have actual evidence that you think PROVES (or is worthy of creating serious consideration even) the universe is a simulation….BTW, at this point calling it a theory is giving it more credibility than it deserves…unless you are using the term theory in a non scientific way……..I dont care about possibilities much…i try to pay attention to things that are likely to be true…or have some merit that justifies consideration.

  3. Monocle Smile says

    @Hasselhof
    Baffling people with bullshit is not something to brag about.
    Clearly you have zero understanding of your pet idea, so why expect others to be better informed?

  4. Murat says

    I enjoyed the show. There are two issues I’d like to comment on:
    *
    I was particulary willing (as I’d expressed also on here) to see the Nashville Statement covered, and it was also a plus to have on this occasion one of the hosts known to belong in the LGBT. (Serendipity?)
    Yet, with all due respect, I believe the duo missed out on something crucial by underestimating the reasons and probable effects of such a declaration being made “today”:
    I don’t know of a “Back to the Future” reboot in the works, but there is one political “shift of axe” going on. So, collective expression of certain dogmatic / polarizing perspectives (be it on gender, immigration, race or else) should be taken a bit more seriously.
    This particular statement may have been pre-scheduled (meaning, if it would’ve been made regardless of who was now taking charge of the USA) but the overall atmosphere is definitely providing such groups more hopeful a ground to push their so called “counter-liberal” agenda on.
    I know this aspect of the thing is off limits for the show. But, it’s not quite right or safe to see this “step back” as totally fringe, ineffective or independent.
    ( This recent piece by Coates also confirms that many of the things granted to be coincidential are not really so: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/10/the-first-white-president-ta-nehisi-coates/537909/ )
    If there is an inclination towards irrational conservatism, you’d be amazed how fast such presumedly archaic takes on certain issues could gather up to form a powerful magnet and grasp the minds of those who are connected to the modern understanding only by a thread.
    I’m saying this as someone who experienced a country move 100 years backwards in mentality within a matter of only 15 years. The Nasville Statement may be just a grain of rice. But if you have a cook determined to feed everyone with nothing but rice for the upcoming 7 years, then it’s just as serious a grain as any other. Your diet changes your metabolism.
    *
    The other thing that attracted my attention was the reverend dismissing Russell quickly after confirming he was of Jewish descent. He concentrated directly and openly on Jen as a possible person to convert (back) to Christianity.
    Now, is that even a “Christian thing” to do?
    I mean, if there are two people in front of you who both declare to be atheists, then what the fuck matters in terms of tricking them back into religion, if one was previously Christian and the other not? He approached Jen as a “sister” but avoided to call Russell a “brother” throughout the call. Before signing off, he just said something like “as a human being”, which only made it look worse.
    I don’t want to accuse the man of being racist or something, but the kind of gentle discrimination there was quite off, if you ask me.
    Even if I’m not interested in buying perfume at all, I’d be bothered if the salesperson in the department store didn’t even bother to spray some from the tester bottle on me. Well, it may be somewhat good to know you are less likely to be disturbed by unwelcome scents on you, but I’d find it offensive in some way if I was being singled out with the supposition their crap and I somehow did not match.
    Are there not people of Jewish heritage who become Christians? Or, are there congregations that focus only on “re-converting”? I wonder what the bases was (in the reverend’s head) for this attitude.

  5. Amra says

    @hasselhof, it doesn’t matter what ultimate reality is, especially if it’s not the universe we observe. The evidence we have is for the universe we have to deal with from day to day, the one which you and I share and observe together. Sure, we could be brains in vats, no one denies that. But it just doesn’t matter, because we can’t speak to a universe we can’t detect, observe, perceive or more importantly… test. Someone claiming that God exists in THAT universe bears even less credibility than someone claiming he exists in THIS one, because we have no evidence for a god in THIS universe, the one we CAN test, much less some speculative universe that exists beyond human perception. If people can’t get things right about this reality, how can we have confidence in claims about an reality beyond this one?

    I find those arguments less than worthwhile, especially when every such argument meant to point out the problem of solipsism necessarily assumes an objective reality exists in order to do so. In the “simulation universe”, its the computer that generates the simulation, in the shadows on the cave wall its the cave itself…. How about we just accept that an objective reality exists and move on. The problem of solipsism isn’t going anywhere, and its just not worth worrying about.

  6. says

    Hello!
    I would love to address the comment from the first caller on the last show. My partner and I are both atheist and we are raising our son to be a critical thinker. Our son is 11 and we have always raised him to be a thinker. (Sometimes up to our chagrin). We all do what we need to do to get by some days but it is so important to raise our children to always ask questions. Some of our best car rides were about what you think and why. We have asked him which is more likely – that someone is up in the sky taking control of your life or are you responsible for your life. We started with questions about how he feels and why he thinks that. My mother and my partner’s mother are both fairly religious (Anglican and Canadian United). Also where we live there are more churches of various flavours than there are schools. One thing we have always done is tried to help others wherever we can.

    A real suggestion for your caller would be to find an organization that has nothing to do with religious ideology and find a way to give. We went to the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals) and spent some time with the lonely animals. After the wildfires in Alberta a few years ago he was watching the news and saw animals stranded. So he decided to have a money party where he kept half and half went to animal rescue.

    As an educator and therapist I have found it is really important to strengthen the bond we have with our kids outside of any concept of belief or non belief. Starting with books like “I Love You Forever” or “Little Nut Brown Hare” are important. They can lead to great discussions of the fact that I will love you as long as I am living and that you will love me as long as you live. Other books showing the diversity of love and family are important. One of my favourites (and my son’s as well) as Heather Has Two Mommies. He learned from that book that not all families look and feel like ours and that they are all valid. The key is to get to the core of what you believe and pick up resources that assist in the conversation. When looking at the “big” questions such as life and death a book called “When Dinosaurs Die”. There’s a look at all kinds of beliefs around death and death rituals presented in a child friendly way. That can help lead to discussions about why you believe what you do and get to what they believe.
    Really when you get down to it – protecting our children is important but making sure they understand the context of their world is critical to building someone who is warm and open to all elements of their humanity. If I could tell the caller anything it would be that – ‘You are not doing anything wrong in protecting the childhood of your daughter. In fact you are showing how much you love and value her through your words and actions. Anything you do out of love and caring is the best decision for you going forward.’
    Thanks for the amazing show!

  7. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Quite clear that David is gonna be one of those people, the incessantly whiny ones that will throw stones at the ball that everyone’s playing with. Granted time on and off air, those that were interested got their say and those that weren’t got theirs, why not move on?

    The first call already did it, lmao, a heavy one already. At least she has parents that practice skepticism, so it’s not like she can’t have the tools handed to her. And yeah, the god stuff is already put to your kid/s before they even hit the potty training stage. Also I absolutely sail with Russell and Jen’s “Oh, no, they’re never too young” for the skeptic tools. I loved this call, short and comprehensive. Good luck to Courtney.

    Ou, a Rev! Wow and he sounds like the same old “are they trolling?” kind of caller. His voice is making me wonder. America is leading no one anywhere good with a president like trump, don’t make me laugh sir. The fact that you think that doesn’t bode well for your moral compass, matter of fact, it implies that it’s pretty fucking broken.

    Yeah, as long as they’re writing similar letters to their state reps about these issues, then whatever.

    Yeah, I remember Jeff, I think, lol. Sister in the lord? Yeah, your views are useless since she doesn’t see you as a brother in the lord. Why does the almighty god need foot soldiers? Tell him to get his dusty behind up and fight his own battles! I don’t want to see my family members and other people I care about getting hurt for a lazy goon on his throne.

    Your def. of faith sounds a lot like confidence, so why not keep that one? It’s less controversial.

    Yes, Jeff, you assert that but the people that study the world and the universe(as well as us that live in it) are having a hard time seeing this god anywhere in it, can you ask god to make it easier? The way he’s revealing himself kinda sucks. Yeah, Jeff but specificity doesn’t imply intelligence nor deity input.

    Why are you laughing? They shoud be the ones laughing Jeff! LMAO.

    Ah, yeah, god also created loopholes so he doesn’t have to account for shit he makes or could’ve stopped. Pretty fricking useless deity you serve.

