Open thread for episode 22.31: Tracie and Phil

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  1. Robert Anding says

    Re: Jonathan Call

    Excellent repartee to Jonathan, Tracie. I think the overarching majority of callers like Jonathan make thinly veiled, very thinly veiled, intellectually dishonest attempts to make their points — unentertaining and poorly constructed shticks by the lot of them. I think it fitting you dispatched him, and more of the same such would be beneficial cuttng to the chase with other callers.. If you review such callers most of them are decently well spoken and have reasonanly good command of the language, but one commonality is they are too clever by half in that they are so self-smitten they can’t bring their own egos to heel in attempt to barrel forth roughshod believing the hosts don’ t have the intellectual horsepower or pluck to toss them out on their collective prats. It’s what the otherwise most affable (retired) Judge Marilyn Milian called issuing a little rough justice.

  2. gnj1958 says

    The reason most atheists are left/liberal is because most liberals tend to think more than right wingers do. No “thinking” person would ever consider voting for a moron like Trump.

  3. RationalismRules says

    Hi mods,
    There’s something odd going on with the links in your [new post] email. Both this week and last week when I clicked on the title link (ie. “Open thread for episode 22.31: Tracie and Phil”) this is the page that opened up:
    The link that shows when I hover over the title is:
    I’ve tried multiple times, with and without my browser already open, and got the same result.

    In case this is of any help, here’s what I’m using:
    Operating system: MacOSX
    Mail program: (Apple) Mail
    Browser: Firefox

  4. gabbler says

    At 1:00 RAM says that a person living has the same number of atoms as a person dead. Even assuming he is talking about the same person in different circumstances, that is completely wrong. Dead people are decaying at a greater rate than when alive and are not replacing what they have lost.

  5. RationalismRules says

    Tracie, great hosting today. I felt you got the balance right on pretty much every call – ie. giving the callers enough room to make their points, without allowing them to be self-indulgent or preachy – thank you for doing a great job!

    The only thing I would question is your response to the ‘junkyard tornado’. You responded to it as an appearance-of-design argument (ie. the watchmaker argument), whereas I think it’s actually just a deeply dishonest analogy for the argument that complex function cannot come about without design.

    The junkyard tornado is a pet peeve of mine, and really reduces my respect for anyone who advances it because it is such a blatantly false analogy. Some strawmen arise from ignorance or misunderstanding, but this is so far off what it’s supposed to represent (ie. evolution) that any apologist who puts it forward seems to me either just plain dishonest, or simply parroting someone else’s argument without considering it for themself at even the most basic level.

    The analogy falls apart as soon as you examine it:
    – evolution is a gradual increase in function over a great deal of time – it is not some miraculous short-term event that assembled diverse non-functional elements into a complex functioning whole in one blast of wind.
    – evolution is dependent on life reproducing, not inanimate elements simply assembling (Logan made this point at the start, a bit tentatively). If a small clump of inanimate objects happened to assemble into a functional form due to the wind, there is no advantage that would cause that to stick around in that form during the entire process, and be further built upon, as happens with evolution.

    A more honest analogy would be a tornado sweeping through a forest and picking up a bunch of seeds/fruits etc. and depositing them elsewhere in a different environment – would we not then expect over time a different forest to arise, grow and change in response to the new environment?

  6. says

    if i may be pedantic, no one’s body, alive or dead, has the same number of atoms from moment to moment, considering cell growth, loss and replacement, breathing, sweating, eating, waste disposal, fluctuations in bodily flora, etc etc … which invalidates the premise of this particular digression.

  7. says


    seconded. i’ve been hearing the tornado-in-a-junkyard analogy since high school and, at least to me, its dishonesty has always been painfully obvious. (despite being run in a private religious school, our science programs were unmolested by dogma.)

  8. Serge Rubinstein says

    About the example of the first caller : When a companion of Scott died in the Antarctic, the survivors were confronted to the dilemma if they had the right to eat him to survive. A question of life an death has other moral responses than a daily life one…

  9. III says


    … and elephants!

    If deliberate burials are signposts of the belief in life after death for humans, one cannot ignore the elaborate burying behavior of elephants as a similar sign of ritualistic or even religious behavior in that species (Siegel, 1977c)… Ethologists have observed elephants burying their dead with large quantities of food, fruit, flowers, and colorful foliage… Moreover, elephants are aware of natural cycles, as they practice “moon worship,” waving branches at the waxing moon and engaging in ritual bathing when the moon is full (Siegel, 1977c). (The Psychology of Life After Death)

  10. III says

    Re: humans being unique because they have subdued the earth, as “fallen” creatures

    Ants have multiplied over the earth as well as humans (equivalent total biomass to humans per Wilson and Hoelldobler) – and thrive in environments inhospitable to us. They can even keep their metabolisms running under anaerobic conditions if need be. (source: Respiration by mangrove ants Camponotus anderseni during nest submersion associated with tidal inundation in Northern Australia).

    Ants subdue other species and practice agriculture (fungi, yeast, etc.), with leaf-cutter ants practicing fairly sophisticated, large-scale agriculture where they process one living species to fertilize the species they find more delicious. They developed this process millions of years before we got around to it. (source: Ant-fungus mutualism in Wikipedia)

    … and like “fallen” man, ants practice war on a massive scale, as well as slavery:
    “When it comes to war-fighting, ant species are more similar to humans than most other animals, even primates… Societies with population explosions, that extend into the millions, are prone to large-scale, intense, tactical warfare.” (source: Looting, Cannibalism and Death Blows: The ‘Shock and Awe’)

    “Slave-making behavior is unusual among ants but has evolved independently more than ten times in total including in the subfamilies Myrmicinae and Formicinae… This has major evolutionary implications since it may argue for sympatric speciation.” (source: Slave-making Ants entry in Wikipedia)

    (I include the last extract because sympatric speciation is also an interesting jumping off point for a conversation about evolution and design and chance.)

    I think some of the best “evidence” of humans as a “fallen” species comes from the cruelty with which we subdue other species in the name of our higher ideals. I would really really love to have one of those aluminum anthill sculptures formed by burn-drowning thousands of Florida harvester ants in molten aluminum (but I won’t do it!!!). For someone who feels differently, here are the corpses/homes of a former ant society used to accent (like a sprig of cilantro), a thousand dollar side-table:

  11. Alacrity says

    Tracie, Regarding the odd caller trying to tease out a moral argument about cannibalism, why not interrogate the morality of a religion (Christianity) which has a bizarre obsession with drinking blood and eating human flesh? You couldn’t dream up a religion this weird, unless you were the standard, confused, Bronze Age lunatic.

  12. jjamele1 says

    Andrew/Andre/Brad/Josh needs to be banned from the show. I don’t know if he’s a Theist, Atheist, or whatever, but I do know he poses as someone different every time he calls which is blatantly dishonest, and his bit has grown very old. He even says he has listened to the show a million times but never admitted that he is a serial caller.

    Ram I think should also be cut off from calling in again, as he ran out of things to say several calls ago.

  13. nhbiker1961 says

    I have also left a lot of Atheist groups because they are too far left politically. While I think Trump is a buffoon, I also think I wasted my vote with Obama. It seems on social media that all the left does at this point is whine with no solutions. They are uneducated on guns, They do not admit anything is better in 2018 with the economy, unemployment etc.and they play the victim on almost every issue and seem to get angry when you question their “doctrine”. I find the atheist group’s ore obsessed with politics and their agenda and I personally do not trust the democratic party. I don’t trust the Republican party either, but lately, the left is more annoying.

  14. Jay Ouzts says

    I am a software developer. Before I write code, there is a process by which analysts, project managers, and end users put there heads together and design the application. They enumerate the requirements, the mock up an interface intended for easy of use, and – if I am lucky – articulate changes needed to the database to support these. There is a process here.

    Automobiles are similar. Before a car is built, marketing folk decide the target market, designers decide how the car should look, accountants decide how much the per-unit-cost should be, Engineers then come up with blueprints for how to build the car. Then based on these specifications the assembly line is organized to build it in the most efficient way. Again, there is a process here.

    Question for the intelligent design crowd. What process did the designer use to design the trees and mountains?

    Until you can show the process, you have no evidence to support the claim of intelligent design.

  15. ecostarr says

    Phil was making an interesting point about designed versus undesigned. An interesting thought exercise is to independently propose the features of an undesigned universe. I would argue that chaos, and more importantly, chaos of outcomes would be one the most prominent features. It’s my observation that “nature,” if you dig deep enough, shares the features of an undesigned universe because of the proliferation of chaos in outcomes. While some love to say “look at the trees” they appear to completely ignore cancer . . . or . . . bubonic plague . . . or measles or smallpox breakouts all which came from the same earth as the trees. All of which often destroy life arbitrarily and indiscriminately.

