Open thread for episode 22.01: Russell and John


  1. StonedRanger says

    What happened to episode 21-50? You couldn’t post it all week and then you post this one a day early? Im confused.

  2. Boris says

    Sooo annoying that we can’t just comment beneath the exact video we wanna comment on, right there and then on you tube…. and when I then click on the link (provided in the you tube description box), in order to comment, it doesn’t bring me to the specific video either, but I have to search for it, among all the other clips available, sigh….
    I’ve asked (f.i on one of Matt Delahunti’s videos) for the reason(s) why the atheist experience disables the comment section, pointing out that it’s usually the god-believing channels, doing so (a pretty strong reason NOT to do the same, I’d say), but haven’t received a response (yet), but I’d like to point out that I don’t find arguments about _trolls_ polluting discussion-threads, not very convincing (since those flush themselves out quite easily, nowadays, and otherwise it’s a great tool to learn how to recognize trolls too: we don’t need protection from the evil outside world, is what I’m saying, and shutting down complete comment sections, is actually like throwing in the towel, surrendering to the bullshitters, isn’t it?
    Anyway: I’d love to see that policy changed, or be explained why it isn’t.
    Keep up the good work, though, folks! It’s very much so needed, in this day and age, so thanks for that!

  3. Boris says

    I of course meant to say that I don’t find the troll-argument very convincing (sorry ’bout that)

  4. kdawg21 says

    Im an atheist, if god is real, whg cant he reveal himself to everyone in the same way that would be convincing whether they believe or not?

  5. EvolvedDutchie says

    Concerning the topic of morality that’s now on air: I’ve never understood why Christians are concerned with morality. I thought God did not want Adam and Eve (and humans) to eat the forbidden fruit and know the difference between good and evil? I’m always surprised when Christians throw morality at us atheists.

  6. paxoll says

    For any time a person brings up morality. An ought statement is meaningless without a qualifying if. You ought to eat vegetables IF you want to be healthy. If someone says you ought to do something without a qualifying if the rational response is why. You ought to not steal. Why? This prompts the qualifying statement, because it is wrong. Why is it wrong? Because god said so? Its wrong based on something, and however that is answered can be rewritten as “you ought to not steal IF you want to go to heaven” or “IF you want people to trust you”. This brings the person back around to the fact that morality is a rational judgement based on personal values.

  7. Northern MN Grandma says

    Russell and John, thank you for a great show done under extreme circumstances. I live in an area that is wacked-out Christian and each week I cling to the fact that I will be infused with The Atheist Experience show. I am sure there are others around me that do not believe in Christianity but, like me, know the repercussions are HUGE to come out publicly. When I learned of your technical difficulties, I must admit I had selfish thoughts of “Oh no …” Thank you ever so much for hanging in there. You and your organization do not know what a lifeline you throw out each week. My best to you all in 2018. I for one am thrilled that 2017 is behind us!

  8. Mobius says

    One consolation to the Internet being down for AXP is that there was no sign of Hammish or Sam from London. Yeah!

  9. Mobius says

    Oh, and I agree with StonedRanger…what happened to episode 21.50? The video is up on the YouTube channel. There is one statement the guest made that I really wanted to comment on. Guess it’s too late now.

  10. Søren Kongstad says

    The person asking about is/ought got a little to literal.
    Of course ought concerns itself with what is – but you cannot derive the ought fully from what is.
    Take the instincts – human beings have an instinct to survive – that is an observable fact – but why should that affect what we ought to do – how can the fact that people want to survive support that we ought not kill people?

    Only if you believe that we ought to comply to peoples will to live can you deduce that we ought not kill people – but now we are not relying solely on what is – but rather on what we believe ought to be important.

    Some moral systems such as many types of utilitarianism have only a few requirements of a priori oughts, before you can deduce what you ought to do by looking at what is. But if we do not agree that we ought to support human flourishing, or reduce the suffering of conscious being or other statements about morals, then no analyzing of what is will bring you to an ought.

  11. John Iacoletti says

    Apologies. The cohost is usually responsible for creating the blog thread, but Clare was a guest presenter and doesn’t have access to the blog. I’ll get one created for last week’s show.

  12. John Iacoletti says

    Boris, on the left hand side of this very page you’ll see a link that says “Why are YouTube comments disabled?”. Click on it.

  13. says

    søren @ 10:

    Take the instincts – human beings have an instinct to survive – that is an observable fact – but why should that affect what we ought to do – how can the fact that people want to survive support that we ought not kill people?

    for humans whose empathy chip is “on” (the factory default setting for social creatures), human suffering is never a purely philosophical question. they feel bad when other humans are hurt and feel good when others are happy. these feelings intensify if another’s hurt or happiness is a consequence of one’s own actions. humans whose empathy chip is “off” or damaged are forced to deal with other people’s suffering as an intellectual abstraction.

    so in general if humans want to be happy, they ought not to hurt other humans, and that happiness can be rationally justified.

    no man is an island entire of itself; every man
    is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
    if a clod be washed away by the sea, europe
    is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
    well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
    own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
    because I am involved in mankind
    and therefore never send to know for whom
    the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

    — john donne

  14. StonedRanger says

    Thanks John for getting last weeks and this weeks shows up on the blog for us.
    Boris @#2 They already have posted reasons why they don’t want to open up you tube to comments and you have already said you don’t accept their reasons (as posted) as to why they don’t allow comments on you tube. You found your way here and posted twice, not sure what more you want from them as you’ve already said you don’t accept their reasons as stated. Aside from opening you tube to comments which they’ve quite clearly stated they aren’t/won’t do what is it you want from them? How hard is it to scan the page for the most current video here on the blog? Unless you want to go back weeks/months/years its no harder to do that here than it is on you tube. It not like they are asking for blood samples or your first born male child. And since you found yourself here and posted, its a bit much ado about nothing now, wouldn’t you say?