    “Exactly,” huh? Sir, her lack of faith doesn’t support your god’s inability to make decisions that anyone can see as intelligent and lol at Russell bringing back his own definition of faith on him, he seems to be confused about what he means, or he’s being deceptive.

    Jeff you should’ve had a V8, “bruh.”

    Also you need not call back since you can’t even identify faith in others, by your own definition, we all got it, so why are you saying “lack of faith” like it isn’t fueling our atheism(by your own words.) Clearly your definition is as reliable as hitting the broad side of a barn, it’s meaningless and in excess. So help your god, you need to fix it.

    I’m glad that you cited yourself as an unseen gust in the unseen atmosphere, perfectly uselesss, your god is a creator of the vacuous.

    His laughing kills me inside, we should be the ones cracking up here, his inability to see it is amazing. It’s always nice to have your dad’s love! Great for you, Jeff!

    Jen just gave you a great “stranger danger!” warning, you aren’t her family sir, it’s creepy that you think that. You were told repeatedly as well to desist from it, proof that god’s ear work is shitty.

    At least this call ended on love, so nice!

    Note of advice, social media is a good way to upset people, use at your own peril.

    Coby, anti-theism is fun, you should look into it more. If I had a facebook, my parents would be auto-blocked before I even start posting, lol.

    Posting on your social media about your atheism isn’t implying obsession, you’re able to function on and off the net without writing about how theism is trash every instant like an itch, no? This idea that atheists are “obsessed and upset” about theism is a rhetoric employed by those that want to see the status quo go on without being challenged, where’s the “obsessed and upset” theist stereotype when theists post holy book passages everyday on their pages? When they talk about how awesome and wowy god is and how terrible those that don’t believe are? Don’t fall for the okey dokey social programming. Speak out on your page if you want to, they damn sure do! If they don’t like it then change the visibility options of your posts so they don’t see it if you want to be accommadating, try to see if they’ll limit their jesus stuff in return though. That’ll be fun for a laugh.

    I like Jen’s rec. create a blog or a tumblr, or whatever the people of today do.

    Didn’t god say to combat the ebil godless heathens though? Why are they so scared about engaging in what the scripture recommends? May jesus send his holy message through their DMs and hit them with the lord’s word.

    Yes! Anthony is LIFE! Also that’s a useless assessment, as we don’t have the data necessary to answer whether calls and debates are inferior to the “hi! wanna talk?” method. You can get people to question their beliefs without employing SE, so it’s not unique in that regard.

    You should pursue it if you want to, you seem to be that kind of person, which we do need more of. So godspeed and all that.

    Baiting is okay, I mean, we all need to refine our beliefs somehow I guess? Family and friends is a good way to start off, since you’ll be loved regardless, provided that they aren’t the shitty kind of family and friends.

    Caroline did sound young, my ears are finely tuned.

    Is there ever a good one of those movies?(Ignore this sentence structure.)

    Your mom is skilled, appeals to empathy is a powerful one, especially when you’re young. I loved my grandma like I loved myself, so when she passed it fucking hurt, it still hurts and I believe it’ll hurt for a long time. However I know that the time I spent with her was valuable and that her death isn’t something that affected my atheism(as I was already past the questioning phase before she passed away) and that even without another chance to chat with her again, I’ve not lost a thing that would make my experiences with her any better. I’m satisfied with what we had and I hope that you get to that point as well, what your mom did was nasty and if your grandma would be upset at anyone it’d be her for hurting you(as my grandma would’ve been if my mom tried that) since grandparents love their grandkids a helluva lot! Seeing their kid use them as a tool that they know would pry into emotional wounds in their child wouldn’t please them at all.

    Drag us! We do have weird and creepy tendencies, I should know. Ha! Yeah, I’m going through that phase too, I hope I can enter the age 47 phase like your uncle, lmao.

    I support the coming out message, we always want more “brothers, sisters” and non-conforming hands in the unholy, unseen dual of the ages.

    I enjoyed this one and thanks to the hosts and magnificent backstage crew.

  8. sayamything says

    I’m going to break from my usual habit of commenting only after I’ve watched the entire episode but please please PEASE take what Stephanie Guttormson says with a mountain of salt. A lot of my friends have become misinformed on trans issues because they stumbled across her YouTube channel or Facebook, and I have to spend a ton of time and energy correcting them because they get the idea that she somehow speaks for my life. She’s said some things in the past that have horrified others (myself included) in the trans population.

    I acknowledge and understand that Russell brought her up within the purview of limited experience on the topic, but this sert off a big warning flag over my head anyway, because I’m used to people protesting issues that affect my life with “but thinkstephtically says….”

  9. Monocle Smile says

    Jeff’s blather is not uncommon. Loads of christian imagery is extremely violent and glorifies war, but this doesn’t seem to bother “moderate” believers.
    Yeah, another know-nothing godbot with “look at the trees.” Color me surprised.

    I’m totally stealing “pray to a potato.”

    Has Jeff ever convinced anyone of anything? Preaching doesn’t work whatsoever. That’s why religion has always needed violence and oppression to spread in any significant manner. Jeff sounds like someone who’s never encountered a non-christian before. There’s a fundamental block there.

  10. gbaconnecticut says

    Parenting as an Atheist…
    Here is a simple format I use with my kids “Some people believe _________ . I think _________ is more likely. What do you think?
    The key is to teach them critical thinking. And if they get curious about religion to support them exploring it. I just have one rule “you have to accept ALL of it.” Around 7yrs old, my daughter got interested in Christianity. So we got her a children’s Bible and she was out by Noah’s flood. She couldn’t accept a God would kill all the puppies and kittens in the world except 4 of them.

  11. rectorsquid says

    If your kid believes that Mickey Mouse is real and you are an atheist, you are doing something wrong. If your kid believes in Santa Claus and you are an atheist re doing something wrong. The only way to bring up a kid as an atheist is to teach them to not believe in any mythology. As soon as you pick and choose what to point out as mythology, you are screwing up the kid because now they think they can pick which religion they want to follow, not to be skeptical of all of them.

  12. rectorsquid says

    Data on Star Trek TNG was “fully functional” and was able to have sexual intercourse. I believe that was established in the first season when the crew got brainwashed into doing things they typically didn’t do (which was a common theme in Star Trek shows).

  13. Murat says

    But the function was limited to that of a high-tech dildo, I suppose. No passion, no love, no anxiety… Being “Data” is by itself almost the antithesis of what sex is when broken down to how humans experience it.

  14. Dean G. Johnson says

    Love the show, thanks. My wife and are both atheists and we talked to each other in front of our kids as we ridiculed ridiculous beliefs, religious or otherwise. Our kids, now 22 and 26, are both skeptical humanists. We didn’t need to have any special talks with our kids, just included them. I am prone to lecturing on interesting topics so my advice to parents would be that. Talk to your kids and let them know what you think and why. Why is important. We have have gotten lucky, and we feel lucky.

  15. says

    The problem with calculating whether the Universe is a simulation is the same as trying to prove solipsism: It doesn’t get you anywhere. If the Universe really is a simulation, what would it look like? Well, it would probably look like this one. And if the Universe is not a simulation, what would it look like? Well, it would probably look like this one.

    We don’t have any other Universes to examine and compare to see which are simulations and which aren’t. We have a sample set of 1 which is not nearly enough to make judgment calls about its ultimate nature.

    Solipsism has the same problem: It doesn’t change anything about reality. It could be true or it could be false, but either way reality looks exactly the same. So it’s a rather pointless thing to believe in.

  16. says

    @ rectorsquid & murat:

    the crew wasn’t brainwashed. they experienced extreme intoxication after getting infected while investigating the death of all hands on a research vessel. see “the naked now”:

    Data goes to Yar’s quarters and finds her provocatively dressed. Unsure how to react, Data tells Yar that he needs to take her to Sickbay; however, she has no intention of going with him. Data indicates that Yar needs time to return to uniform, but she notes that she got out of uniform just for him.

    She tells Data that she was abandoned when she was five years old and learned how to stay alive from rape gangs. It wasn’t until she was 15 that she escaped, but now she wants love and joy. She asks how “functional” Data is; he replies he is fully functional and is programmed in many “techniques,” a wide variety of pleasuring. She leads him to her bedroom, where Data gives a programmed smile. The door closes.

    … Thanks to Wesley’s efforts, a tractor beam instantly activates and locks onto the Tsiolkovsky. On the bridge, Worf reports on this. Picard attempts to contact Wesley with no luck; however, Data has arrived on the bridge but in a weird stagger, since he’s been infected by Yar. Picard is confused as to how Data got infected.

  17. RG says

    @ RationalismRules
    Not sure, that is why I asked the question instead of answering it. I did at one time think one gender of our species was without the ability to give birth. I may need a little lesson on the common usage of the English language though.

    Be advised site has offensive language
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender
    “Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, masculinity and femininity. Depending on the context, these characteristics may include biological sex (i.e. the state of being male, female or an intersex variation which may complicate sex assignment), sex-based social structures (including gender roles and other social roles), or gender identity.[1][2][3] Some cultures have specific gender roles that can be considered distinct from male and female, such as the hijra (chhaka) of India and Pakistan.”

    Is there a more preferred word to differentiate the biological sexes of humans?

  18. Murat says

    @RG
    Gender classification is a work in progress. What we can say is that, the negation of the previous (kind of official) dichotomy is the only common ground for those taking the challenge. One can claim “the ability to give birth” to define a “female”, but in this case you would have to come up with yet another category for individuals (or, for huge groups) of women who for some reason are not able to give birth, regardless of their sexual orientations.
    Yes, the caller needed to study more before opposing to the emergent perspectives and siding with Nashville Statement, but we can not say that the bulk of data and ideas are guaranteed to suggest the exact same definitions Jen or anyone else was going with.
    The scientific and medical aspects aside, I guess it would be safe to say that, whatever classification you go with, what matters “socially” is to not act like you saw a freak when you come across people whose gender identity puzzles you. Nor should anyone feel licensed to speak for them.

  19. says

    The idea that our observable universe might be a simulation is interesting to consider, and there are implications worth considering if we discovered sufficient evidence to make it seem plausible that it actually is the case, rather than just being a potentially unverifiable possibility. However, for the sort of focus of this show, bringing it up just to point out that some being running it would have incredible power over our universe and could be considered in some ways analogous to a god is like calling up a show about gardening and saying that if someone created self-replicating nanomachines that functioned like plants, they could in some ways be considered analogous to a gardener.

    That’s not the sort of thing people usually mean when they refer to a ‘god’, just like that’s not what people usually mean by ‘plants’ and ‘gardening’, and in either case is only tangentially related to focus of the show. There are other forums for discussion where the topic would be welcomed and you should not expect this show to spend much time discussing the topic if none of the hosts are interested in it themselves. If you’re really that determined to discuss the analogous attributes of someone running a simulation with a ‘god’, seek out those forums.

    I’ll do a little of it here. As far as ‘godhood’ goes, concepts have changed considerably over time. Modern concepts in places like America tend to include attributes like being the ultimate source of everything, have complete power, and to have always existed. Often, the concepts will have the god external to the observable universe. A being running our universe in a simulation would be external to it, other than any interventions they might make, so they would be pretty analogous there. Other than that, it starts to break down. They would not be the ultimate source of everything, but would be a part of the source of our observable universe. They would not have always existed prior to our observable universe, and could easily be outlived by it. Depending on their level of knowledge, such as if they completely designed the simulation or ran someone else’s code, they may not even have much fine control over the simulation, and mostly be able to instantiate and destroy it.

    The implications if we are part of such a simulation depend on if that knowledge is actually discoverable to us. Presenting the idea as if there were anything more than speculation on the possibility displays a lack of understanding of the idea. If you take certain assumptions, there are plenty of ideas that could be possible, if we could actually verify the assumptions. There are any number of ontological possibilities we could presume, from god(s) to simulations to forms of solipsism to chaotic fluctuations to forms of infinite regression and on and on.

    For instance, the simulation argument proposes that if it’s possible in some universe to make simulations of a universe, then beings in that universe might make such simulations. If they can do it cheaply enough, there might be many such simulations, and if the universes in the simulations contain minds, then you could have the number of minds generated by the simulations vastly outnumber the minds that exist independently in the original universe. And if those simulations can make their own simulations, then you can potentially have who knows how many minds however many simulations down. And if there are say, 10^15 minds in the original universe, and for every one of those minds, there are another 10^15 simulated minds, then any particular mind knowing this should bet that they aren’t at the top level, based on the odds.

    We see that we have the possibility to create simulations, so we can tell that part is possible. And as computing power gets cheaper, the argument extrapolates that continuing to the point where simulations of size sufficient for a large universe become economical. This is more questionable, but still seems possible. And you can grant that all that may be possible. However, that doesn’t actually tell us whether or not us being in such a simulation is actually the case without us finding evidence that it is.

    In fact, this parallels with Pascal’s Wager. I could suppose that there are an infinite number of utterly independent top-level universes full of countless minds, only a handful of those universes which allow for economical large-scale simulations to be created so that the number of minds existing in simulations in those universes are outnumbered by 10^10^10^1000 by top-level minds. So if you had to bet, you’d want to bet that you existed in one of the top-level universes. What is the evidence to indicate that this is the case? The same as the evidence to indicate that we live in a simulation. We can’t rule it out as a possibility. It’s unfalsifiable. Which is the same issue with us maybe being in a simulation rather than a top-level universe. Just like Pascal’s Wager could support any number of potential gods, such arguments can support any number of potential cosmological settings. Even if they’re true, we may never be able to verify it.

    Now, if we were in a simulation, there is the possibility that any beings simulating us might interact with the simulation rather than just observing it. And they may communicate with us and tell us that we’re in a simulation, and at least display capabilities that indicate they may be telling the truth. The implications of this would actually be important to us. We’d want to know if there are any activities that risk the stability of the simulation, as well as what the universe our simulation is running in is like. A lot of focus when such arguments are made seems to be on things like ancestor simulations that try to match the original universe, which may be what a lot of us would be more interested in simulating, but it could just as easily be a very different universe running a simulation with different physical interactions and a different number of spatial dimensions and so on, so the beings running the simulation may be quite alien to us.

    If we could access our own source code, we might be able to find exploits for taking control over the system our simulation is running on. We might even, if able to acquire or if provided with sufficient information about the universe running our simulation and a connection to an internet equivalent or whatever, upload ourselves into avatars directly interacting with the universe simulating us, however similar or dissimilar it may be, and seek out ways to prolong our existence, perhaps perpetually. There are lots of things to consider along those lines. Again, all of that requires that we receive some indication that we are actually in a simulation. And right now, we only have speculation on innumerable ideas of what might be possible.

  20. bigjay says

    LOL, yeah Reverend Lovejoy didn’t seem to want to talk to a Jewish person at all, did he? I like how Jen told him not to tell her that he loved her. Good on you, Jen. When I hear theists say they love me it makes my skin crawl. Jen’s “…you don’t even know me…” was perfect.

  21. Murat says

    @Jared
    That’s a good coverage of the idea and tells reasonably why you’d see it as irrelevant to how the show tends to cover theism.
    But I think you’re missing the point on two details:
    * Bringing it up just as an “idea” to entertain is quite different from taking into consideration some recent observations that have ignited the Baudrillard-esque simulacrum theory among some physicists. I’m not saying I believe there to be sufficient indicators to take this seriously, but for those who do, it’s a different case.
    * I do not see why we necessarily have to jump from “this universe” being a simuation to “infinite universes of neverending simulations” etc. In case the idea gains gravitas, maybe it will somehow be confirmed that there is just one original source and one simulacrum, OR, maybe existence will be defined as only TWO universes simulating each other over negative and positive degrees of time and space with errors that create small-scale differences. Even if only in theory, do we really “have to” equate the idea of a “simulated universe” to “neverending simulations”?

  22. Murat says

    @Bigjay
    Exactly.
    Were I a Christian or a Muslim willing to preach, I would not make a distinction in the target audience in the light of what their origins were.
    The reverend demonstrated not only a misperception of reality, but also some serious inconsistency with regards to his own belief there.

  23. RationalismRules says

    @RG
    I am doubtful that you are genuine.

    First:

    Not sure, that is why I asked the question instead of answering it.

    Your first question was not about gender, it was about giving birth. Clearly the ability to give birth is not arbitrary, and no-one is claiming that it is, so the fact that you asked that rather than asking a genuinely disinterested question along the lines of “what did Jen mean when she referred to gender as arbitrary?” is a pretty strong sign that you were making a point, (which you’re now backing away from)
     
    Second:

    Be advised site has offensive language

    Where? I suspect you may be making another point about ‘snowflakes’.
     