  16. Joshua Adamson says

    My name is Joshua Adamson, I’ve been a veiwer of The Atheist Experience on youtube for a little over two years. Im in my early twenties and I have been an atheist since I was 12 years old. I live in a rural area, surrounded by churches, and a laundry list of ways that being atheist has hindered me in my community.

    Nevertheless, I want to believe as many true things as I can and dismiss or disbelieve as many untrue things as I can. I see an awful lot of injustice happening in 2017-2018 and for atheists in America, especially in rural places I think the problems are just begining. Watching AXP has really helped get me through some difficult times and I can’t begin to describe how I feel when I hear an ex-jehovahs witness or another kind atheist going through that journey of losing community, losing friends and family, some losing their very children. I have two children and I can’t imagine what it must feel like to experience that kind of apathy and condescension from your own child. Needless to say, life for an atheist without a supportive community can be Hell on Earth.

    I’ve felt for a few months now, as I watch more and more of AXP, that while there are interesting and important conversations to be had between atheists and theists, that the show seemed to have many more theists onto the show than atheists. At first I assumed this was because there are so many more theists out there than there are atheists. This is a silly generalized conclusion and I learned that one day when Matt Dillahunty explained that they keep more lines open for theists than atheists, and he explained it to my understanding and at the time I agreed with Matt. To my dismay, while i still understand the reasoning and I do not find the reasoning to be wrong, I do find this explanation to be flawed, and I assume that most if not all the hosts are in some part aware of this issue.

    As i stated previously, ive had many positive experiences in listening to the stories and journeys of people who are finding their way out of religion, i am not suggesting that only atheist experiences are valid on the atheist experience. However, I have found that what helped me the most were listening to other young people like myself and listening to the advice and encouragement that Tracie Harris or Phil Sessions gives has been able to get me through some hard times. Here I want to state that I understand what Matt and Tracie have previously said about how conversations with theists can be a beacon, a lightning rod to create conversation as well as to create those first seeds of doubt in theist viewers. I’m not suggesting that more atheists than theists be brought on. I do think that an effort should be made to allow more atheist callers because there is alot of conversations that atheists need to have with eachother. One caller today made the entire call about politics and it showed how much disagreement there can be within atheism, and I feel like those conversations are not being had nearly as often and that makes the entire community feel slightly abandoned. I don’t want the show to feel responsible for the entire community because it is not, but if the goal of the show is both to reach out as well as to be a place for atheists to be supported, then I feel that atheists need more attention because we all have differences that the show could help with alot!

    My last point : About six months ago, I noticed that the chat room being moderated more heavily. On one hand, I absolutely agree that many people both theist and atheist (not always in equal measures) say things in the chat that need to be removed and when someone is being belligerent they need to be put in time out. In the past I’ve seen outcry from a portion(to my knowledge this could be a small number or a large percentage, i do not know) of the community that regularly talks in chat, claiming that the moderators have in recent months been getting a little gung ho with their moderating. Initially I chose to ignore/disbelieve this idea because I witnessed the trolling and harmful comments some people leave. Moderation on a show which can become this controversial is impeccably important. Moderation needs to be as close to perfect as it can be and its a difficult job. As an example, i believe last week one caller slipped through the screeners and began his call by repeating a racial slur for African Americans until Matt cut the call about 3 seconds later. This example made it crucially clear to me how important and how fatiguing and difficult that moderating for this show must be.

    Today was only the second time I felt the courage to join the chat and I found that speaking to anyone at all was cathartic. I do not have a single acquaintance who is atheist, nor have i ever met anyone in person who holds similar beliefs to me about skepticism and all of the epistemology that Matt has studied for so long. About half way into the show today i noticed that a particular moderator (whose regular comments I often find amusing and enjoyable and I understand that this person is making split second decisions that are incredibly important) had removed for the comment “the moderators are rediculous”. I commented very neutrally that the moderators should not have removed that comment. My comment was removed. I left another comment which said “Why did you delete my comment, I didnt say anything wrong?” And my account was put in time out. As trivial as this event was, it made me come here to leave this post. Atheists around the world are disenfranchised and feel ostracized, demonized, and in many places in the world are literally in danger. I dont think I’m being combative by having the opinion that people like me and people worse off than me need help from you! Im not asking for a safe space to say anything I want, I’m very strongly in favor of moderation and would rather the moderators be too tough than not tough enough, sans the man who slipped through the screeners last week. But, this experience made me realize that there actually is some level of truth to the rumors I’ve seen for months that the moderators have been going crazy and occasionally removing comments that don’t need to be removed. This show is called the atheist experience, the only things i would want in an ideal situation is to see 2 atheists per show so there is more possible variation and a better connection to the different ideas we have but more important about Atheist Experiences. Literal experiences that atheists have when confronted around the world. Even if we did all think the same way, which we don’t, it would still be invaluable to give a voice to all those distant and lonely people. I think that having more of these stories would bring context to what atheists around the world actually face on a regular basis.

    Thank you for your consideration, this community and the show has helped me more than anything ever has. I appreciate and want to thank all the hosts present and previous, all of the screeners and moderators who volunteer, you guys have kept me feeling confident and hopeful when I had nobody but myself, and I really hope that this post makes it on the blog, it is my first post and i don’t want it to be my last!

  17. scarlett says

    On Jonathan’s call: even if you could verify some of the claims of the Gospels, that doesn’t automatically validate the whole thing. The New Testament is not a single claim, and really the letters from Paul can be said to be one man’s opinions (supposedly whispered by god).

    Christians often like to point to some mundane parts like the empty tomb or the feeding of the multitudes, but there are other explanations for them that have nothing to do with miracles or supernatural intervention. The tomb may have been robbed or they were at the wrong one. The fishes and loaves could have been people sharing and the “miracle” was that someone inspired generosity.

    But even assuming we had other corroboration of some guy named Jesus or Jeshua feeding the multitudes or dying and going missing from his grave, that wouldn’t prove that this same guy was healing people from a distance or by touching them; it wouldn’t prove he died, visited the afterworld and came back to life; it wouldn’t prove he ascended into heaven; etc. Each claim about his life is something that would need evidence.

    Also, a book answer questions about another book doesn’t mean that the claims are real. Just see how writers of Star Trek work within a created universe to flesh out questions raised in a previous series/show/movie.

  18. Jeremy X says

    You had a theist claiming carbon dating isn’t accurate for things more than a few thousand years old. And, I think it more important to stress carbon-14 dating is not the only method of radiometric dating. Yes, carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years, which is why for old samples, we use methods like potassium–argon or uranium–lead dating. Here, we’re dealing with hundreds of millions to billions of years old for a material’s half-life.

    I find it very frustrating when theists try and dismiss all radiometric dating based upon carbon dating. There are large portions of the population who just don’t understand how these work or that carbon dating isn’t the only form of dating of this kind. And worse, there are a few that do understand and intentionally use carbon-14’s half life to try and muddy the waters for the unknowing or poison the well for legitimate radiometric dating results.

  19. Lamont Cranston says

    RationalismRules says:

    Tracie, great hosting today. I felt you got the balance right on pretty much every call – ie. giving the callers enough room to make their points, without allowing them to be self-indulgent or preachy – thank you for doing a great job!

    I would agree. One thing I have noticed is that it would often be best to end a call when the caller says, “Can I just say one more thing?” I cringe when that happens because almost invariably the caller has already chewed up 10 or 15 minutes going in circles and now wants to waste even more time going nowhere. Of course that’s just the way it seems to me.

    To my way of thinking a suitable answer could be, “No, we need to move on, but feel free to call in again next week to explore other things you would like to talk about.” It’s not like there is any lack of callers and a concern about running out of people to talk with. On the other hand some of the more interesting calls have sometimes ended up at the very end of the show when time is running short.

    Lamont Cranston

  20. Robert Anding says

    True, seems to be the case that greatly more than preponderantly atheists are liberal to very liberal. Few are conservative and probably less than a smidgen are rightwing, probably statistically zero or certainly near zero. Then there is the remaining cut, those who are socially liberal but fiscally conservative (neither spendthrifts nor wastrels but prize accountability) and could be best described as libertarians: do whatever blows your kilt or skirt up as long as it doesn’t hit/hurt anybody else. Name calling isn’t productive in either case. The most grand mistake is to assume atheists a monolith the same way it a like mistake to cast Blacks, Latinos, Anglos Christians, Jews et al into one molding whether it be philosophically, politically, fiscally or intellectually. All groups are made up of highly intelligent (maybe not the fringes on either extreme) to low intelligence constituents. To very loosely paraphrase Tracie Harris, atheists are a different breed of cat, comprised of many subbreeds. Not taking all into consideration could perhaps best be discribed as tomfoolery or at a minimum myopic and injudicious.

  21. John David Balla says

    @Joshua Adamso. Thank you for sharing your concerns and perspective. Welcome to the ACA! It is, by far, the atheist community I know. I made the trip from Chicago to Austin a couple of weeks ago to watch both shows (i.e., Talk Heathen and The Atheist Experience) live from the studio. Something to consider. Virtual communities are great but face-to-face encounters can be priceless.

  22. Robert Anding says

    Thought the same. The Andrew guy, voice sounded very familiar (as in serial caller) but did not recognize his name.

  23. StonedRanger says

    Joshua Most chatrooms or forums that ive been in don’t allow public questioning of a moderators actions. If you have questions about what a moderator does or why, an email to those who run the show is the way to go. In most chatrooms there is a private message function, but i don’t think youtube has that capability. I know you are new to how things go from what you’ve said, so don’t take it personal. Imho, youtube chatrooms and/or the comments section are not representative of the community as a whole. I don’t try to read the chatroom because it scrolls so quickly that you cant follow a conversation and listen to the show and take anything away from either one of any value. Welcome aboard, hope to see you post often.

  24. Joshua Adamson says

    Thank you John and Stoned Ranger! I appreciate the welcome and I intend to be involved in conversations here! This is a new format for me, I’m young and have never posted on a blog. I’ve commented on a few videos and I read the chat sometimes because there are just so many opinions out there. I’m excited to learn and share information in a community that has similar opinions to mine, I don’t advocate for safe spaces but I even had a theist tell me yesterday that they understand how rare community is for atheists in many places. I don’t begrudge churches for existing at all but I know I’m missing something that theists have easy access to. I’ve heard that the blog is really supportive and involved, and while I was feeling emotional yesterday but I don’t blame the moderators, nobody is perfect and moderating is fast paced and stressful. If anything it pushed me to realize how vulnerable I am and that I shouldn’t be reluctant to join the conversation, so finally I posted here and I’m glad I did!

    This thread is for this particular episode and I never brought up anything relating to the actual episode so I wanna apologize if there was a more relevant thread I could have posted in. That being said, what are everybody’s thoughts on Andrew who called in? I’ve watched him call in time and time again and I think its fascinating how slow his transformation has been and yet how “far” (Andrew used to be a lot worse in my opinion) he has come on that journey? What does everybody think about his take on conservatism? I think he has a misunderstanding of conservatism and that if he defines his political opinions on disliking the left versus finding good reasons to support conservatism then it seems to me that he unconsciously is advocating for Ur fascism. And I know fascism is a 4 letter word online but that conversation really needs to be had because for one thing when we treat topics as taboo we are asking for history to repeat itself and for another we don’t end up teaching people on both the left and the right about the history and origins and thus the core principals and goals of various ideologies. Its sad that talking about politics is so taboo and that we live in a time of false equivalency. Basically, its a fallacy to assume there are an equal number of “good people on both sides”.

  25. Honey Tone says

    I’m not associated with either major political party in the USA and never have been. Yeah, the left whines a lot. That said, I can’t vote for a party whose leadership is willing to make the air and water dirtier for my grandchildren, makes it harder for them to pay for health care, and removes consumer protections.

  26. Luke Stathopoulos says

    Hi guys. Regarding your call from the ex Jehovahs Witness Robert from Dallas, Id like to offer my help. Im a former JW who is studying for my bachelor in psychology. My wife and I have recently started a FB page called Cult Therapy in order to help those that have left cults and are finding it difficult to assimilate into normal society. We want to offer any help to exjw in a safe environment away from the vitriolic exjw pages that can sometimes do more harm than good. We are a non judgemental community that just wants to offer help to those that want to move forward in their life and leave the cult mentality for good. We offer good tips in overcoming the anger and lonliness that leaving a cult like the JW can develop in you. We will also be posting You Tube videos in a few weeks with our story and advise on how to move forward. Please send anyone our way that you feel could benefit from our help.
    Thanks team.

  27. Robert, not Bob says

    nhbiker1961: Neither Obama, nor the Democratic party generally, could be labeled “left” in any reasonable sense. Don’t judge the left by them-that’s like calling molten lead “cold” because it isn’t as hot as molten iron. I don’t know if you would respect real leftists in government if we had any, or appalled…

  28. Monocle Smile says

    My guess is “appalled.” I’m leaning towards “libertarian” for nhbiker.

    @Robert Anding
    My experience with “libertarian” atheists is that they tend to be..well, assholes. They are “socially liberal” unless you’re poor or a minority. They’re largely Ayn Rand fanboys.

  29. twarren1111 says

    Chris from Hollywood:
    Carbon radio metric dating is only valid for a specified time frame. Then there’s other elements used for other time periods.

    I take issue with the “no purpose” line on life, the universe and everything. It is very clear that “the purpose” is to maintain information in a useable form for as long as possible. This is the link between thermodynamic entropy to then Shannon entropy to them kologrov complexity. The common link from Big Bang to blackhole is how entropy (better termed information) in all its forms is maximized.

    That’s the purpose: information.

  30. twarren1111 says

    Sweet jeebus: Ram mentioned wild country on Netflix is a documentary on a psychopath ‘guru’ who moved his cult from India to the USA and in no way is something that any rational human could watch and come away with the idea that Osho is someone anyone should listen to.

  31. speedofsound says

    Tracie. Damn. I actually had to stand up and clap with the audience, while alone in my living room, at your junkyard/rock design talk. Clip that part and put it at the very top of your channel and let it be the Holy Clip.

  32. Theisntist says

    To atheists and skeptics, the political landscape is clear. The left and right both have anti-science and theocratic elements. The difference is that on the left it’s kept on the fringe and on the right it’s mainstream.

    In other words, if you don’t want to elect climate change deniers who want to legislate biblical morality then you don’t want to elect Republicans.

  33. Muz says

    I’m digging this new conversational desk layout, just as a by the way (with the forced perspective mascots).
    I think it might loosen up some of the hosts where you can kinda feel the pressure of the ol’ ‘deer in the headlights/face the firing squad’ configuration. Although that might just be me imagining myself in there.
    Either way, it’s got a more casual feel and seems to works well with inter-host conversation, with Tracie and Phil so far at least.
    Some might think camera address suffers a bit and I can see their point, but it doesn’t really bother me.

  34. says


    Here is one of the first things you will find at The Atheist Experience official site:

    “The Atheist Experience is a weekly Internet television show based in Austin, Texas geared at a non-atheist audience. Every week we field live calls from atheists and believers alike, and you never know what you’re going to get! Sometimes it can get quite feisty indeed! You don’t want to miss it.”

    The format of TAE has always been to engage theists with atheists as part of the public dialog. It was created as atheist outreach to a world where “atheist” was an uncommon and unfamiliar term that was vastly misunderstood. The show seeks to expose the “atheist experience” to theist callers in order to help them understand what atheists are and what that means to their experience in the world.

    It is a distinction, because most other atheist programs focus on conversations with other atheists. I don’t disagree support for atheists is a good thing and necessary—and I’m glad that the vast majority of atheist podcasts, blogs and programs have that mission. ACA also produces atheist focused content that is geared to atheist audiences, but TAE is not one of those. It’s part of the mission of ACA to support the atheist community. However, the specific vehicle, The Atheist Experience, has always had the target audience of theists, not atheists. In fact, having atheists outside of ACA interested in or watching the show was a fairly recent phenomena that happened when the show moved to the Internet.

    Other atheist programs, including some also produced by ACA, would likely serve you better, because they are often geared toward atheist concerns, and not primarily focused on advancing public dialog between atheists and theists.


    >To my way of thinking a suitable answer could be, “No, we need to move on, but feel free to call in again next week to explore other things you would like to talk about.”

    Thank you for the feedback. This is the type of comment that I find most useful—one where you address your concern and offer an example of what you envision might be better. It’s “constructive criticism”—and I very much appreciate hearing how the show seems to viewers.


    >The only thing I would question is your response to the ‘junkyard tornado’. You responded to it as an appearance-of-design argument (ie. the watchmaker argument), whereas I think it’s actually just a deeply dishonest analogy for the argument that complex function cannot come about without design.

    I read your points. I agree they are valid.


    Yes, not only that, but even in “normal” circumstances, I couldn’t really say it’s immoral to eat a dead body, only off-putting, and potentially hurtful to relatives. But you’re not actually “harming” someone, because the person you’re eating is dead, and the mental stress suffered by loved ones is proportional to their own views of the event. Broadly speaking, as a social species, I can see why eating other people, even dead people, would be generally off putting, and why so many cultures have regulations around eating human beings (it’s done in ritual capacities, but for nutrition, it’s—as you point out—rare and generally isolated to extreme resource deprivation). Basically eating other people wouldn’t be something a social group *of people* would want to encourage.

    @Folks posting about animal ritual behavior:

    Thank you, it’s very interesting to hear.


    Whoever it was, they were not honest. They admitted they know the texts have a history of alteration. They also admitted that historical consensus is that the books aren’t reliable. I wasn’t sure what the point would be to go further. But what I heard, and what I hope others heard was this:

    1. Mythicists claim consensus is slightly biased and this is why their concept has trouble gaining headway.
    2. Caller believes Mythicists are hacks, and that we need to trust the consensus of historians when it comes to claims about whether or not Jesus existed, because they’re totally reliable when it comes do questions about Jesus’ existence.
    3. Caller then puts forward his own nonconsensus concept, claiming that these same historians who are trustworthy when it comes to “did Jesus live?” cannot be trusted to evaluate who Jesus may have been—even though among historians with consensus views, there is still much debate. That is, they have flexibility within the consensus, but it doesn’t stretch as far as “Jesus was a wizard who could do magical things.” Also, we can, apparently from the caller’s view, trust their findings with regard to all other historical figures, like Alexander and Caesar.


    Somehow they are totally trustworthy and competent and unbiased when they support his contention that Jesus existed. And those who suggest otherwise are hacks. But they are completely untrustworthy and incompetent and biased when they don’t support his contention that Jesus was magic.

    Bear in mind, that he is saying people who are critics of the Mythicist view, like Ehrman, can be relied on to not be biased against reality when it comes to defending Christian claims, but not if they go on to be a critic of the view that magic is real. Then they cannot be relied on because they’re biased against reality/Christian claims for some reason, suddenly.

    He accused me of holding to consensus because it was what I agreed with, but this is false. I hold to consensus, because in my view, it’s the only fair way to have a conversation. If everyone simply picks their pet experts and holds to their views and findings, no headway can be made. Like I said in another call: What fixes bad science is scientists doing better science, not lay people coming in and saying “this is what y’all should be doing.”

    If we are having an argument about human psychology, and I look up some information and present it to you, and it’s derived from research and expert opinion and represents the consensus, and you say “I reject that, because I hold to these fringe concepts of my preferred experts,” then we really can’t have a conversation. Any evidence I present, you will simply reject at tainted—and on the call, this is why I invoked conspiracy theories—as this is how they often function.

    This is, to be fair, also how changes in consensus begin. But until that change happens, this is fringe. We understand how research and sciences, hard and soft, come to conclusions and what is required to change those conclusions, and for the rest of us, we have to rely to some degree on expert opinion, because it’s not feasible for a person to become expert in all fields that may be touched on by religious claims. It should be sufficient to hear the claim, look it up and see what experts in a field have to say, and certainly if you want to understand how they concluded that, it is available for public consumption, and it’s fine to go and gain understanding to your heart’s content. But if someone demonstrates to me that X is the consensus in psychological research, I have to accept that as a starting point for the current state of psychological understanding. Otherwise, lay conversations will all be reinventing the wheel of every field of science.

    So, I go with consensus as a matter of *fairness*. It doesn’t matter what I personally believe. Let’s say I personally hold to Mythicism and am completely convinced that’s correct. If I’m going to engage YOU, and you say “Most historians accept Jesus lived…” I’m going to conform to that and work within that understanding, because it’s completely fair of you to point that out and adhere to consensus conclusions of a valid area of research. You aren’t being unreasonable. And until the day consensus changes, because it’s the only way we can have some sort of solid agreement about reality and the basis of the conversation. I held to the consensus for “Jesus lived.” And I held to the consensus for “Jesus was a rabbi.”

    I was consistent on the experts view I was willing to accept for argument’s sake, without regard to whether it benefited me or not in the conversation. The caller could not say the same.

  35. Ray Smith says

    I don’t like to criticize people, especially when they put themselves out in public as the hosts on TAE do. But I got really perturbed with Tracie this week. I have enjoyed many of Tracie’s comments in the past and have learned from her, but today she was a little too dismissive with the last caller, Jonathan McLatchie. I know she probably does not know him. While I do not agree with him very often, he is considered a scholar and a theologian among English Christians. He has a degree, I believe, in Microbiology, and he runs the Apologetics Academy website, blog and weekly webcast with guests of various beliefs. He has several publications and has performed a lot of research regarding undesigned coincidences. He lectures worldwide. Tracie treated him with disrespect and said he needed to do things he has already done before calling the show to try and convince her. He has had many public conversations and debates with scholars who disagree with him. He has published documents for peer review. She acted as if she was speaking to an imbecile. She was very rude to him. Sometimes she gets going on a rant and tends to get more and more of-track the longer she speaks. I was angered which she lumped him in with flat-earthers and those who think the moon landing was fake. I know Jonathan has wanted to engage with someone on TAE for a long time now. I’m sorry the experience was so demeaning to him.

    Also, during her rant with Jonathan, Tracie ridiculed those who question the government’s official 9/11 story. She really needs to do some research or stop talking about things she is ignorant of. I am a mechanical engineer from Georgia Tech with 40 years of experience in managing construction projects, and I have designed mechanical systems, including steel structures. When I saw the WTC towers fall, I was shocked because structural steel buildings do not and had never collapsed due to fire. The buildings fell at FREE-FALL acceleration which means the structure underneath the area that was hit offered ZERO RESISTANCE to the collapse. That is impossible unless the lower floors were being demolished with explosives. This is most clearly illustrated with WTC #7 which many people are not even aware collapsed that day. It was 47 stories tall and collapsed at around 5:20 p.m. at FREE-FALL acceleration. NIST even admitted that a portion of it fell at FREE FALL acceleration but offered no reasons why. There is a group of thousands of engineers and architects who have published many quality videos on this topic. They have been criticized and ridiculed by uneducated people who choose to believe the government’s story. There are some engineers at NIST who have resigned because they disagree with the official story and believe the truth is being covered up. There is a documentary published by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth on Amazon Prime called “9/11 Explosive Evidence – Experts Speak Out”. I wish Tracie would watch it and stop belittling people.

  36. Ray Smith says

    I have one more comment. I was glad that someone called to discuss the fact that most vocal atheists seem to be on the liberal end of the political spectrum. I am generally in the Libertarian camp, and I often get attacked by those who don’t agree with me. All you have to do to see an example is look at comment #38 above from “Monocle Smile” who obviously does not think too highly of Libertarians. You can disagree all you want, but it is in poor taste and immature to call people derogatory names. That does not serve to move the conversation forward. Then there is comment #4 from “gnj1958” who believes Liberals think more than those on the Right because no thinking person would vote for Trump (who is also referred to as a moron in the comment). I don’t understand the point of comments like this. If you want to convince someone to your way of thinking, calling them a moron and worse is not the best way to go about it.

  37. David White says


    Please. NOBODY “whines, complains”, “plays the victim” and is more “annoying” than conservatives, Your post here is one long whine, and “with no solutions”, to boot.

    Uneducated on guns? The answer conservatives have for everything gun related is “more guns”. No education needed.

    As for the remark about “anything being better in 2018 with the economy”, please view this quick clip:

    Go ahead, mention your atheism at the next Republican gathering, and note how differently you’re treated than at a Democratic one. And even if you catch some flack among Democrats for your conservative views on topics apart from religion, you’re much less likely there to be accused of being “outside god’s will” or some other such supernatural inanity, as you are among Republicans.

  38. Robert Anding says

    I don’t know about this name calling business. Counterproductive, alienating and nearly always reflects poorly.

  39. StonedRanger says

    Ray Smith You must be kidding. You came here to bitch about someone calling trump a name? You mean the guy who demeans women, brown people, black people, athletes, any democrat, anyone who disagrees with him by calling them all sorts of derogatory names on a daily basis? That guy? And somehow when anyone else does it to him it is suddenly bad and is no way to advance the conversation? You sir, clearly, are trolling us. Or youre clueless. This is the thing that bugs me about libertarians. You cannot see the forest for the trees. It is no surprise to me that you don’t see the point in those types of comments.

  40. Nathan says

    I wonder if it was because the main support structure had planes go through it, and the small tower was heavily damaged by having two massive building falling on it. You guys act like it was just a fire. Mechanical Engineer here as well.

  41. Grandpa Joe says

    @Ray Smith

    Why should Tracie (or any lay person) watch a 9/11 truther conspiracy video? Her point, which you apparently missed, was that she’s not qualified to evaluate specific claims of which she does not have the necessary expertise. If structural engineers are having trouble reconciling the official account of what happened to WTC 7 with what they know about structural engineering, it is THEY who should watch that video – and many have. And yet 17 years later even ae911truth itself acknowledges they represent only a small minority of engineers and architects. Each of their claims has been debunked by various experts, many of whom do not work for the government and thus have no reason to support the official story. Anyone can make a splashy website and claim thousands of experts. I see no evidence their architects and engineers even exist in the claimed numbers or that they have consensus on any of their claims.

    This of course ignores that the idea of 9/11 being an inside job literally doesn’t make any sense, at least not to anyone prone to believing conspiracy theories. How you determine truth matters. You can’t have been watching this show very long if you find yourself convinced by this, or any, conspiracy theory.

  42. III says

    @Joshua Adamson

    ‘If anything it pushed me to realize how vulnerable I am and that I shouldn’t be reluctant to join the conversation, so finally I posted here and I’m glad I did!’

    I love to see people verbalize this kind of sentiment!

    One of the best pieces of “adult” advice I got was from a friend with a lucky combination of wonderful social skills and zero inhibition: What a shame it would be if you didn’t pursue the things you wanted for fear of what strangers might think; those strangers are so fascinated with themselves that they have little time to reflect on what you’re saying or doing.

    Now this was before the interwebs… but what she said is still truer than most people realize.

  43. paxoll says

    @RaySmith the majority of Jesus historians are christians, they have a vested interest making their confirmation biases obvious. Like your “expert” caller John. Trying to use the gospels to prove each other when they stories were wide spread by the time they were written down many decades after. The contradictions in them are far more evidence against the validity of them than similarities are evidence for. This is true of the vast majority of Jesus historians, and you’ll find as soon as you get historians that are not christian suddenly the veracity of Jesus becomes very circumspect. While most will concede the proposition that someone with that name likely existed, nothing about what he did in the gospels are going to pass muster. But Christians don’t care, if you concede that Jesus existed than they believe they have every right to believe all the other bullcrap in the book.

  44. Thomas3 says

    If anyone wants to know, ‘Wild Wild Country’ is the Netflix Documentary about Osho (better known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh) and his followers who tried to take over a town and county in rural eastern Oregon, using money, intimidation, and just a little poison. They also tried to kill a federal prosecutor for investigating them.

    The Bhagwan might have been involved, but most likely it was followers who were trying to keep themselves in power and keep Osho supplied in Rolls Royces (at one point his fleet had 50).

    What I’ve seen in footage, the Bhagwan’s shtick was your typical guru-speak , his followers became a cult for people that needed a community. His rise in fame and his coming to America was because some rich Hollywood woo types became followers.

  45. says


    > While I do not agree with him very often, he is considered a scholar and a theologian among English Christians.

    He described he had a minor in some religious study. I’m not sure that makes someone a theologian or scholar in religion.

    > He has a degree, I believe, in Microbiology, and he runs the Apologetics Academy website, blog and weekly webcast with guests of various beliefs.

    Microbiology means nothing in a discussion about New Testament text validity. It’s irrelevant and lends him zero credibility. His apparent hobby activity of the website is literally more of a resume point in that regard. In other words, he’s a layman when it comes to the topic he called in to discuss.

    > He has several publications and has performed a lot of research regarding undesigned coincidences.

    Again, all coincidences are undesigned. I find the label ridiculous in that regard. And I don’t really care. It doesn’t matter what his views are. What matters is what experts in the field (in which he is a lay person) think of his points.

    Additionally, the NT texts borrowed from one another and worked from some similar sources, the idea they have cross over information isn’t really compelling with that, in addition to the point we agreed on during the call, that we know the texts have been altered through time, as well.

    > He lectures worldwide.

    So does Ken Ham.

    > Tracie treated him with disrespect and said he needed to do things he has already done before calling the show to try and convince her.

    He had ample opportunity to say he’d done these things, but he didn’t. He mentioned *other people* doing it–but said nothing about himself doing it. He could manage to say others are publishing in this way–but didn’t think it was worth mentioning that he was doing it?

    > He has had many public conversations and debates with scholars who disagree with him.

    Yes, in fact, he mentioned debating non-consensus writers and scholars. What I didn’t hear him mention was debating Bart Ehrman, or other *consensus* scholars of note. So, (1) if he hasn’t done that, it’s telling. (2) If he has done it–again, he could have said it. He managed to say other things. He could have offered any of these points in his own defense, when he had every opportunity, if he felt it was necessary.

    > He has published documents for peer review.

    If that’s the case, all I can say is it’s oddly incompetent he didn’t think to mention that when I said it was something he should do.

    I did google to see what he’s published. I can’t find anything in peer review journals that deal with Biblical scholarship of New Testament texts–which was his topic. What I did find was a lot more telling. He’s an Intelligent Design proponent–a concept debunked in Dover as Creationism repackaged as pseudoscience in order to sell it to schools. It’s also fringe–in a really big way–and something he does seem to support and publish. I’m not sure this is helping your case.

    > She acted as if she was speaking to an imbecile.

    Well, if what you’re saying is true, I’d be more convinced than ever that’s what I was doing. I thought I was only dealing with dishonesty–but you’re making him sound completely ridiculous and incompetent as well.

    > She was very rude to him.

    Not as insulting as you’re being to him now. By coming here to defend him, you’ve left nothing but question marks about why the guy wasn’t capable of mentioning any of this at the time and place it would have been the most predictable response, and the most simple thing to point out. Who would forget to mention they were doing X, when someone says to them “Why aren’t you doing X?”

    > Sometimes she gets going on a rant and tends to get more and more of-track the longer she speaks. I was angered which she lumped him in with flat-earthers and those who think the moon landing was fake.

    I also lumped him in with my personal friends Carrier and Fitzgerald. I think you missed my point. I’m saying that fringe is fringe is fringe. In the end, the thing that buys your ticket to respect is winning over consensus in a field of study/research. And until you can manage that, you are fringe. Your view may be as ridiculous as Flat Earth, or it may be you are the next Theory of Relativity, but that is determined by experts in the field you’re trying to influence, not by less qualified lay people’s popular opinions. It was extremely disingenuous of him to try and claim we should disregard consensus to follow his pet fringe, while claiming that Carrier and other Mythicist authors are hacks. Carrier had a book reviewed in a peer review history journal, and it was positively received:

    Journal of Religious History:
    “Chapters 4 and 5 see Carrier masterfully outline crucial ‘elements’ of background knowledge supporting this position that are so forceful that the sceptically inclined may already incline to be convinced.”

    And even one of his critics in journal geared popularly toward lay people, had to acknowledge the book was a well done effort:
    Journal for the Study of a Historical Jesus:
    “Throughout the centuries this view has had a few but notable adherents such as Bruno Bauer, Arthur Drews, G.A. Wells, and Robert M. Price. Recently, Richard Carrier’s work On the Historicity of Jesus (Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2014) has attempted to reexamine the question in a rigorous academic fashion.”

    I agree the Mythicist view is fringe and not mainstream. But it was dishonest to say Carrier was some sort of mocked hack in peer circles, or that the Mythicist view generally has no scholarship behind it. The problem isn’t that it’s not scholarly. It’s that it’s not consensus. And the point to the efforts of any scholars should not be to subvert the peer review process in order to use popular opinion of less qualified lay people to try and promote the view.

    Apologists take advantage of ignorance, and one sign of this is when they try and get you to reject consensus and only use their experts. In this regard, they are indistinguishable from conspiracy theorists. A common example of this is how they always gravitate toward early dates for NT books. They don’t like to acknowledge a range of dates, and will try and argue the later date scholars are wrong, and the early date scholars are correct. They don’t want to have to deal with the date range, that represents the consensus view of possible dates for the text.

    > I know Jonathan has wanted to engage with someone on TAE for a long time now. I’m sorry the experience was so demeaning to him.

    If what you say is true, he brought it on himself entirely by offering such a dismal defense.

    I should note, however, that I understand fully that your post does not speak for the caller–and the caller is not responsible for the content of your post. I judge the content of your post, not the caller, based on what you have expressed.

    RE: 9-11, others have replied.

  46. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To nhbiker1961

    [liberals] are uneducated on guns

    This is true. The near complete lack of honesty and the complete lack of respect for the rule of law from liberals on this issue in America is absolutely astounding and frightening. You won’t find many liberals that agree with you on guns, but I might be one of them.

    (I still want strict-liability strictly enforced laws for safe gun storage in areas where kids may be present, and I still want mandatory training and licensing, but not a national registry of individual guns. If you want, we can go into that, but it’s mostly besides the point.)

    However, on practically every other issue, the liberals are right and the Republicans are wrong. We’re talking about literal fascists. Not only is Trump and his administration transparently fascist, authoritarian, dangerous, and evil, he even appointed an actual Nazi to his administration. Gorka was his name. He actually wore his father’s Nazi medals to his inauguration ball, and he’s a sworn member of a Hungarian Nazi organization which existed continuously since WW2. Trump’s actions to separate refugee children from their refugee parents is an extreme violation of international law. Other national leaders of other countries have been dragged to the International Criminal Court and charged with crimes against humanity for less. The United Nations’ definition of genocide says that “separation of children from their parents” is a crucial and important element and indicator of genocide. This is how you commit genocide. We did this to the native Americans as well. Comparisons to Hitler are not exaggerations anymore. We live in absolutely horrifying times. I am absolutely horrified that there wasn’t more people in the national marches and protests to demand that Trump reverse course on this issue. I am absolutely horrified that Fox News said that many of the fucking 5 year olds are paid actors, and that most of these refugees are members of drug gangs or some other obscene nonsense.

    Do you know how you get genocide? You get genocide through the constant dehumanization and demonization of minority racial groups. You convince the public that they’re subhuman, and that they’re the cause of all of your problems. This is exactly what the Nazis did to the Jews, building on 2000 years of prior Christian bigotry. Now Trump is doing the same thing, saying that illegal immigrants are all rapers and murders, and calling illegal immigrants “an infestation”, just like the Nazis compared Jews to “rats” – the obvious implication is: “what do you do to rats or an infestation? You kill them”. Do you want genocide? Because this is how you get genocide.

    and they play the victim on almost every issue and seem to get angry when you question their “doctrine”.

    It depends on what you mean. I’m going to need some examples. However, I am probably going to disagree with you vehemently.

    For example, women’s rights, black rights, gay rights, trans rights, etc. – these are not open to discussion among proper liberals, just like “is slavery ok?” was not an issue open to discussion among abolitionists approx 150 years ago. If you don’t like the idea that we should treat these people with respect and dignity, then f off.

    For example, you might claim that America lives in a post-racial society. If so, fucking bullshit. You just have to look at the discrimination in housing, employment, and arrest and criminal conviction rates to see the clear, undeniable difference. For example, from plenty of measures, we know that drug use rates are roughly the same for whites and blacks, and yet blacks are arrested far more frequently and convicted far more frequently, on a percentage basis.

    For example, if someone is against literal food stamps in the current economic climate, then I think that the person is a miserable human being, and the rest of humanity would be better off if the person died in a fire. And as a survivor of third degree burns, I know how horrible of a death that is. You will find absolutely no sympathy from me that your feeling were hurt if you were arguing against a basic social safety net.

    To Ray Smith

    You can disagree all you want, but it is in poor taste and immature to call people derogatory names.

    Don’t care. I strongly suspect the hosts don’t care either. I’m pretty sure like all of the regulars here don’t care either.

    I am generally in the Libertarian camp, and I often get attacked by those who don’t agree with me.

    Libertarians are the scum of the Earth, far worse than fundamental evangelical Christians. I have nothing but hate in my heart for you. I think I hate libertarians more than even Nazis (but that’s probably only because I don’t have as much direct interaction with actual Nazis). Being against basic social safety nets and programs, such as free public education, food stamps, public housing for the homeless, etc., is beneath contempt. It’s absolutely sickening. And if you’re not against these problems, then you’re not a libertarian, and so you should stop calling yourself that. These sorts of programs are part of what it means to be a Marxist, or in more modern terms, a social-democrat.

    If you want to convince someone to your way of thinking, calling them a moron and worse is not the best way to go about it.

    Sometimes people convince others by being nice. Sometimes other people are convinced by being forceful (and mean). All tactics are needed. Your claim “your tactics are not effective” is simply wrong. And if you’re preaching at us that it’s not morally justified even though it is effective, then f off.

  47. nhbiker1961 says

    @ Dave White,

    I actually get treated better by my Republican friends as an atheist then I do with my liberal friends if I disagree with them on any topic they are passionate about. This includes friends I had before social media. They actually lose their crap if you have a different opinion. All media fed and they all think they are victims. I am personally sick of my so-called liberal friends right now, I distance myself from them. My Republican friends ( and independents) don’t really care that I am an Atheist. And yes the liberals, in general, are un-educated on guns unless you would like to prove me different? I own a gun range on one of my properties and maybe you can tell me more about your knowledge on them? Open invitation! The economy is better now, the unemployment is better now, the housing market is better now ( selling a house myself). I voted for Obama, what did that actually get me? Oh yeah, my healthcare has quadrupled to the point I may not have insurance for the first time in my life. Sorry, this crap about republicans are bad and liberals are so good gets old. I am not a Republican, just a guy sick of whining liberals with NO solutions.

  48. nhbiker1961 says

    @ EnlightenmentLibera

    Gun registration will never happen ( What guns?) because that undermines the exact reason for the 2nd amendment. Gun-related deaths are at an all-time low if you remove gangs, criminals, and suicide. Try working on fire and rescue and you will see where the real problems are. ( hint- drugs-alcohol and cars) People that do own guns do train. I have a range on my own property and I can almost guarantee I know more gun owners personally than you do. I do not buy the fascist crap. The only thing I trust less than Fox news is CNN. Trump is the prize you win for accepting the corruption and lies from the DNC. They raped their own party before the election ( Bernie) and thought they would win because of their arrogance. Now you pay the piper. Racism is media fed and is propaganda used by the media to lead the sheep. Well unless you are talking about BLM or Antifa? yeah, the real racists and terrorists. I know a lot of Trump supporters, they are not racists or stupid. Just tired of the left’s rhetoric. I voted Democrat in the past, sorry, Hillary made it impossible this time. I didn’t vote for Trump but the DNC better get their head out of their butt or he will get a 2nd term. Like I said, in another post, my conservative friends treat me better than my liberal friends. That is a fact in the real world.

  49. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Well unless you are talking about BLM or Antifa? yeah, the real racists and terrorists.

    You’re wrong. You’re the kind of person that would have said in 1960 that the Black Panthers and MLK Jr are the real racists and terrorists.

    I know a lot of Trump supporters, they are not racists or stupid.

    And yet most Trump supporters also support the separation of refugee children from their parents. This single policy is arguably the most evil thing that the United States has officially done in the last 50 years. I cannot think of an public official thing that the United States has done which compares in its pure needless evil unless I go back to the concentration camps of Americans of Japanese ancestry in America during World War 2. This is abominable, beyond the pale, and it bothers me immensely that you don’t also see it, and that you are not upset like I am. We’re talking about the separation of parents from their children, from their little 1, 2, 3, etc, year old children, of refugees. They’re fleeing violence from their own country, coming here seeking refuge according to our laws which permit such a thing, and the greeting that they got from Trump is one of the crucial elements of the United Nations definition of ethnic cleansing. I am absolutely sickened and foaming mad at the mouth about this, and I question your humanity for not being similarly upset.

    Hillary was bad, but Hillary would not have been the same. Hillary would not have done things which would have warranted sending her to the International Criminal Court at The Hague to account for crimes against humanity.

  50. says

    “Gun-related deaths are at an all-time low if you remove gangs, criminals…”

    Dude, the gun debate doesn’t exist because people are worried about getting shot legally. You might want to rephrase.

  51. EnlightenmentLiberal says


    Gun registration will never happen ( What guns?) because that undermines the exact reason for the 2nd amendment.

    I quite explicitly said that I was against a national database of individual guns, and so I hope that you were not posting that as a rebuttal to me.

  52. nhbiker1961 says

    @ Secular Stategy

    No, the gun debate is there because the media preys on the uneducated. Criminals do not follow gun laws. Lack of self-defense or making laws to restrict the law abiding citizens will not stop criminals. But save the gun debate, I am tired of the liberal rhetoric. I carry a gun, nothing you say will change that, it just proves why I like my conservative friends better than my liberal friends, I trust them more.

  53. nhbiker1961 says


    No not to you, liberal in general want that. It will never happen. As far as separating kids, I find it ironic there was no outcry when Obama did this. This is an unfortunate effect of the parents breaking the law. Sorry, come in legally or get arrested and there is no other crime you can commit where your kids stay with you in jail. I thought Trump was nuts when he talked about the wall, I am changing my mind. The drug trafficking and criminal behavior in the south should be controlled. An open border is a risk to national security. Personally, I think the parents are not fit to have kids by putting them in that situation and the kids are not treated badly. If that gets a GASP from you, I don’t care. Don’t want to lose your kids, don’t break the law. If you don’t have borders it not a country.

  54. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    What happened under Obama is not the same thing as what is happening under Trump. Stop getting your information from Fox News. Trump passed a “zero tolerance” policy, expanding the policy of separation from cases where it might be justified, to literally everyone, including refugees.

    Also, entering the country as a refugee is not a crime, you motherfucker! Die in a fire.

    The drug trafficking and criminal behavior in the south should be controlled. An open border is a risk to national security.

    The wall is absolutely useless in this endeavor. It’s a waste of money.

    Also, the entire war on drugs is a colossal waste of money, and it should all be legalized immediately. Prohibition 1.0 was a colossal failure, and so too is prohibition 2.0.

