1. sayamything says

    I’ll probably comment more in the morning when I’m more awake, but I just wanted to say we already know who the prime moover is, and it’s Moohamed.

  2. Robin says

    Thomas is one of the people is always at the activities of a community but when pressed on why he is part of the group, has evasive reasons to be there.

    I mean what is the point then???

  3. suedoenimm3 says

    What if I’m wrong? What would I ask God (or Allah) if I found myself before him? I’d ask, “Can you get me Superman’s autograph?”

  4. t90bb says

    To the muslim guy asking atheists….if you were to die and appear before god..what would you say??

    What if he dies and finds himself before the Christian God?? what would HE say?

  5. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Russell (1:08:48):

    I just went to a talk by my friend Daniel who is a physicist. […] For a while there was some amount of uncertainty about whether the universe would continue expanding (and die of cold basically), or would collapse back in on itself and crunch. […] The answers are somewhat surprising and that’s why the concept of dark matter came up. […] You already said something wrong, which is, “People assume there’s going to be a heat death of the universe.” That’s actually not where we’re at right now.

    I’m curious what Daniel at CERN had to say last week, because Russell’s statement is inconsistent with what I’ve heard.
    Article: Wikipedia – Big Crunch

    Recent experimental evidence (namely the observation of distant supernovae as standard candles, and the well-resolved mapping of the cosmic microwave background) has led to speculation that the expansion of the universe is not being slowed down by gravity but rather accelerating. However, since the nature of the dark energy that is postulated to drive the acceleration is unknown, it is still possible (though not observationally supported as of today) that it might eventually reverse its developmental path and cause a collapse.

    Article: Wikipedia – Ultimate Fate of the Universe

    Factors that need to be considered in determining the universe’s origin and ultimate fate include: the average motions of galaxies, the shape and structure of the universe, and the amount of dark matter and dark energy that the universe contains.
    The fate of the universe is determined by its density. The preponderance of evidence to date, based on measurements of the rate of expansion and the mass density, favors a universe that will continue to expand indefinitely, resulting in the “Big Freeze” scenario below.

  6. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Myself #7:
    /Remembers to check the opening segment for the author’s full name.
    Video: Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson – We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe (48:42-51:11)

    A) [Enough stuff to stop expansion: Big Crunch.]
    B) There’s not enough stuff in the universe. Things will eventually slow down, but never enough to stop. […] Heat Death.
    Secret Option C) What’s actually happening is […] stuff didn’t slow down at all. […] It’s accelerating.
    (50:30): Dark energy describes our knowledge of the fact that the universe is being torn apart. Galaxies are getting pushed away from each other faster and faster every single year. Something is creating new space between us and these other galaxies. What is it: we don’t know. Why is it doing it: we don’t know. Is it gonna continue doing it, or is it gonna stop: we don’t know. […] It’s difficult to predict the future if you have no understanding of what the most powerful force in the universe is.

    Okay, there was a miscommunication regarding “heat death”.

  7. The Sparrow says

    Good show this week.

    The 14 year old kid who was self conscious of sounding like a “hick” actually said some pretty bright stuff. Keep it up kid, you’re doing fine!

    For the physicist….
    It’s been said before, even by the hosts. Why would an ‘amatuer’ physicist with something ground breaking to offer, call an atheist call in show. (or for that matter, posts is ‘findings” on an internet forum)

  8. rocketdave says

    @William Dugger:

    Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. As a fan of Douglas Adams, that’s a show I’ve been meaning to check out.

  9. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @rocketdave #11:
    With its pacing and tangled plot, I recommend setting aside time to marathon several episodes at once.

  10. jacobfromlost says

    Years ago there was a caller with a nasally voice who always sounded completely bored. He called in once to claim he had a groundbreaking theory (on physics or biology or something) that occurred to him in 8th grade walking home from school. How unfair it was no one in the field would ever listen to him! So he called AE for some reason, and whined about how smart his theory was and how no one would listen to him. The hosts tore his “theory” apart in 5 seconds.

  11. Monocle Smile says

    No, jacobfromlost is talking about Johanan from some obscure nowhere. That dude bored everyone to tears throwing together random nonsense from “what the bleep do we know.”

  12. ytre says

    mcKinley… 14 year old boy…. My ass….. you dont have the vocal inflections of a 40 yr old lesbian if youre a 14 yr old boy.
    Lesbians are frequently hoaxing/lying. (Azalea Cooley, charlie roberts, dana morales, Teena Brandon, ad infinitum)

  13. sayamything says

    In general…the argument for Islam is one used by Christians a lot. The idea that there must be some end justice because Hitler. I’m trying to decide if this argument is better, worse, or a net wash with Islam. Remember, some versions of Christianity see Hitler in Heavemn because he professed Christianity but see hsi victims in Hell because as Jews they didn’t accept Christ as their Lord and Saviour. That’s not particularly just in my mind.

    The idea that it’s just to torture anyone for eternity is a hard enough sell for me, but this additional idea that if I reach the end of my life and I’m unconvinced by an absent god and the words of his frankly incompetent messengers, my test is over and I deserve to be tortured also strikes me as quite monstrous.

    Then again, I was once Christian, so maybe I’ll be in Heaven with Hitler and Mother Theresa. Because that seems “just.”.


    “To the muslim guy asking atheists….if you were to die and appear before god..what would you say??

    What if he dies and finds himself before the Christian God?? what would HE say?”

    Which is why i like the Homer Simpson quote Russell used, because it so adequately destroys Pascal’s Wager (or the variation we generally see). I do wonder what his specific line would be, though. I like the “oops” response.

    All I can go on is the information I have, so if, at the end of my life, I’m wrong, all I can do is offer up the sincerity that I was wrong and hope God isn’t the dick he’s portrayed to be in the Bible and Quran.

  14. Max says

    I really wish the hosts would stop assuming the caller’s arguments before they’ve made them. I get that they’re trying to jump to the conclusion that they think they’ve heard 100 times, but it really gets in the way of the conversation. And they’re often wrong, which just makes everyone look a bit foolish.

  15. Max says

    I didn’t really understand what the big deal was with the last caller talking about physics. It seemed like he was trying to set something up based on his lay understanding of physics to make another point. And yeah it took him forever to set that all up, so it’s fine to be annoyed with that. But I didn’t get the idea that he somehow needed to be a literal physicist to talk about physics. Does that mean the hosts will stop talking about evolution (they often get stuff wrong, so I’d be fine with that)? Will they finally stop taking vegan callers because the hosts aren’t nutritionists or ethicists? Will they stop going on tangents about feminism or transgenderism since they don’t have gender or women’s studies degrees? It’s ridiculous. There’s a difference between someone with no formal education in a subject saying, “The experts are all wrong! I have all the real answers!” and saying, “Based on the current science, which I believe is X, I think Y must be true.”

  16. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Max #19:

    I didn’t really understand what the big deal was with the last caller talking about physics. […] And yeah it took him forever to set that all up, so it’s fine to be annoyed with that. But I didn’t get the idea that he somehow needed to be a literal physicist to talk about physics.

    – Russell was already primed to inappropriately wield “Ha, that’s the leading guess but certainty is low!” gotchas.
    – The caller set out to do a lengthy recitation of big questions, as he understood them – taking up air time and, being a layperson, potentially misinforming the audience while the hosts couldn’t vet it.
    – The caller referred to himself as an “amateur theoretical physicist” instead of a fan of the subject, which is ominous. Mispronouncing Sean Carroll’s name didn’t help. He seemed unaware of the need to distinguish himself from the frequently appearing crackpots.
    – The caller was repetitive when interrupted, which drains patience.
    – When Russell wanted “the answer”. The caller didn’t seem to acknowledge his request to hurry up, instead balking at the demand for a layman to answer the big questions. To his credit, a crackpot might’ve tried. If he had a point, he’d lost all momentum getting there.
    – Most of all, the caller never gave a reason – up front – to care about what he had to say, why that topic, why now, why *he* called. Just “This is the state of physics and where it’s headed” science fandom.

  17. Physics Police says

    Hey Russell,

    I don’t think it was reasonable to reject Don’s premise that Heat Death is the ultimate fate of our universe (1:10:00). You described a talk (1:09:00) where the speaker explained that Heat Death wasn’t scientific consensus at some time *in the past*. I’m quite certain Heat Death is in fact the scientific consensus *today* making it a valid premise to put forth in a scientific argument *today*.

    That said, I don’t think Don was going anywhere. He didn’t get scientists names right or seem to have a point. But please don’t glibly dismiss the fact or importance of the scientific consensus. On this topic, formal education isn’t required to understand what is/isn’t the scientific consensus [1]. It’s really not controversial at all.