    Third:
    You just grabbed the opening para from the Wiki page. Did you actually read the article? If you had, you should understand that gender is a nuanced issue, and is clearly not the same thing as the ability to give birth.
     
    Obviously I may be wrong, so let’s give you the benefit of the doubt for now.

    Here’s a different Wikipedia page that may help:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_and_gender_distinction

    Is there a more preferred word to differentiate the biological sexes of humans?

    Yes. Biological sex.

  24. ironchops says

    AT 14:36 Russell asked “does the opinion have weight and authority”. It has weight to those that listen and incorporate into their lives. It has the same authority as any of yours, very little to none. It’s just an opinion.

  25. says

    See, this is why Tracie didn’t want to talk about the Simulation Hypothesis. It’s too big for one show or one thread; some people’s obsession with it grows over everything else, like intellectual kudzu. Kill it, I say, kill it with fire!

  26. Murat says

    @ironchops
    Good question. But I somewhat differ on the answer, as explained in my related post.
    In a nutshell, I believe such declarations are made deliberately for the purpose of strenghtening and/or awakening a dormant kind of authority, to provide weight for a stance that has weakened over the past decades.

  27. jbking3 says

    Was watching the show via youtube. The Atheist Experience 21.35 Caroline the last caller made the comment “I hate guys they’re weird and creepy”. Even though she is young, I find it appalling that Russell and Jen do not ask how she is any different than the common bigot walking into church on Sunday. what we are thinking will change if how we are thinking is logical, this child is hating/disliking someone based on a condition of birth. If it were a theist saying that they hate lesbians because “they’re weird and creepy” it would have received an immediate response from Jen and Russell. I am an atheist and a heterosexual man and find it completely offensive that bigotry from anyone is excepted. I don’t know if Russell was scared or thought that a passive aggressive remark ” No Offense” was the proper response, maybe just scared to stand up and be proud of being a man. A lot of lesbians are awesome but so are a lot of men, hopefully Jen will tell the next man hater that.

  28. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    Great show, I really enjoyed it. I have a comment for the first caller.

    We (wife and I) have a daughter with pretty significant ASD so our parenting is unusual at best.
    We raised our daughter with the knowledge that Santa isn’t real. It hasn’t taken away any of the magic. She still loves Christmas and enjoys pretending Santa is real.
    My daughter has studied all the legends, gods and goddesses. So far we’ve done Roman, Greek, Hindu, some Aztec and a bit of the Abrahamic tradition. She knows her parents are Atheists and identifies as one. I think she could give a few of the callers a run for their money as she understands logical fallacies and is blunt as only people with ASD can be.
    Of course she is free to choose her own belief system as she grows up, but I’m not going to pretend that Theism makes sense. Her Grandmother who is very involved in her upbringing is a Christian, who hasn’t tried proselytising, so my daughter does get exposure to Christians to see they’re normal too!
    I agree with Jen, teaching kids about all the religions can be done at an early age – it’s perfect to do when they are in the magical thinking age.
    Russell is also correct that it doesn’t stop the existential crisis. We’re all going to not be here one day. There is no getting around that.

  29. says

    @Simon

    I recall seeing you’re from Adelaide. Is that correct?

    As such (apart from the current lobbying from the Australian Christian Lobby re marriage equality) do you find that Australian society is largely apathetic towards religion?

    Frankly I don’t know anyone who goes to church or even know what anyone I knows’ religious beliefs are. I’d be interested in finding another perspective on this to find out if somebody else has a different experience to mine in the same culture.

  30. Sameoh says

    @Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking
    You go, guys, don’t let anyone else tells you otherwise.
    You are wonderful parents and all the best to your family.

  31. RationalismRules says

    @Shaun @Simon
    I’m also an Aussie (and from Adelaide).

    My experience is the same as yours – the vast majority of the people I come in contact with don’t really give it much thought, but if pushed would probably describe themselves as agnostic (what we would call agnostic atheist).

    However, the 2016 census showed around 50% self-identified as Xtian, vs. 30% as ‘no religion’.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Australia

    I feel like Xtianity has less of a social presence than this would indicate, so I take away 2 things from this:
    – The people in my life are less religious than the general population. That would be understandable – I’ve spent my working life in the arts and almost all my friends are connected to the arts somehow. I’ve met a fair few non-skeptical types (‘woo believers’), but the arts don’t seem to attract traditional religious types – too frivolous a pursuit, perhaps.
    – I would guess there is quite a high proportion of ‘cultural believers’ in those numbers ie. non-practicing, non-observant, but still identifying as Xtian because they go to church at Easter and Xmas.
     
    There is one piece of obnoxious religious observance in Adelaide that annoys me intensely: every Easter the State Bank building (our tallest city building) lights up its windows in a giant cross. No other religion gets that privilege on their significant holiday. However, as I write this I’ve just realized there’s another way to look at it: if they are representing Xtianity for those 5-or-so days, that means they are effectively representing atheism for the other 360 days. I’m much more okay with it now I can look at it that way.

  32. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    @Shaun @RationalityRules

    Certainly religion has way less influence here than the USA, but it still has a huge influence in politics. A lot of my family are also religious so clearly that’s an impact that wil vary person to person.
    Going back to politics, the same sex Marriage debate would have been over years ago if it wasn’t for religion.
    If you want to catch up my spam catching email is:
    hozozco@yahoo.com
    I’ll keep an eye out.

  33. says

    @RR

    I feel the vast majority of Australians, regardless of what they put on their census forms, are apatheists (to use the new word I have only recently discovered).

    Similar to the UK, where everyone is either C of E or Catholic, but most people don’t give two shits either way.

    I would love to see the figures if those people who put their *nominal* religion down on the census actually put no religion down instead. I think those conservative politicians who claim we are a Christian nation would get a shock.

    For those who aren’t fully aware of the figures RR refers to, no religion is the largest single *religious* grouping at 30% followed by the Catholics at 25%. The total of xtians is 52%, showing a steady decline – apparently down from 88% 50 years ago. We are winning the war! Yay!

    Not only that, but the decline has increased since 2011, so that nearly 8% fewer of the population are religious. By the next census, Christians will well and truly be in the minority.

    The biggest problem we have in Australia is that while their numbers are declining, their infiltration of politics has been growing.

    RR, the state bank thing doesn’t really bother me. I’m not really fussed about cultural Christianity, just when Christians try to impose their religious views on others.

  34. Murat says

    There are so many trees and forests in the habitable small percentage of land in Australia that, it’s amazing how not everyone is becoming theist by simply observing them.
    The view from Blue Mountains, for example…

  35. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    @Murat

    I grew up in the desert with 49C (120F) temperatures and I can remember when I first saw rain – I was in 4th grade Primary School! Not too many trees around.

  36. Murat says

    @Simon
    Yeah, I was referring mainly to the coastal areas, where the big cities are 🙂 Y’know, there’s this widespread theistic argument of “Look at the trees!”… It’s ironic that major religions defended by such broad observation have flourished in deserts. Maybe for those people, an oasis was a heavenly sanctuary, hence a protector / father figure up in the heavens, and that’s where the “look at the trees!” thing comes from. Rain, plants, shade… Whatever supported human life…
    If the rarity of rain and forest was actually the reason behind why monotheistic religions originated in the Middle East (as opposed to Brazilian rain forests or what is now Montana) then it’s puzzling why the bushmen of Australia have not come up with similar deductions.

  37. Randy K9 says

    By any chance, anyone happen to know what episode Jeff the christian caller from Augusta, GA called in and spoke to Matt? Would love to see how that went. I tried Google-ing and YouTube-ing it, but no dice.

  38. Monocle Smile says

    @jbking3
    If you pay attention (and IIRC), Caroline was talking about growing up already knowing she was gay. “guys are weird and creepy” seems like a rather normal thought for a definitively gay girl in the midst of puberty and it’s obviously meant as an exaggeration to communicate a juvenile thought, not an adult opinion.

  39. Chancelor of the Exchequer says

    LMAO at “proud to be a man.” Way to miss the punch in the bowl, she’s employing hyperbole, not facts.

    “Man hater” is another good one, no one hates you, get over yourself.

    I’m just shocked that “feminazi” wasn’t used, usually that’s the mating call for the MRA.

  40. RG says

    @Murat
    Yea, yea, I got a big one on the line here and don’t really disagree with what you say. Just wanted to acknowledge your comment and thank you for your response.

    @RationalismRules
    My point was to resolve the question as to if the word gender was arbitrary or related to physical biological differences. I think the question I asked was short to the point* (I guess not as to the point as I thought it was) to encompassed that idea. I wouldn’t complain if I was backing off if I were you since that is your objective taking the question on in the first place, isn’t it? I wouldn’t say I was backing off “it” but refining my understanding of what we are talking about. The offensive language is “hermaphrodite” which Jen specifically said was offensive and is in the article no less than 10 times. Hard to argue against that one. As if being offensive counts for something anyways.

    Of course I just grabbed the introduction of the page. Printed the wiki article is 36 pages long. I don’t think the blog would appreciate me pasting that here. Selecting the introduction was an attempt at not being bias. It is interesting that you complain of such things.

    The introduction on the wiki article you suggested.
    “The distinction between sex and gender differentiates sex (the anatomy of an individual’s reproductive system, and secondary sex characteristics) from gender, which can refer to either social roles based on the sex of the person (gender role) or personal identification of one’s own gender based on an internal awareness (gender identity).[1][2] In some circumstances, an individual’s assigned sex and gender do not align, and the person may be transgender,[1] non-binary, or gender-nonconforming. In some cases, an individual may have biological sex characteristics that complicate sex assignment, and the person may be intersex.
    The sex and gender distinction is not universal. In ordinary speech, sex and gender are often used interchangeably.[3][4] Some dictionaries and academic disciplines give them different definitions while others do not.
    Among scientists, the term sex differences (as compared to gender differences) is typically applied to sexually dimorphic traits that are hypothesized to be evolved consequences of sexual selection.[5][6]”

    Very good. Question answered. A+ for Rationator.
    sex = anatomy
    Gender = secondary sex characteristics

  41. RationalismRules says

    @RG

    My point was to resolve the question as to if the word gender was arbitrary or related to physical biological differences.

    Maybe next time just ask the question you actually want answered.
     

    Very good. Question answered. A+ for Rationator.
    sex = anatomy
    Gender = secondary sex characteristics

    Nope. Read it again.
    Secondary sex characteristics are sex not gender.
    Gender is an idea, a social construct. It used to be regarded as binary and entirely determined by biology. People who didn’t fit neatly into one of the two gender categories used to be ‘a problem’. Now that we have a more sophisticated concept of ‘normal’ we understand that the categories create the problem, not the people who don’t fit into them.

    While I can’t speak for what Jen meant when she said ‘arbitrary’, my assumption is that she was referring to the social ideas of ‘male’ and ‘female’ roles. To understand how those are arbitrary, think about how much they have changed over time, and how they differ in different societies.

  42. Murat says

    @jbking3
    Good point.
    The most plausible explanation is that they took the “hate” in that sentence as a “figure of spech”.
    Another thing somewhat off about that call was, right after she complained her parents telling her that was a phase and would go away, Jen telling her “it won’t, it’s there to stay…”
    I understand that, as a lesbian, she saw her past self in the caller and identified with the communication problems she was having with her loved ones. But, even by the standards the hosts hold dear, isn’t that too quick and unsupported a judgment to reach within a few minutes, talking to a stranger over the phone?
    Yes, a teenage girl who is not interested in the opposite sex at all is “likely” to become an adult lesbian, and yes, the reason her parents tend to stamp that as a “phase” in her life is kind of a “wishful thinking” in the light of “their” value judgments. Yet, there ARE people whose sexual orientations change over time, and I don’t think a “confirmation” of the caller’s own perspective was really necessary.
    “You are who you feel to be for the time being” would’ve been a better approach to take than saying “you will always be who you are now”.

  43. Murat says

    @RG @RR
    “Arbitrary” makes it sound like gender has absolutely nothing to do with anatomy for any given individual.
    “Gender is not necessarily determined by anatomy” would be a longer, yet, much more accurate statement.

  44. ironchops says

    It seems that most posters on these threads reject the claim there is at least one GOD because the evidence to back the claim is either too weak to believe or is a type of evidence not allowed in this forum, ie hearsay(eyewitness), anecdotal or rooted in ancient texts in which the meaning(context) has been lost or distorted.
    Question: Is there anyone on this blog/thread that will make the positive claim “there are no GODs” and provide sufficient evidence to back the claim?

  45. Murat says

    @ironchops

    Is there anyone on this blog/thread that will make the positive claim “there are no GODs” and provide sufficient evidence to back the claim?

    Reason guides us from the labyrinths of theism to the clear grounds of atheism. A reversal of the claim, a.k.a. anti-theism, seems almost equally unreasonable to me. Mankind may never reach a point of knowledge & intelligence sufficient to prove the “absence” of a god.
    I do not understand antitheism as a stance. It’s too far-fetched and pointless.

  46. Robert, not Bob says

    @ Murat, #52

    That depends on what you call a God. The physical definition (like, say, Aron Ra’s “magic anthropomorphic immortal”) may or may not be disprovable (though I think the concept is silly, and we’d have discarded it long ago if not for the power of religious institutions). But the social definition is something else: in my opinion, what Christians and Muslims really mean when they say “god” is the authority with the natural right to total power and complete moral license. I can say that such a being cannot exist and that consent of the governed always applies.No god! In that sense, at least.

  47. Murat says

    @Robert
    I think you are taking the path of proving THAT particular god being “inconsistent” within itself, as opposed to providing (cosmological, physical, mathematical) evidence for the absence of ANY god.
    Okay.
    But I’m not sure this kind of reasoning makes us go further than atheism and into antitheism.
    What I understand from antitheism is more bold an assertion, one covering the negations of much more than the deity definitions of existing religions.

  48. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Murat #52:

    I do not understand antitheism as a stance.

    Article: WIkipedia – Antitheism

    In secular contexts, it typically refers to direct opposition to the validity of theism, but not necessarily to the existence of a deity.
    […]
    Antitheism has been adopted as a label by those who regard theism as dangerous, destructive, or encouraging of harmful behavior. Christopher Hitchens offers an example […]: “I’m not even an atheist so much as I am an antitheist; I not only maintain that all religions are versions of the same untruth, but I hold that the influence of churches, and the effect of religious belief, is positively harmful.”

     

    A reversal of the claim […] seems almost equally unreasonable to me.

    54:

    covering the negations of much more than the deity definitions of existing religions

    Aside from generalizing from those definitions (and writing off, in principle, ‘definitions’ that are incoherent of vacuous), negating definitions that don’t yet exist is not an intelligible stance and, I think, the source of your confusion.

  49. Murat says

    @Sky Captain
    I’m not confused at all.
    I didn’t say I did not know the definition(s) of antitheism. I just don’t understand it as a stance.
    Think of it like knowing well what racism means, but not being able to feel the people who invest in it as an idea.

  50. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Murat #56:

    not being able to feel the people who invest in it as an idea.

     
    Shorter excerpt:

    Christopher Hitchens offers an example: […] I hold that the influence of churches, and the effect of religious belief, is positively harmful.

  51. Murat says

    @Sky Captain
    The context of antitheism which is in question here has nothing to do with that particular definition by Hitchens that you keep referring to.
    The posts you are quoting from were written in reply to @ironchops’ post #51, where he posed the following question:

    Question: Is there anyone on this blog/thread that will make the positive claim “there are no GODs” and provide sufficient evidence to back the claim?

    We were talking about pushing the idea that “there are no gods”; and not on that other, irrelevant definition focusing on influence of churches, and the effect of religious belief, as being positively harmful (which, if you ask separately, I agree with).

  52. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Murat #58:

    We were talking about pushing the idea that “there are no gods”; and not on that other, irrelevant definition

    Ah, ironchops requested evidence of universal absence. Black swan. You voiced disinterest in such a positive claim. I mistakenly interpreted that as an aside: wondering at how anyone would appear to hold that position (which I attempted to illustrate could occur when existence-testing isn’t the basis of investment). Withdrawn.

  53. StonedRanger says

    Ironchops: I don’t have to prove there isn’t a god, it isn’t up to me to prove there isn’t one, its up to the theists to prove there is one. In 62 years they have failed to prove a god exists to MY satisfaction (so far). If they cant prove one exists, I feel fairly confident saying the lack of evidence of a god is evidence that one doesn’t exist.

  54. Murat says

    Why is the show aired just once a week?
    Sunday evenings work for the hosts and crew, yeah, but isn’t something like “AXP: The Next Generation” possible, so that a younger pair of hosts can (maybe with a different approach) make use of the same studio on another day?
    Franchising is the mother of expansion.

  55. indianajones says

    How about this IronChops: I cannot rule out existence of a god claim. I can rule out any definition I have been presented. Noting that I have not been presented with even a coherent or meaningful definition yet, that’s easy. And even then I would need to see actuality. Unless, old saw I know,you count something along the lines of ‘Check out my totem pole!’ or what have you. In which case, I believe and would even try to convince other people, perhaps by shoving them into said totem pole or something.

    Leprechauns are magic beings who put gold at end of rainbows and will give it to you if you go there and keep a sufficient eye on them. I rule that out LESS than any god claim yet presented because I could potentially examine it .

  56. RationalismRules says

    @IronChops
    To claim “there are no…” is to set up a black swan fallacy (as Sky Captain #59). That we know of no evidence may simply indicate that we haven’t yet encountered that evidence.

    It’s more realistic to look at the god issue in terms of confidence levels. I am as confident that no gods exist as I am that no fairies exist, and for largely similar reasons. Happy to elaborate if you want.

    (An interesting counterpoint to the black swan argument, I recently watched Sean Carroll assert that we know all the fundamental particles now, and we know that we know this – in other words, he’s saying “there are no undiscovered fundamental particles”.)

  57. RG says

    @RationalismRules
    Wow, good show. I did go back and read again. I put sex’s secondary characteristics as a gender and it wasn’t that either. Let me try again.

    sex = “the anatomy of an individual’s reproductive system, and secondary sex characteristics”
    Gender = “social roles based on the sex of the person (gender role) or personal identification of one’s own gender based on an internal awareness (gender identity).”

    You know I even looked up the definition of secondary and characteristics yesterday and still jacked it up. Even worse I looked them up separately which doesn’t even mean the same thing as they do together which I looked up today. But, I copied and pasted it today so I feel confident. Since I am a simple person, and it is all just quotes off wiki anyways may I take the liberty to shorten them up?

    sex = references to anatomy
    Gender = Social roles or identity based on sex.

    Would you agree with that? I mean ignoring the white elephant in the room where it stated that in common language sex and gender are interchangeable. I mean I’m willing to refine my language over common usages.

    This morning I thought maybe even man or women might actually be referring to gender and not anatomy. So I looked it up a little and that’s what it looked like to me. If I want to include a person’s anatomy a better replacement for the word man is actually male or female for women. You have been pretty good at setting me straight so I figured I’d run that one by you and see what you think? Just for fun, I wonder if the people complaining about transgender bathrooms just changed the name on the door to male or female what would happen.

    @Murat

    “Arbitrary” makes it sound like gender has absolutely nothing to do with anatomy for any given individual.
    “Gender is not necessarily determined by anatomy” would be a longer, yet, much more accurate statement.

    Maybe not, maybe so.
    Sure, with your arbitrary comment. Gender if I go with my simple definition is based on anatomy, but just social roles, identity, or what have you. Gender may like you said or may not also refer to ones anatomy. I am just more interested in what does and does not exist physically over a title someone wants to give themselves.

    The more interesting comment would be your second one though to me. If gender is not necessarily determined by anatomy, then I would flip it and ask what does determine anatomy. Not biologically but linguistically. I think that might have already been answered earlier with male and female or the sex definition. That is also up for grabs at the moment so feel free to comment.

  58. RationalismRules says

    @RG
    That seems a reasonable summary, as I understand it anyway.

    I mean ignoring the white elephant in the room where it stated that in common language sex and gender are interchangeable

    Right, we are in a period of developing awareness of gender issues – common language will likely lag behind for some time. Also, common language often uses terms less rigorously than the accurate usage within a particular field – eg. ‘agnostic’ in common language being used to refer to what we might call a ‘soft atheist’ etc.

    As far as I know male/female is used for both sex and gender, while man/woman is someone who identifies themselves as male/female. I’m no expert on this subject, so I’m just going on the usage that I’ve encountered.

  59. Murat says

    @RG @RR
    There’s this new horror comedy on NetFlix, “Little Evil”. One of the supporting characters is a well-built lesbian working at the same office, right next to the protagonist who’s just become the adopted father of a kid. And throughout the movie, she’s referred to as a “father” herself. Gives tips on how to become a good father, etc. I was even confused, wondering if the female actress was in the role of a male.
    However, I recently saw the director retweet something along the lines of “thanks for portraying us lesbian parents very normally, as they deserve to be”.
    My understanding is that, if a lesbian couple adopts a kid, they both become “mothers”. I’d never imagine it would be regarded the “better” or “correct” thing to call a lesbian the “father” of her kid, regardless of her role towards her partner. “Fatherhood” implies masculinity after all, whereas lesbians (far as I know) do not particularly prefer being assigned any such identity in public based on their sexual orientation. It’s even regarded offensive.
    My best guess is that, though not mentioned in the movie, this fictional couple had that special arrangement of sharing mother and father roles for their kid. But, how is this something anyone is supposed to know? If you see a female parenting a kid, how do you know when making small talk whether to address her as a father or a mother?
    One important question is whether “gender” is a “public tag” or a very “personal” one for each individual to decide on. This ambiguity has become an area where people are almost being forced to violate some kind of PC language, regardless of what terminology they try to catch up with.

  60. Murat says

    * “female actor”, or, “actress”, of course… An error right on the money, one I couldn’t make ten years ago, ironically…

  61. ironchops says

    Fair enough. A positive claim of “NO GOD” cannot be demonstrated empirically and is as equally unreasonable as the claim “GOD is real”. Pointless at this time.
    I asked the question based on the explanation of GOD given by the first caller to her child. Paraphrased “God = all of the unanswerable questions of origins of the universe, origins of humanity, acts of nature and purpose for living”. All of these seem innate to us for some reason, I guess because we have a thinking brain/machine and are curious.
    It is unfortunate that there is no clear definition of “GOD/GODs”. My definition (base on descriptions in the bible) would be a being of some sort that lives outside of our universe that has the ability to manufacture universes and all the stuff in them and then can monitor, care for and or intervene at will whenever it desires for its own reasons. At this time we do not have the ability to see or detect anything outside of our universe. Some sciences posit there may be multiple universes however this has not been sufficiently demonstrated to warrant belief (it is entertaining to ponder).
    I agree that mostly religion is used as a tool by some to manipulate people, by exploiting emotions like shame and guilt, and ideas like justice and purpose to get them to become subservient and police themselves according to a set of standards. If religion is not an actual governing body it provides a great position to apply influence to manipulate a government. Religion is most often merely a club! Most of the people in it only proclaim belief in GOD but really believe in the standards set out by the club. When pressed they spew out all the programed responses without any thought what so ever.
    -Thanks for the responses

  62. ironchops says

    Different topic – When a human child is born with outside plumbing only it’s sex is labeled Male (boy, masculine) so I would give it a masculine gendered name. Is that acceptable? As he grows to maturity he discovers that his mind is feminine and defines his gender as female and becomes her. At this point plumbing is irrelevant. Question – Is this an acceptable understanding?

  63. Murat says

    As he grows to maturity he discovers that his mind is feminine and defines his gender as female and becomes her.

    By which process does that happen in your example?

  64. findmore info says

    The parents job are to care for the welfare of their children as they grow up.
    If the baby is a boy, give him a boy’s name. If the baby is a girl, give her a girl’s name.

    1)Such name that the public is familiar with associating with the child’s sex.
    2) (Using a normal boy as an example) As the boy knows more children, starts going to school,
    how would he explain why he has a girl’s name, how would he understand why he is being bullied for having a girl’s name.
    3)The boy goes back and ask the parents why they gave him a girl’s name. He ask if he is different from other boys?
    4)Will having a girl’s name make the boy’s life easier as he becomes a teenager (school, social life) and an adult?
    5)Are the parents thinking for themselves or the boy when they gave him a girl’s name.

    These are some of the questions I would consider.

  65. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat
    Last time this came up on the blog (forget which thread), the poster Jared dropped a series of long comments about “gender imprinting” which you may find informative. Of course, we don’t actually need to know the specific process; we need only to observe that this is what happens (and it does).

    But, how is this something anyone is supposed to know? If you see a female parenting a kid, how do you know when making small talk whether to address her as a father or a mother?

    You could just ask in a tactful manner. Or you could just avoid giving the label entirely; it’s not difficult.

    One important question is whether “gender” is a “public tag” or a very “personal” one for each individual to decide on. This ambiguity has become an area where people are almost being forced to violate some kind of PC language, regardless of what terminology they try to catch up with.

    This has come up before, but you seem to have bought into right-wing claptrap regarding “political correctness.” There aren’t hordes of transgender people just waiting for you to “assume their gender” so they can act offended and throw a tantrum. That just doesn’t happen. It’s all bullshit. Nobody in real life is expecting you to know everything; you are merely expected to be open to understanding.

    @ironchops
    To my understanding, that is a very fair portrayal.

  66. says

    Monocle Smile@73: Or you could guess, be corrected, apologise and carry on. It’s not as though it’s fatal to call someone “she” or “he” and be wrong.

  67. Murat says

    It’s not as though it’s fatal to call someone “she” or “he” and be wrong.

    Yeah, it shouldn’t be fatal. But then, where’s the congratulation for directly placing a lesbian parent into a script as a “father” coming from? That was the particular detail I was bringing to your attention.
    To be “corrected”, you need to have acted against a basis assumption for starters.
    If there is none, then we should practically say “gender identity is not a public tag, but definitely a personal choice”. That would end all inquiry on the issue.

  68. Murat says

    * the “choice” there may be changed with “orientation” or “situation” or whatever – yeah, I know it’s not a “choice”, not for most.

  69. ironchops says

    Murat, Due to a total lack of experience I can’t know how this would come about realistically. I could only react to the change. So I just don’t know. How do people figure this out? I can only imagine how difficult it would be with all of the outside pressure one would receive form family, friends and society.

    Findmore, I have a very good friend (male) named Shirley, which was originally a male name but in this modern age is usually a female name. He married a woman named Shirley. Wild huh! We call him Blinky (his request). He is just to big to pick on. I would give a boy a boy’s name and a girl a girls name at birth based on appearance. I would say as a parent that I (would like to think) would notice a trend or shift in personality and be supportive as the child came to grips with this. Earlier in life I not accept it so easily if at all.

    Thanks MS, At one time not so long ago I would only ridicule. Now I am trying to understand and accept without judgment.

  70. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat

    Yeah, it shouldn’t be fatal. But then, where’s the congratulation for directly placing a lesbian parent into a script as a “father” coming from? That was the particular detail I was bringing to your attention.

    Maybe you should ask the person who originally tweeted. My personal suggestion…stop scrutinizing tweets and other “white noise” like youtube comments and shit like that. Best guess…the gender/sexual orientation of the character in question is not the focus of the plot, and that’s what’s being appreciated.
    FWIW, Wiki states that the character in question is specifically gender non-binary.

  71. Murat says

    No, you’re not. The lesbian character in the movie is presented as a “father”, and my question, which rests, was on how come that was “normalizing”.
    Guess it takes a lesbian who’s seen it to reply to that.

  72. Monocle Smile says

    *facepalm*
    Dude, that specific thing is not the “normalizing” part. All “normalizing” means in that context is “there’s a lesbian character and being a lesbian is not a plot point.” Or maybe ask a lesbian, like you said.
    I have no idea why you’re latched onto the “father” thing. Maybe it’s just humor and it’s gone a mile over your head? It IS a horror comedy, after all. The movie only has a 5.7 rating on IMDb, so I probably won’t watch. Not sure why this is a thing for you.

  73. Murat says

    It was the most relevant thing to what @RG and @RR was bringing on the table. I had mentioned it in a reply addressed to them.

  74. Monocle Smile says

    I got that, but you’ve been provided lots of this information in the past and have been told before to just ask and it’ll be okay. I don’t think this is a hard topic to understand or at least navigate. If you feel differently, just say so (and stop dropping “PC” whenever this comes up) and I’ll just leave your stuff alone.

    Also, a tweet isn’t exactly indicative of status quo or what’s acceptable. In fact, twitter is probably the last place you should look. Very low signal-to-noise ratio.

  75. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Monocle Smile #73:

    Last time this came up on the blog (forget which thread), the poster Jared dropped a series of long comments about “gender imprinting”

    Comment: Ep 21.25 – Jared #33
    Comment: Ep 21.25 – Jared #56
    Comment: Ep 21.25 – Jared #74 (w/ reference links)

  76. Murat says

    I used to own a PC but then I upgraded to Mac.
    They both help provide and store information but what matters much more is how one uniquely processes it. Hence, different takes on issues, varying comments, questions and ideas.
    Thanks to this, the world ain’t monovocal.

  77. Robert, not Bob says

    @Murat, #54
    I know, of course, that the position “nothing anyone might call a god exists” is meaningless, as you end up with the “coffee cup god”. I don’t believe anybody actually holds that position, and I don’t believe your definition of hard antitheism actually exists. I’m going for the practical here, and if it isn’t owed obedience and reverence, it’s not what either theists or hard antithests are calling a god. Sure, we can wander off into the weeds arguing about different definitions, but as far as I can see, it’s the only really useful definition.

  78. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Murat #87:

    They both help provide and store information but what matters much more is how one uniquely processes it. Hence, different takes on issues, varying comments, questions and ideas.
    Thanks to this, the world ain’t monovocal.

     
    Article: Wikipedia – Political correctness

    The term political correctness (adjectivally: politically correct; commonly abbreviated to PC or P.C.) is used to describe the avoidance of language or actions that are seen as excluding, marginalizing, or insulting groups of people who are seen as disadvantaged or discriminated against, especially groups defined by sex or race.

    That’s the opposite of monovocal.
     

    In mainstream political discourse and media, the term is generally used as a pejorative, implying that these policies are excessive.
    […]
    conservative author Dinesh D’Souza’s 1991 book Illiberal Education, in which he condemned what he saw as liberal efforts to advance self-victimization, multiculturalism through language, affirmative action, and changes to the content of school and university curricula.
     
    Commentators on the left have said that conservatives pushed the term in order to divert attention from more substantive matters of discrimination and as part of a broader culture war against liberalism.

  79. Murat says

    @Sky Captian
    You love quoting from Wikipedia so much that you miss out on the simplicity of certain puns 🙂

  80. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat
    No, it’s just that there’s nothing funny about someone apparently tone-deaf to the connotation of a certain term attempting to employ lame humor by playing with said term.

  81. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @RationalismRules #63:

    An interesting counterpoint to the black swan argument, I recently watched Sean Carroll assert that we know all the fundamental particles now, and we know that we know this – in other words, he’s saying “there are no undiscovered fundamental particles”.

    I couldn’t find that particular clip. However I’ve often seen him make the following argument regarding souls and mind-body dualism – and more generally, the comprehensiveness of physics relevant to everyday human experience.
     
    Video: Sean Carroll interview in a 2014 GammaAtheist hangout (26:06-29:40)

    Mostly, I’m atoms. […] So we have from quantum field theory a very very very precise and quantitative theory of how those particles interact: how they move around, how they bump into each other, how they combine, what happens when an electron meets an atom, and so forth. There are equations that as far as we know, these equations are never violated. There’s never been any experiment ever done in the history of science that has shown us any violation of these equations that govern the motion, the interaction, of electrons and atoms that make up you and me.
     
    Given those ingredients interacting via the rules of quantum field theory, there certainly is no afterlife. […] In order for there to be some essence of you that survives the destruction of your body, there needs to be some thing that interacts with your atoms […] Either it is by the rules of quantum field theory, in which case it’s ruled out, or it is a dramatic violation of the rules of quantum field theory, which is possible but is against every experiment we’ve ever done.
    […]
    The set of things that we DO know includes everything about the behavior of the atoms that make up you and me. It’s a complete consistent full theory. There CAN be within the ordinary laws of physics other particles, other forces we haven’t detected yet, but we KNOW that they play no role whatsoever in the operation of you and me.
     