  55. nhbiker1961 says

    I do not get my news from Fox news, maybe you should stop getting yours from CNN? The fact is, they are illegal, we have a process. No, if you are going to resort to this in your replies to me, (you motherfucker!) then this will be the last time I read or reply to your post, that shows a lack of IQ and is exactly why I am pulling away from liberal friends ( and your not one of them). Grow the fuck up, name calling because someone disagrees with you is proving my point. Now try dealing with the topic and not personal feelings in your next post or you’re gone from my screen. If you don’t care, then don’t reply to me.

    BTW, LOL@ legalizing drugs, try working on rescue, you will change your mind pretty quick. I was not talking about the war on drugs, I was talking about allowing ILLEGALS to come in with them.

  56. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The fact is, they are illegal, we have a process.

    No. Being a refugee is not a crime. What the fuck are you even talking about? I don’t even.

    that shows a lack of IQ

    No. Being rude, or crass, or using swear words does not show a lack of IQ. It simply shows a lack of concern for the common rules of politeness, and dare I say a lack of concern for some typical “political speech” concerns.

    BTW, LOL@ legalizing drugs, try working on rescue, you will change your mind pretty quick. I was not talking about the war on drugs, I was talking about allowing ILLEGALS to come in with them.

    A bald-faced lie. You contradict yourself in one sentence. Paraphrase “Oh, I wasn’t saying that we should build the wall to stop the inflow of illegal drugs. That wasn’t what I was trying to communicate at all when I said ‘drug trafficking’ ‘in the south’ with regards to Trump’s wall, but now that you mention it, I think that illegal drugs are a huge problem and they should remain illegal”. Do you really expect anyone to believe your lie? I don’t. Stop lying.

    then this will be the last time I read or reply to your post

    Nothing of value would be lost. Your can take your “holier than thou” attitude, and your demand to be pampered, and your asinine blindingly-obvious lying, and shove it up your ass.

    If you want to be treated with respect, then you need to stop lying, stop repeating blindingly obvious falsehoods like “being a refugee is a crime” and “applying for asylum is a crime”, and find a shred of basic human decency.

  57. nhbiker1961 says

    And that is the reason I have un-joined almost 8 atheist groups on Facebook in the last 6 months. It is also why I hate using the term atheist these days because it also gets assumed I am far left. Once again proving my point. I think the only Atheist group I am still on FB is Godless Gunnies. If this is going forum continues to name call when having a discussion, I will be gone from here too. That to me is what gives Atheists a bad name.

  58. says

    “Criminals do not follow gun laws.”
    This is a useless tautology if I’ve ever seen one. If we’re allowed to discount criminals, then all concern over crime instantly vanishes. The murder rate is 0 if we don’t count criminals.

  59. nhbiker1961 says

    @Secular Strategy

    So you think un-arming me ( people that carry) will stop these crimes? Maybe we should stop sober people from driving cars so that if they by chance get drunk then no one will get killed in a drunk driving accident? Sorry, like I said, gun debates grow tiresome, I will always carry a gun, I am one of those people that have actually had to use it to defend myself in the past ( not getting into that story here) but the fact remains I don’t care what peoples opinions are on the topic anymore. It’s a constitutional right. You want to change the 2nd amendment, I want to change the first and the rest will fall. Just like immigration, we have a process for that and nothing you rant about with guns is going to change my mind about how I defend myself or my family.

  60. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Oh no, a super-fragile special snowflake couldn’t stand it when I called them out on their complete lack of basic human decency, their bald-faced lies, and their gross ignorance of the facts. Whatever will I do. I am lost. My world is ending. This person, this stranger that I’ve never met before won’t talk to me any more. I’m adrift, and lost, without purpose or direction in life.

    Door’s to your left.

  61. nhbiker1961 says

    @Secular Strategy


    Once again proving why atheist are shooting holes in their own cause.

  62. nhbiker1961 says

    If you are just going to reply to me with ad hominems, just fuck off, I don’t care about you enough to waste time name calling with strangers. This is my exact point about groups being politically motivated,

  63. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To nhbiker1961
    No, but really, Secular Strategy is right. You cannot say “if you exclude criminals”, because everyone who commits a crime is a criminal. It’s definitional. Maybe what you meant to write was “if we exclude crime from drug gangs”, under the assumption that drug gang crime typically only affects other people involved in drug trafficking. Maybe. I suspect the truth is that it also affects people in those communities, typically inner cities, and typically black areas. So, to discount the importance of those crimes because they only affect black areas may seem to be a little racist.

    Of course, the modern war on drugs was primarily created as a means to oppress blacks (thanks Nixon!), and almost the entire history of drug law in this country was primarily used at various times as a means to oppress racial minorities, so that’s just another case of “working as intended”.

  64. nhbiker1961 says

    So anybody on here knows if the former Jehovah’s Witness that called into the show is on this forum?

  65. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    If you are just going to reply to me with ad hominems, just fuck off

    Ad hominem isn’t name calling. Ad hominem is name calling instead of making an argument. I made the argument, and then I called you derogatory names. Sometimes, name calling in addition to arguments may be a form of “poisoning the well” fallacy, which arguably is a kind of ad hom, but I don’t think that I did that. I think I just called you names, and you’re upset that I called you names, and not that I called you names in place of making an argument, and not that calling you names would mean that a third party would be less likely to accept your arguments because they would take the name calling as attacks on your integrity and reliability. So, yea, definitely not ad hom.

    Do you know what else is fallacious? Tone trolling. Which is what you’re doing.

    The more you know.
    J. I. JOE!

  66. says

    nhbiker1961, I’ll give you a million dollars if you can find the post where I advocate for disarming anyone.

    You can’t rightly complain about the other side ignoring facts when you can’t even properly pay attention to what they are even claiming.

  67. nhbiker1961 says

    @ Secualr

    Ditto, like I said, guns are an irrelevant discussion. I will not change my mind on the matter because of personal experience. If you commit murder you are a criminal, not a law abiding citizen that has a constitutional right to carry a gun. Until you step over that line you should not have restrictions. the debate over regardless of your view as far as I am concerned because nothing will come of an internet debate ( I know, I have wasted time in the past). I discount criminals in those stats. FBI shows a decline in overall violence. The UK shows how stupid gun bans are, they now want to ban knives. You have your opinions, I have mine, as far as guns I don’t care if we agree or not. My issue in here is really with atheism being tied directly to the far left, something that is pulling me away from these groups.

  68. paxoll says

    @nhbiker the reason you don’t get along with your liberal friends is you are an uneducated ass spewing bullshit that has been shown false a million times over. Having patience with someone being purposefully obtuse is impossible.

    Separation of children from their parents for illegal immigration almost never happened under Obama unless a more serious crime took place.

    Research shows that better legislation reduces firearm death an injury. I’m guessing you believe the bullshit surveys of gun owners that believe that 300,000 murders are prevented by firearms. Criminals use weapons that are obtained legally by someone else or are illegally stolen, this means the criminals have exactly the same guns as everyone else, you don’t see criminals running around with AK 47s. If we limit what guns everyone has we ALSO limit what guns criminals have. There is no reason not to have registration for all guns, the only reason to disagree would be because you don’t want the government to know what guns you have, which means you want to be able to do something illegal, yes if the government makes a new law that restricts your ownership and you don’t comply than you are a criminal…just like all those immigrants.

    As for your health insurance, I would take a wild bet that you are healthy and have purchased bullshit health insurance in the past if you didn’t receive it through work. Insurance that would probably bankrupt you if you ever ended up with a chronic illness. But hey, you have the “right” to gamble with your health an not have health insurance, guess you also feel we should be able to leave your ass on the sidewalk when you can’t afford to pay for healthcare.

  69. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I discount criminals in those stats.

    No, seriously, just take a moment and think about this. What does this even mean? Consider the stats of murders. Now, exclude all data about murderers from the group. What are you left with? Zero. Nothing. Nadda. You’re speaking verifiable nonsense here. By definition, if someone is a murderer, then they are a criminal. The stats on murders contains only stats of criminals. There is no such thing as a non-criminal murderer.

    My issue in here is really with atheism being tied directly to the far left, something that is pulling me away from these groups.

    As I already said, good riddance to you. I don’t want to belong to a mere atheist group. I want to belong to a group that tries to make the world into a better place. I want to belong to a group that values secular humanism, atheism, skepticism, science, etc. Many other atheists agree with me. It was formerly known as “atheism+” – The atheism+ forum itself might have gotten out of hand, but I still agree with the basic premise that the atheist movement should strive to be more than mere dictionary atheism, and we should strive to make a movement that is for the benefit of its members and for the benefit of the whole society.

  70. says

    Biker, you went from “focus on the facts” to “I won’t change my mind because of personal experience” with alarming speed. It’s really starting to look like you just want to say whatever supports your firearm ownership at any given moment. I’ll give you a chance to lay out your case as clearly as you possibly can. If all you can muster at this point is a jumble of bullet points, then an objective observer has no need for your input.