  15. julianne says

    I don’t understand why theists are given priority over atheists. The show is called “Atheist Experience”, not “Theists ask dumb questions over and over again” or “Troll the atheists” and most arguments that the theists bring forth have been heard over and over again. Maybe instead of giving theists (blanket statement) priority over atheists, you could give interesting and unique topics priority over things that have been heard over and over again.

    We can’t change the theists’ worldviews anyway, most of them are so stuck in their indoctrination that it doesn’t matter whether your argument is convincing or not. Instead, you should talk to agnostic people who are unsure of how to approach questions about whether God exists or not, you should talk to atheists who struggle with their atheism, you should talk to people who bring up interesting points or have interesting stories instead of listening to the umpteenth “If there is no God, where do you get your morality from?!!!” or “Look at the trees around you! That’s gaaawd!!!” argument.

  16. Mattmon666 says

    This is regarding the call that mentioned “Whiz Kids” as a program for religious indoctrination of children.

    In reality, what Whiz Kids is, is a support group for people suffering from excessive urination.

  17. StonedRanger says

    Julianne, this is an easy one to answer. They give theists priority because they will have the same questions/arguments as most agnostic theists have. The conversations on the show are not happening to try and convert the caller, but to give information and arguments to those theist listeners who cant/wont/ call in and ask for themselves. The hosts/co-hosts know that they are unlikely to convert any given caller, but there are plenty of theists in the world who haven’t heard the counters for the theist apologetics. The calls are for those people. You might notice that every week they do indeed talk to atheist callers about the very topics you mentioned. They don’t need to convince atheists of their point of view, hence the name of the show is for those who do not share or know of the actual things that we atheists either do or don’t believe.

    If you think it is boring or irritating or just downright maddening to discuss the same things week after week, imagine how the hosts/co-hosts of the show must feel after doing this for years ( and more than a decade for most of them). But the point of the show is to pass on information for those who haven’t heard it before. This show has converted more than a few theists in the 20 or so years the show has been on. If you’ve heard the argument they are currently involved in when you watch the show then do something else for that portion of the show. No one is forcing you to watch anything you don’t find interesting. I usually wait until the show is posted on the blog or on you tube to watch it so I can fast forward past any caller who I don’t find interesting. Perhaps that might be a viable option for you too.

  18. julianne says


    But there’s plenty of resources out there, believers would just have to search for it. Why does a theist who is too intellectually lazy to do some basic research take precedence over a struggling atheist or agnostic? Why do people like Hamish get time on the show over and over again when it’s so clear that they’re just trolling while there’s atheists or agnostic people out there who could use a word of encouragement, help to continue their line of questioning or who have something highly interesting to talk about that would broaden all of our horizons? There was an atheist lady who called because she was terrified of hell and had nightmares about it, as far as I remember the show hosts helped her feel better. Now imagine there was one more theist call that day and this lady would not have come through… Does that sound fair to you? Because it doesn’t sound fair to me.

    The problem isn’t that this is something I can’t deal with. I definitely can deal with repeated callers and repeated arguments, I’m just worried that people who could actually use the show host’s insights can’t get it because theists receive preferential treatment, especially considering that they have a vast repertoire of information right at their fingertips and the arguments they bring have been answered dozens of time. Do they really deserve more time of the show than atheists and agnostics when they can’t even take five minutes to check if their argument has been answered before?

    What is downright maddening to me is thinking about the people whose minds are open and who could use a pointer into the right direction or who have a really interesting, thought-provoking question and who get glossed over because of yet another theist asking why we’re so mad at god.

  19. paxoll says

    Julianne your argument can be used completely in reverse. Atheists and agnostics have answers at their fingertips too. Afraid of death? That topic has been dealt with repeatedly on the show. Afraid of “coming out” to family, or at work? That topic has been dealt with repeatedly on the show as well. It’s not easy to find any specific answer from this show without spending hours clicking through videos. The purpose of the show is to explain to people what atheists think about theistic claims, essentially why atheists are atheists. I haven’t heard any interesting thing from an atheist caller in the 2 years I’ve been watching every week. Most of the time it is, oh here is my story on how I got out of religion, or here’s a story about a stupid theist I had to deal with. Almost every single atheist caller starts with, let me quickly tell you about myself. I don’t care. Does a story about a family doing crappy things to their children because of their religious beliefs have any impact on the validity of that religions beliefs? No. As a humanist, I care about someone being treated badly, but it has absolutely nothing to do with me being an atheist.