    Either they’re strong enough to be detected, and we would’ve found them. Or they’re too weak, and they have no possible way of affecting the atoms inside your brain. […] You could always say there’s some ghost hiding under the bed that turns invisible every time you look. How do you rule that out!? But if there’s no need for it, no evidence for it, and it contradicts everything you know, you better make a pretty strong case.

  82. RationalismRules says

    @Sky Captain
    Yes, I had a dismal failure of both memory and context. You have the right point, although mine came from a different clip (link here).

    My memory fail: we know every fundamental particle
    What he actually said (in my link): “We know enough to say that if there are any other forces, particles, fields, phenomena, they can’t affect the atoms in your brain, because either they’re so weak that they would have no effect on what the atoms are doing, or we would have found them.”

    My context fail: he is specifically talking about our brains, and life after death being impossible.

  83. RG says

    @RationalismRules
    I don’t know how to do the fancy quotes so I’ll just use marks.
    “As far as I know male/female is used for both sex and gender, while man/woman is someone who identifies themselves as male/female.”

    The wiki on gender posted earlier
    “Although a person’s sex as male or female stands as a biological fact that is identical in any culture, what that specific sex means in reference to a person’s gender role as a woman or a man in society varies cross culturally according to what things are considered to be masculine or feminine.[31]”

    Come on Rationalism after scolding me for not reading the entire thing. No but really, thanks for all your feedback, I’ll finish up with this one.

    @Murat says
    “One important question is whether “gender” is a “public tag” or a very “personal” one for each individual to decide on. “

    I’d like to see Matt get a hold of that decision. Since of course we don’t really “make” decisions. But, really that’s a good question. I think I can work through it though. Okay gender cannot be separated in public vs. personal arenas. Gender may be public, private, or both. Internal awareness and social roles allows for gender to be in either arenas or both. I think Jen was right.
    How about this one. After all my searching this last week on the subject it’s funny how little sexual orientation is mentioned (just a comment.) I mean I could be physically a female, with a man’s gender identity, but still be heterosexual. I guess men can give birth after all. Didn’t think I was going to lose that one when I posted it.

    Oh the joys of language

  84. RationalismRules says

    @RG

    After all my searching this last week on the subject it’s funny how little sexual orientation is mentioned.

    Different issues. There’s no reason both would be mentioned in the same discussions.
     

    I mean I could be physically a female, with a man’s gender identity, but still be heterosexual.

    Again, failure of simplistic labels. A more nuanced view of sexual orientation is that it is a continuum, rather than discrete classes. But to your specific point, the terms male-attracted and female-attracted might clear up that particular confusion.

    More importantly though, is such a label still necessary or even useful? Why not just accept that people like to get it on with other people, and dividing them up by ‘orientation’ is irrelevant and unhelpful.
     
    [BTW: if you want to try the ‘fancy quotes’, you type it like this:
    <blockquote>quoted text goes here</blockquote>
    Don’t neglect the “/” or your entire post will end up as a quote. It’s useful to “preview” before you “post comment” when using html modifiers, as it’s easy to screw it up]

  85. findmore info says

    I mean I could be physically a female, with a man’s gender identity, but still be heterosexual. I guess men can give birth after all.

    1) Heterosexual, (Dictionary) that would mean you are sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex. If so, your partner is a woman, how would that make you pregnant?
    .
    2)Even if ” men can…” it doesn’t mean “men will…” do it.
    Example.
    “You can commit heinous crimes but will you do it?”
    “You can close your eyes, walk across speeding traffic but will you do it?”
    .
    3)With a man’s gender identity wouldn’t that usually means:
    You would not want to be known with a female’s name.
    You would not want to be wearing female’s clothing.
    You certainly would not want to be pregnant.
    . .

    Didn’t think I was going to lose that one when I posted it.
    Oh the joys of language

    You might not lose that one, but someone might have to pick that up for you.
    And that someone is the child.
    Let’s assume you (you with a man’s gender identity) gave birth to a child.
    Reasonably, the child would call you, “Dad”, “Father”.
    4)How would you explain to your child why you are different from other male “Dads”?
    5)How would your child explain to his/her friends,”My dad/father gave birth to me.”?
    6)How would you explain to your child why he/she is being harassed and bullied because of you?
    .
    Just some thoughts… no offense to anyone.

  86. Monocle Smile says

    @findmore info

    4)How would you explain to your child why you are different from other male “Dads”?
    5)How would your child explain to his/her friends,”My dad/father gave birth to me.”?
    6)How would you explain to your child why he/she is being harassed and bullied because of you?

    Why would this be hard? A child doesn’t have the bias and prejudices of the shitty people who have fooled you into thinking this is difficult to explain. This reminds me of the homophobes who scream “how do I explain to my kid that his classmate has two dads?” As Louis CK says, “it’s your shitty kid. You fuckin’ tell ’em. Why is that anyone else’s problem?”

    Gender != sex. It’s really that simple. Why people make this out to be akin to splitting the atom is beyond me.

  87. Vivec says

    4)How would you explain to your child why you are different from other male “Dads”?
    5)How would your child explain to his/her friends,”My dad/father gave birth to me.”?
    6)How would you explain to your child why he/she is being harassed and bullied because of you?

    4. “Daddy can do things other daddies can’t, we can talk about it more when you’re older.”
    5. “My dad gave birth to me.”
    6. “Some people are terrible and close minded, and if people make fun of you for having a dad like me, they aren’t worth listening to.”

  88. hostilecyclist says

    StonedRanger said:

    “Ironchops: I don’t have to prove there isn’t a god, it isn’t up to me to prove there isn’t one, its up to the theists to prove there is one. In 62 years they have failed to prove a god exists to MY satisfaction (so far). If they cant prove one exists, I feel fairly confident saying the lack of evidence of a god is evidence that one doesn’t exist.”

    *

    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. This the the black swan problem several have mentioned.

    *

    As far as who must prove what, I have a problem with atheists simply saying that they have no burden of proof because they are not making a positive claim. However, if your goal is to convince someone your position is correct you certainly do have the “burden” of being persuasive.

  89. Monocle Smile says

    @hostilecyclist

    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

    This is incorrect. Absence of evidence is indeed evidence of absence (where evidence is expected), it’s just not proof of absence. It’s important to distinguish this from the black swan fallacy, and I don’t think Matt gets it right all the time, to be honest.

    However, if your goal is to convince someone your position is correct you certainly do have the “burden” of being persuasive.

    Burden of being persuasive, sure. That’s different from the burden of proof. Atheists are not required to prove that no gods exist.

  90. StonedRanger says

    @hostilecyclist My goal is not to convince anyone that Im correct. I frankly don’t care whether people believe me when I say ‘I am an atheist’ or not. If you want me to believe in your god, then you most certainly do have a burden of proof because in my mind only a fool believes something on faith. I have not said a god does not exist. I say I am not convinced when theists tell me one does exist. Those are not the same thing. How many times does that need to be said?

  91. Devocate says

    “Question: Is there anyone on this blog/thread that will make the positive claim “there are no GODs” and provide sufficient evidence to back the claim?”

    Sure, but not until a rigorous definition of ‘god’ is agreed on. It is pretty easy to *prove* that gods like the one described in the bible can’t exist. It is trickier with gods like the sun god. I think we all agree that the sun exists, so what does it mean to say that the sun god doesn’t?

  92. RationalismRules says

    @hostilecyclist

    As far as who must prove what, I have a problem with atheists simply saying that they have no burden of proof because they are not making a positive claim. However, if your goal is to convince someone your position is correct you certainly do have the “burden” of being persuasive.

    The point of the ‘burden of proof’ argument is to point out that “you can’t prove there’s no god” is not a reason to believe any god exists. The time to believe in something is when we have good reason to believe, not because we can’t prove otherwise.

    Replace ‘god’ with ‘fairies’ and think about your points in that context. Is there any onus on the fairy-non-believer to prove they don’t exist? Or is it enough to show where the ‘evidence’ of their existence fails?
    Why would a different standard apply to ‘god’?

    If my goal is to persuade someone to my position, then sure, I need to be persuasive. But if my position is “there is no good reason to believe in your god”, then all I need do is show where your evidence fails, not show evidence to the contrary.