    You mentioned Dark Matter (1:09:35) which is relevant to the critical density of the universe, which is nearly flat, and so it *was* within the margin of error whether or not the universe would eventually re-collapse. Only a few years ago the discovery of Dark Energy [2, 3] was confirmed which tips the balance towards an inevitable Heat Death.


  18. Physics Police says

    Sky Captain,

    Thanks for finding that video! I would like to respond to its contents and say this sentiment “Is it gonna continue doing it, or is it gonna stop? We don’t know.” is an appeal to ignorance and applies equally to every single induction ever made in all of science. For example, “Will electrons continue being negatively charged, or will they someday flip to being positively charged? We don’t know.” There is absolutely no good reason to believe electrons will somehow someday become positively charged.

    There is absolutely no good reason to believe Dark Energy will somehow someday stop accelerating the expansion of space.

  19. sayamything says

    The guy was unwilling or unable to actually get to a point as to why any of us should care, and the hosts pushed him to that end before they shut him down. I think that’s more than fair. If he had said something interesting, I might complain, but he didn’t. It’s one of the only lessons I still remember from public speaking: getting people to give a crap about the topic at hand. Give me a good enough reason to care, I might listen to you read from the phone book for 20 minutes. But this guy wouldn’t or couldn’t explain where all this is going, so it felt like wasted time.

  20. says

    The physics guy – I got where Russell was at on that. I was waiting for a point and there wasn’t one in the pipeline.

    Some people are just not good at encapsulating their point. He was one of those guys.

    You should be able to summarize your point in one or two sentences.

  21. HappyPerson says

    nothing wrong with discussing physics but it must be relevant for the show (ie relevant to atheism). the physics guy was a waste of time and shouldn’t have gone to air.

  22. says


    Perhaps physics guy was obfuscating. I got the feeling he was going to be one more guy who was going to try to make the argument that theoretical physics proves there has to be a god, but didn’t want to come out and say that and be told he was talking a load of rubbish, so he wanted to be as indirect as possible.

    Hard to say, because I have no intention of relistening to that painful twaddle to try and make sense of what his angle was.

  23. leontiev says

    “Was Don, the amateur physicist, meaning to say Sean Carroll, rather than Sean Connell?”
    I think he meant Sean Connery.

  24. favog says

    I have an armchair cosmology hypothesis myself, but the guy wasn’t even approaching a point, so any sympathy I might’ve had vanished pretty quickly.

  25. Mobius says

    The “amateur theoretical physicist” wasn’t making much sense to me. What he seemed to be claiming doesn’t fit with what I have read on the subject. It struck me as being a case of “a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest”. He seemed to be rather selective on who he was listening to, though he wasn’t clear at all as to who he was listening to.

    Russel kept asking him to get to the point, and each time the caller started over from the very beginning. I don’t blame Russel at all for cutting the call short.

  26. Ethan Myerson says

    I think the point that the armchair physicist was trying to make is simply that there is a conundrum, not that he had some solution to the conundrum. I don’t think he was having trouble getting around to the solution, but rather there wasn’t one to get to. I think he may have been calling simply to talk about the conundrum.
    That said, I’m not sure I understand the conundrum itself. He kept asking, “how do we get back to the state of low entropy, high heat, etc.” A) There are theoretical models that do put the universe back into that state (“big bounce” theories, or oscillation models) and B) Why is that necessary? The caller seemed to feel that there MUST be a return to the initial state, but he never made clear why he felt that must be the case. There are models that don’t predict a return to the initial state; why are those implausible in his mind?
    One reason why he might want that return to the initial state to be the case is because an oscillating universe solves the “fine tuning” argument. That is, eventual new universes make our current universe one of an infinite number of sequential universes, each potentially with a different set of universal constants. If that’s the case, then fine tuning becomes irrelevant.
    But as we know, a hypothesis doesn’t become true simply because one wants to reap the implications of it being true.

  27. HappyPerson says

    @shaun agreed. i think the call screener needs to tell the caller at the outset before going on air that the caller must make their call relevant to atheism or else they won’t get on. that might help lessen the amount of these ‘wasted’ calls. the same thing applies to callers who want to attack evolution on ‘scientific’ grounds without saying how this makes the existence of god more likely. make it relevant to atheism or not go on air in the first place.

  28. says


    Yeah this relevance question needs to be addressed. Especially now that people with small youtube channels and a fringe belief such as veganism or in the most recent case flat eartherism to attempt to boost their channel.

    The last episode Matt was on, he did in fact say something about no longer taking vegan call because he had copped some stick about it. I think that is great. As I said at the time, the idea that veganism was the high moral ground and therefore all “good” atheists should be vegan is a dangerous argument, since any attempt to attach a specific code to atheism is to turn it into a “thing” with dogmas and pronouncements and edicts and eventually denominations and all the bullshit that goes with any belief system.

    If people want to ask the same old questions, put up the same old objections to atheism that’s fine. But always in an atheist/theism frame.

  29. Mobius says

    Yeah, if a caller does make it on starts off by going off the rails, the host should give them an ultimatum to tell why this is relevant to atheism, and if they can’t do it in under a minute then “Sorry, bye”. Heck yes, no more veganism, flat-erather-ism, whatever-ism.

  30. Susan Schindler says

    This homeschooled young man, McKinley, is so sweet. What a smart kid. Another year and I’ll bet he’ll be hosting his own podcast and YT channel.
    The patience you both exercise is wonderful. Thank you for that. This show is such an awesome service to society and our youth.

  31. jacobfromlost says


    It was Cesar from Queens. I can’t find the specific call right now, but I’ll look for it.

  32. Monocle Smile says

    I’m with HappyPerson. I’m fine with the hosts discussing a number of topics, but only if the caller comes in with a tie to atheism. The “physicist” didn’t seem to even know what show he was calling.

  33. sayamything says

    (Keeping in mind I’m not a scientist, and so “my understanding” could full well be flawed)

    @Ethan Myerson He does seem stuck, I’ll give you that. The whole point of models like heat death is that we don’t “go back.” And you’re right, this isn’t a conundrum: as far as I understand it, our known universe either reaches that state or it doesn’t. Once it’s there, barring some unknown factor, it’s there. I’m also going to go ahead and point out–and maybe I’m wrong here–that my understanding of Dark Matter and Dark Energy is that its explanatory value is derived from the current understanding that our universe is expanding at an increasing rate, which would seem to bolster a Heat Death scenario or something like it.

    If this is where he was going, though, he did a terrible job at explaining it. Amazingly so. He was prompted multiple times to get to the conclusion and he kept setting this up as a premise to be understood first. This leads me to believe that he was trying to use this as something which led to his point. Otherwise, he could have just asked “how does the universe get back to its initial state after heat death?” and I’m pretty sure Jen and Russell could have just answered that, to our knowledge, it doesn’t.

    There are multiple models in which the universe does not end like this, but my understanding of the current majority is that the universe is not just still expanding, but it’s accelerating due to forces for which we cannot completely account. And even if one of those other models is correct, such as the repeated expansion and collapse of the universe, those are mutually exclusive with the Heat Death model. The universe either keeps expanding or it doesn’t, in other words.

    But that still does get to the root of the problem: if this is all, why does it merit time on an atheist call-in show? Most or all of the hosts and co-hosts have acknowledged they’re not scientists, and whether the Big Crunch, Big Bounce, Big Freeze, or whatever other Big Words one might choose to use is true, it doesn’t really weigh in on the God concept. And hell, even if this were to happen, it’s not an atheism issue. If the universe resets itself after a Big Freeze scenario, it still doesn’t mean a god or gods did it.

    I know you’re not necessarily advocating for him, but it’s just…. I don’t know. I wouldn’t even mind if he had been interesting or something.

  34. kylebarker82 says

    I know this has to do with a different episode, but I’m just getting into this show. I was watching TAE 22.03, and at the end it proposed a scenario of saving a child in regards to wellbeing. Great Stuff, but it brought a question to my mind about Self Defense and the use of Deadly force. I have struggled as a vet trying to explain why I feel the need to protect myself with a gun if everyone else has a gun, but now I’m wondering if I should even worry about having that gun to protect my wellbeing… I guess that argument has provoked a sense of my immorality, am I justified in saying that I have immoral thoughts, or I suppose I’m asking, is self defense a moral obligation or moral virtue? I suppose that comes to subjectivity, but I’m kinda struggling with that. Any advice on where to go with this, not for arguments towards or against having a gun, but with regards to how am I to logically view this?

Leave a Reply

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