  20. julianne says

    So what? Yes, you can also use that argument but then you’re still only at “You should not give preference to atheists”. Where does the “You should instead give preference to theists” part come in? It would only be fair if the only preference was based on how pressing the issue is and whether or not it’s been answered/talked about recently.

  21. paxoll says

    How is anything of the issues discussed “pressing issue”? Well, like a doctor dealing with patients, do you prioritize see someone who is actively sick or do you see someone who is healthy? While it is important to see patients regularly for a “well” visit, it is more important to see someone who is actively ill. It’s also not a bad analogy considering you could categorize religion as a form of delusion.

  22. julianne says

    But that’s exactly what I’m saying? You’re making the argument that the doctor should prioritize the person who is well over the person who is bleeding to death. If an atheist has nightmares day after day, feels lost and doesn’t know how to go on with life then in my opinion that’s a bit more pressing than a christian who wants to debate whether or not slavery is supported by the bible.

  23. paxoll says

    No, that is not the argument I’m making, because if someone has real mental illness they need to talk to a psychiatrist not an online atheist.

  24. Monocle Smile says

    You whiffed on the analogy.

    If an atheist has nightmares day after day, feels lost and doesn’t know how to go on with life

    Then they need to seek professional help pronto, not call into an internet talk show. The hosts recognize this, given their numerous referrals to the Secular Therapist project, etc.

    then in my opinion that’s a bit more pressing than a christian who wants to debate whether or not slavery is supported by the bible.

    Uh…where exactly do you live? Because while you’ve chosen a rather extreme example, the US is still under a very strong influence of christianity and pulling it apart is worthwhile.

    who have something highly interesting to talk about that would broaden all of our horizons?

    Pray tell, when was the last time this happened?

  25. StonedRanger says

    @ Julianne So this is nothing more than a gripe about the way the show is run, with no real truth to what youre saying. The show has almost always given theists call priority. You make a wildly unsupported assumption that the hosts ignore atheist calls when they don’t do that at all. Every week just about, they have a conversation with one or two atheists on the show. I myself, don’t really care about the atheist calls, because I consider it preaching to the choir as it were. How do you know that there are just scads of atheists out there having nightmares each night who are aching to call in but just cant get through because of all those pesky theists who keep calling in? The hosts on this show are quite empathetic and if an atheist calls with concerns about things like fears of hell, they take those calls. You assert they don’t, and id like to know where you get your information. If you are having issues about those things perhaps YOU should call the show. I personally have never heard one single christian call in show even take calls from the opposition like AXP does. If you want to hear more atheist calls you could always start your own internet call in show and you can run it anyway you like. But im going to bet you wont even consider that because its always easier to complain about something than it is to actually do something about it.

  26. Nathan says

    @ Julianne they prioritize theist over atheist because those calls are actually entertaining, atheist callers are some of the most boring things to listen to.

  27. Chris Knudson says

    The absurd arguments justifying a carnivore diet, while dismissing out of hand the immorality of said diet, does not serve the people involved well. Apparently, theists are not the only ones who can cherry pick evidence to suit their needs…

  28. julianne says

    Actually, in this case complaining is literally harder than implementing the change because all they would have to do is prioritize interesting calls over arguments that have been heard again and again (they’re already prioritizing so it would be no different concerning the amount of work the show makes) while I’m sitting here talking to a wall who thinks my opinions aren’t valid because I don’t have my own show.

    And of course this is nothing more than a gripe about the way the show is run, it’s not like I ever made it out to be anything more than that. I never signed up for a debate with you either, all I wanted is to state my opinion on something that I think could be done better but here I am, being attacked by you because how dare I think this show is anything less than perfect.

    Seriously, no wonder this place is an echo chamber.

  29. StonedRanger says

    Julianne, just stop. At no point in this conversation did I say this show is perfect, nor has anyone else. Replying to your post is not an attack, and not agreeing with you is not an attack either. No one ever said your opinion was not valid. No one has represented this show as being perfect. You are entitled to your opinions as are we, and everyone is welcome to respond to anyone elses comments. That’s what would occur on you tube, so I don’t get why you think it is going to be any different here. If you don’t want people to respond to your posts then maybe you shouldn’t post on the blog. You can just email the show and that way no one will upset you by disagreeing with you. Ive heard the echo chamber response before and it still isn’t a valid complaint. You got butthurt because no one agreed with you and that’s your right, but don’t expect anyone else to join in your pity party.

  30. Monocle Smile says

    What’s interesting is that several of us were fine with having a discussion. It’s only now that you get butthurt and leave a number of unanswered questions on the table. You were merely asked to back up your statements, and it seems like that was too much for you.

    And of course this is nothing more than a gripe about the way the show is run, it’s not like I ever made it out to be anything more than that

    See, this strikes me as trolling. I don’t believe you’re a troll, of course, but you’re basically getting upset that people take issue with nonconstructive feedback and want you to substantiate your comments. You mentioned “interesting topics” and all you came up with was a type of call that is largely inappropriate for the show to handle. Are you surprised at the response?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *