1. ugh says

    To caller three: your relations don’t dislike you because youre an atheist, they dsilke you because you have an atrocious, combative personality. i wouldnt be able to get away from you fast enough.

  2. warn says

    The first caller was a huge missed opportunity I think. It was a “I just feel that there is a God” which should have been countered with:
    1) Do you think bald people are lesser to people with hair?
    2) Do you think females are lesser than males?
    3) Do you think people of color are lesser than ‘white people’?
    4) Do you think homosexuals are lesser to heterosexual people?
    Most likely he would answer with ‘no’ to all those questions (he sounded like a decent person)
    The closer: There are many people that feel that those above positions are true. What is the value of ‘I feel it to be true’ in the face of so much wrong? Feelings != Evidence, I think base examples like above would have been useful maybe.

  3. warn says

    The Muhammad caller could have been more easily dealt with as well. They should have confirmed that he was Muslim before going halfway down the Physics/Big Bang trail. Then…did the prophet go to heaven on a winged horse? Did he split the moon in half? (We landed there in the late 60’s and have pictures of the other side as well; pretty round). That religion claims their holy book is 100% the truth but if the moon is round…. I’m not not calling out Islam specifically but rather calling out the hosts of this show. This is why Matt is so popular: he turns the fight onto their belief territory, not getting trapped in theoretical physics (which is out of the expertise of everyone on this sort of forum)

  4. jeuandavid says

    I was moved by the predicament of the caller, Ali, from Pakistan. I cannot imagine how it is to live under such extreme difficulty and real danger simply for not believing. As a UK resident, I am privileged to live in a society that – for all its failings, does not regard atheism or apostasy as an act of treason, or as a matter worthy of death. I hope he succeeds in finding others, but above all stays safe.

  5. says

    The poor guy at the end of the show, Ali. I think he was in tears at his awful predicament just when they were saying goodbye.
    Most theist callers are Christians but when Muslim callers are trying to justify their belief in the Quran, they need to explain how they can justify teachings in their religion that call for the death penalty for apostasy and blasphemy that Ali was so terrified of falling victim to. It is grotesque that people can have to fear for their lives because they can’t bring themselves to believe in a god that obviously doesn’t exist. It is state- and theocratic thought policing worse than 1984.
    I recently listened to the podcast that Sam Harris did with Omer Aziz. Aziz had viscously attacked Harris for the book he did with Nawaz Sharif on reforming Islam. Aziz would not resile from a single accusation of racism and bigotry levelled at Harris, despite Harris repeatedly explaining why he thinks this is a necessary project. People like Aziz, and Reza Aslan, apologising for Islam as it’s practiced in some of the largest Muslim-majority countries really need to listen to people like Ali to reset their moral compass because as it stands, these self-professed liberals are inadvertently furthering the cause of this kind of hateful oppression, and even when people point his out to them, they refuse to accept it. They need a reality check. They should be made to listen to calls like Ali’s over and over until they internalise what they are aiding and abetting.

  6. uglygeek says

    About Muhammed’s call: many theists sound clearly upset when they call the show, but I found that this is especially true when the caller is a Muslim. This attitude of constant rage when they are faced with different point of views is becoming tiresome; after all it was not a doctor who prescribed to Muhammed to call the show, was it?

    Then the evidence that these Islamic theists bring to the discussion is very often a proof-by-common-sense Can’t you see that things need to be created? So there must be a God! So, for Muhammed it does not make sense that causality doesn’t apply in absence of time, and that time is part of the universe and does not exist before an universe is created. I find this lack of imagination repulsive. The hosts should have reminded Muhammed that our brain has evolved to find food in a forest and avoid wild beasts not to understand cosmology and quantum reality, so the fact that something seems reasonable in no way proves that that thing is true.

    We should really, really, really stress this concept in these discussions. We should not draw conclusions from common sense.

  7. Nathan says

    Kris has called several time and she always seems so incredibly confused anytime someone asks her a question. It’s like she never has thought about any of this stuff before.

  8. Grandpa Joe says

    What is the link to the information about the Arkansas lawsuit announced at the beginning of the show? I went to the American Atheists website to find out more information and didn’t see any mention of it. She seemed to suggest it would be prominently displayed. Maybe I’m just missing it and it’s right under my nose. Jen, if you read this blog, please post the link. Thank you!

  9. John Chilton says

    Re: Muhammed
    I clearly do not know what Muhammed’s background is, but I would strongly feel he has not got an advanced state of science. I note his reluctance to ‘… go down the same path again …” but his problem is one that Sam Harris really nicely described in his TED talk referring to the fact that we should respect ‘depth of knowledge’ and as such, we are not all in the same position when we talk – when someone talks about the aspects of science that link to these questions, scientists have a greater importance in the conversation than non-scientists (on the aspects that are linked to science). Someone watching 20 hours (I am being generous here) of YouTube does not really know what they are talking about, but like someone with 1 hour of such viewing, will be able to use buzz-words.
    Essentially, Muhammed is ignorant of what he is talking about! He talks rubbish – “… I believe that all that exists are the tangible things …” … so god??? That is clearly not tangible. He states that god is know through his acts of creation but he does not see the complete misunderstanding with this statement.
    The bottom line is that there is not proof and this lies at the crux of most of the problems. And I agree with Matt and others, when it is said that religion does not make us good and we would not be evil without religion. We would be as flawed as we are. However, while people stick to religion like they do, they are prevented by their theology and religious structure, from trying to solve many of the problems of the world. This is why religion should fade away … but I suspect alas, this will never happen.

  10. chew says

    Genesis 11 alone gives 8 examples that contradiction god’s edict in Gen 6:3 (“their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”).

    The genealogies listed in that chapter says Shem’s descendants lived between 148 and 464 years.

  11. gshelley says

    Apart from Lord, Lunatic Liar, there is also misquoted and mistranslated. Probably a couple of other options
    Lewis version, that if Jesus was a Liar, he must have been some sort of demon from hell, so can’t have been a “good guy” also pretty much requires Christianity to be true. At least for the extreme way he puts it. A person could easily have ideas about how to get others to live better lives, that work, and also have bad ideas about how to get them best to adopt those behaviours

  12. Ryan Turner says

    I get frustrated when I hear theists say things like “The universe needs something eternal to have come into existence” and the hosts don’t nail them to the wall. This is such an easy concept to defeat, I don’t know why they ever let them get any traction.

    They asked the question if Muhammad’s god needed to be created, but they didn’t press the issue enough. Why? If you press the issue it comes down to Occam’s razor and their poor logic is exposed.

    “God is eternal because the universe could not have created itself”
    “If god is eternal, then couldn’t the universe be eternal in some form or another?”

    And just drive that point home. There is no reason to let a theist get away with this line of thinking. If they bring up physics, then point out that our current understanding of physics is not enough to account for what came before the big bang, or if there even was a before. But any rule that applies to god just as easily applies to the universe, the difference is we have evidence for the universe, so god is one assumption too many. Plus, god asserts that creation from nothing is possible, so two assumptions too many.

  13. tommyr says

    Stop taking calls from Mohammad, it’s always the same old crap with him. Jesus F’n Christ(tm) it’s a total waste of time. And you can’t have 2 people talking at the same time either. Talking over each other accomplishes NOTHING. It’s getting harder to listen to these shows. I end up fast forwarding through a lot of it due to 10-15 minutes of arguing about the SAME EXACT things, sometimes with regular callers.

    Just some constructive criticism.

    Other than that I enjoy the show.

  14. The Sparrow says

    Poor Kris, LOL. She calls in with what she figures is some sort of “gotcha”, only to have her ass handed to her.
    Has she even read any of the book? It would seem not. Yet she has given her life over to it?

    Try again Kris. Always good for a giggle.

  15. says

    @ Grandpa Joe: I met the AA State Director for AR at the conference this weekend and passed along the request. I don’t know what was said on the show, as I haven’t watched it yet. But basically I told Jen that the contact info for the State Director – Steve Foster – was on the AA Website here:

    He’s looking for anyone who thinks they may qualify as a plaintiff–anyone with legal standing in any state where this is happening. For an article about the situation, you can read about it in regular media reporting:

    Thanks for checking.

  16. Chixter says

    @ Warn – With respect to your comment about the first caller. He did not articulate himself very well. Saying “I just feel there’s a god’ gets absolutely 0 mileage with most if not all atheists. This sparked the “it’s because of the trees’ campaign by those commenting in chat during the entire broadcast. Additionally, many were denigrating the caller for being ‘stupid enough to believe in a god that does not react with it’s creation’ (as opposed to stupid enough to believe in a god that does?), one fellow criticized the callers lack of intellect and said he was ashamed to share the same name and state as the him. Which leads me to my point. A true deist as I understand the term has nothing more than a belief in a higher power that set our universe in motion…a creator if you will. God for lack of a proper name I guess, Despite the callers lack of articulation, I understood where he was coming from. I think Jen was off base by comparing the callers belief the same as one who believes in the Christian god. Not even close on the operational level. The belief of a Christian is the god created (in a certain way as described in the bible) set down laws, chose sides,got involved in battles, supernatural events, etc. It is far easier to question the validity of such a god existing for so many reasons which include but are not limited to sciences and secular history. There is no deist religion that I’m aware of. There is no way to prove the god of the deist exists, there is no way to prove it does not exist. Which is really the only commonality between it and gods of religion.

  17. RationalismRules says

    @Warn #2
    FWIW, your questions are also simply appeals to feelings, so they don’t really demonstrate why evidence is important.

    The courtroom analogy is good against the ‘feelings’ argument. “If you were on trial, would you want the jury to make their decision based on evidence, or just on their feelings?

  18. RationalismRules says


    Apart from Lord, Lunatic Liar, there is also misquoted and mistranslated. Probably a couple of other options

    Yeah, the one that immediately came to my mind was Myth.
    I can even make it fit the alliteration: Lore.

  19. mavx4 says

    I got excited when I heard Kris’ voice because I thought God has spoken to her to give her a good argument for once.
    Man was I disappointed.

  20. RationalismRules says

    Ah yes, very good. ‘Lore’ is too similar in sound to ‘Lord’. ‘Legend’ is better.

  21. Justin says

    Kris is a repeat caller. She’s the one who called in a few months ago to tell Tracie and Matt about how she became a christian when she prayed for a sign and then waited several weeks until she saw some birds or something. Then she went on to tell them “god is love” and that Matt and Tracie “were never real Christians because they’re atheists now”. Now she’s claiming she can tell if someone has the holy spirit in them and that atheists aren’t allowed to criticize the bible, because only Christians can understand it. What is it about new Christians using all the stereotypical arguments? Hopefully she gets those out of her system soon, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she called back in with “look at the trees” or one of any number of tired, defeated arguments.

  22. says

    My issue with the Lunatic, Liar, or Lord trilemma is that I feel like it’s a faulty premise from the outset. It assumes the value of moral ideas is based on who expresses them rather than their actual utility for living a good life.

  23. Monocle Smile says

    I wonder about Kris’ age. Her voice and thought processes scream “teenager,” but the content of her calls thus far leads me to think she’s much older than that. It’s a bit sad, because I only see her sinking further into her dogma. She hasn’t an ounce of skepticism.

    The arguments are meant to assuage believers, not convince skeptics, so there’s no need to make them any less shitty than they have been for centuries. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve heard a single theistic argument that is legitimately aimed at convincing skeptics.

  24. gshelley says

    @rationalism rules 18
    “M” almost works, but “misleader” for “liar” is perhaps not great,
    Messiah, Madman, Misleader, mistranslated, misquoted

  25. Walter says

    I am coming to think that Chris (Kris, Krys???) must be a Poe. She can’t really be that empty headed. Or maybe I just don’t get around enough.

  26. Toasty says

    Does anyone else think Kristy was drunk? I’m having such a hard time listening to her rambling rant.

  27. thesexyphilosopher says

    It is doubtful that this will be read, but I’ll give it a shot. I am an anti-theist, and I’m looking for some feedback on my position. I’m not trying to be glib or cute by saying I’m an anti-theist. However, I suppose I don’t believe what might be seen as the tradition view of anti-theist. I do not believe, “god(s) doesn’t/don’t exist.” Firstly, I am aware of the problem of affirming a negative. Secondly, I don’t see much sense in either position ie; god exists or god doesn’t exist/there is no reason to believe in god. I guess what I am asking is, what is god? I know asking this on a blog for atheist might be met with, “I don’t believe, or don’t have reason to believe in god.” I don’t feel I have been given a sufficient enough definition for god to justify a belief standpoint, null or otherwise. Perhaps asking, what is your understanding of what is god?

  28. Theisnist says

    I’m not quite sure what you’re trying to describe, but it sure doesn’t sound like anti-theist is the right term for it.

  29. RationalismRules says

    If I’m understanding you correctly, your point is that you feel that ‘god’ is so poorly defined that you find it pointless to speculate on its existence – have I got that right?

    I would argue that you don’t need a specific definition to reject the notion of god(s). The concept of ‘fairies’ is widely divergent across different cultures, yet I would guess that you don’t have a problem with having a ‘belief stance’ about whether or not any fairies actually exist.

    My anti-theist (aka ‘hard atheist’) position – “I believe no god(s) exist” – closely parallels my reasons for believing that no fairies exist. It can be summarized into two main points:
    – There is not, nor ever has been, any credible evidence of the existence of any god.
    – Historically, humans have invented mythologies to account for unexplained natural events / phenomena, and claiming ‘special knowledge’ has been used to gain power over one another.

    The first point leads me to lack belief in any gods that I’ve ever heard about. The second point leads me to conclude that the overwhelming likelihood is that god(s) are solely products of the human imagination.
    However, although I’m arguing that a specific definition is not required to reach the conclusion that gods are imaginary, I think there are in fact some base properties that are consistent across current notions of god (with the possible exception of pantheism):
    – it is an ‘entity’
    – it is ‘intelligent’
    – it possesses ‘intent’
    – it is not constrained by the natural laws of our universe
    – it has some level of responsibility for the origin of the universe and / or life

    It’s not really that poorly defined if you compare it to ‘the soul’, for example. I’ve yet to encounter anybody who can clearly articulate any properties of a ‘soul’ to any level whatsoever.

  30. garloo says

    At the 1:22:27 mark.. Don used a phrase that i’ve never heard before.. did he say “post hypocrisation?”

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