  71. nhbiker1961 says

    @@ Secular

    Once again, very tropical. you sound just like CNN repeating the same thing and eventually believing it yourself. WRONG!

    Separation is a by-product of the parents committing a crime ( thus the label ILLEGAL!)

    Gun registration is exactly how guns were confiscated by the government in the past including Australia, not because people wanted to own or do something illegal. I have a feeling you would not know a .223 from a .308, so your view on what types of guns should be owned are irrelevant, I will decide what I need for self-protection not what you personally think should be legal or illegal. If the government did turn tyrannical, don’t you think they know exactly who owns what would favor them? Like I said, it works directly against the 2nd amendment. They want to make it a law? Call me a criminal,, oh wait.I have no guns, sold them all yesterday!

    Yes my health insurance was bullshit before the ACA, not is bullshit and unaffordable. With a 7k deductible and monthly premiums 4x what it was. So is it better to have bad insurance or no insurance? Hmmm

    If you think the ACA is working, then please don’t waste any more of my time. I have a friend that is 58 years old. She makes a little more than 50k a year. Her insurance this year went to $1200 a month with a 6.5k deductible. That is over 20k out of her pocket a year. She decided to not have insurance for the first time in her life and gets to make monthly payments to the hospital for her recent hospital stay. The ACA is imploding. Was it better before, no, but it was at least affordable, And I do not trust the government to run healthcare, so the one pay system will never work because they can’t balance anything.

  72. says

    “Separation is a by-product of the parents committing a crime ( thus the label ILLEGAL!)”
    I never commented on the separation policy. This is the second time you have substituted my argument with your fabrication. I was willing to have a reasonable conversation with you, and I still am. But you are the one who is trying to have a different conversation altogether. I am addressing what you actually said. You are accusing me of saying things that I have not.

    If you want to have that reasonable conversation with me, then please address my actual words. If that’s too much to ask, then you should probably take your strawman and go.

  73. nhbiker1961 says

    @ Secular, I already said I do not want to talk to you, please just fuck off. You are the reason I am trying to distance myself from these groups. Being smarmy doesn’t make you look smart. DOOR TO THE LEFT……………………………

    really I would like to just un-join this group but can’t find a link. The disabled emails notification are not working.

  74. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Secular Strategy
    Don’t be a dick (needlessly). Especially if he’s trying to leave. Please.

    To nhbiker1961
    Sorry, I don’t know. I would help if I knew how, but I don’t know how. Is there an unsubscribe link in the emails that are being sent to you? Maybe someone else here can help. Sorry.

  75. nhbiker1961 says

    Fixed,,, I created a blocking rule to block all emails from this site, Logging off,,bye bye Liberals!

  76. t90bb says

    To the Andrew caller….

    It was very interesting that during your call you talked about how wrong it is to give guidelines or recommend/control behavior….and then to end the call you recommended that the live audience should be controlled from laughing or reacting…you even recommended something be posted as um…GUIDELINES.

    I recommend you sit quietly and try to figure out what you actually believe……..then let us know.

  77. Grandpa Joe says

    I was thinking nhbiker1961 was Tr— with his CNN, liberal bashing, tautologies such as “criminals do not follow gun laws” and straw men such as “open borders.” If I wanted to read Tr— talking points I’d watch ANY news source, CNN and Fox News included. That’s not really contributing anything here. I’m all for diversity of opinions, but please back up your arguments with actual facts. Generalizations about liberals and unsubstantiated rants about the media belong in the dark places of the internet, not here. I think you’ll find most atheists lean left because we’ve got a keen eye for bullshit. 😉

  78. Monocle Smile says

    > wonders why atheist groups lean left
    > throws out a bunch of Breitbart crap that wouldn’t pass the lowest grade bullshit filter

  79. Muz says

    Conservatives so often just want their views kowtowed to, not debated, in my experience. There’s probably some who can keep it under their hats but they are harder to spot for obvious reasons. It’s a rather sad phenomenon I can’t quite explain without reaching for psychology about Authoritarian mindsets. The lefty remainder are always tussling, often to their detriment I’d say.
    It’s superficial but I have a hard time not putting it all down to some base difference in personality. It’s intriguing.

    (Also, guns. Gun registration listslists, har. Google and Facebook know where pretty much all of the guns are already and some big data learning system could find everyone faster than most would be comfortable thinking about. People gotta leave this “But if the government does it it’s bad” thing back in yesteryear where it belongs. )

  80. Theisntist says

    Gun nuts love to throw out the ol’ “if you don’t know a .223 from a .308 you got no right having an opinion about guns” canard.

    It’s like saying ” if you don’t know your black tar from your white powder you got no right to an opinion on heroin regulation.”

    Sorry, I don’t need to use something personally to know society would be better off with less of it.

  81. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    Discard all firearms! Bring back swords and other bladed weapons. Shinken Shobu! Kill eachother face to face, just as the gods intended!!!!
    (oh wait, this is an atheist forum…)
    As… uhm, Reason intended?

    Yeah, that’s the ticket!

    Seriously though, I rather enjoyed the episode.

  82. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Theisntist
    I think you’re wrong, mostly. If you don’t know about the basics of the discussion at hand, like the differences between black tar and white powder, then you should not have any opinions about what the regulatory difference should be between black tar and white powder. Maybe you can have an informed opinion about heroin in general, but not on regulatory differences on things that you know nothing about.

    Similarly, it upsets me greatly when people have opinions about the assault weapon ban when they don’t know what an assault weapon is according to the law, and the differences between automatic, semiauto, and bolt-action, the speed that someone can reload a box magazine, and how long the typical mass shooting is. They claiming to have strong opinions about matters that they know nothing about, and that’s my problem.

    To be clear, if someone knows nothing about guns, but has the general opinion that more dangerous guns should be banned, that’s fine. However, it pisses me off because so many people on all sides of this discussion thing that “assault weapon” is a real category of firearms, when in actuality it’s a myth and a lie that is being perpetuated by the left gun control movement. I believe that they’re purposefully advancing this lie as a stepping stone to achieve their real goal which is the confiscation of all guns. For example, Senator Feinstein is on record as saying that she would have confiscating all guns if she had the votes, but she didn’t. Clinton is on record as praising Australia’s gun control system, which is tantamount to a total confiscation – getting even a bolt-action is hard, and getting a semiauto is exceptionally hard.

    Again, “assault weapon” is a fictionary category. It doesn’t map onto the real world. People complaining about “assault weapons” have no idea what they’re talking about, and they are not useful to this conversation precisely because they don’t know what they’re talking about.

    An “assault rifle” is a selective fire rifle, usually of an intermediary cartridge. Loosely, it’s a machine gun.

    The best informal definition of “assault weapon” is “a scary-looking semiauto rifle”. For example, Senator Feinstein’s proposed new assault weapons ban both explicitly bans and explicitly allows the same gun by name, the Ruger Mini-14. It explicitly bans the Mini-14 by name when it has a scary proverbial paint job, and it explicitly allows the Mini-14 by name when it has a non-scary proverbial paint job (e.g. wood finish). If this and other stuff like this won’t convince you as to the sheer ignorance and dishonesty among most gun control advocates, then I don’t know what will.

    This entire conversation is a farce anyway, when most gun deaths happen from handguns, and even most mass shooters use only handguns and most mass shooting deaths are from handguns. Handguns are the problem, and that’s because they’re more easily concealable and transportable. Rifles of any kind are not more dangerous than handguns in a vast, vast majority of civilian contexts, including most civilian mass shooting contexts. This is due to a variety of reasons, but it comes down to the fact that the circumstances of a civilian shooting are vastly different than the military context. Reasons include: In the civilian mass shooting context: No one is shooting back, so time to reload doesn’t matter. Shooting ranges are incredibly small, and so the additional accuracy and range from a rifle doesn’t really matter. No one is bearing body armor, and so the extra penetration of a rifle doesn’t really matter. Sure, a rifle wound is more serious than a handgun wound, but that alone is seemingly not enough to change the facts about handguns and mass shootings that I gave above.

    If the gun control law is not doing something about handguns, then it’s not doing anything worthwhile.


  83. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal #69:

    Trump passed a “zero tolerance” policy, expanding the policy of separation from cases where it might be justified, to literally everyone, including refugees.

    Article: Law and Crime – Border Data Suggests ‘Family Separation’ Policy Was Distinct From ‘Zero Tolerance’ Policy

    there was no actual “zero tolerance” policy in effect, but rather a determination to focus on detaining and separating immigrants with children.
    Customs and Border Protection (CBP) focused their attention on separating immigrants who brought their children with them. The separations of adults from their children appears to have occurred at the expense of prosecuting adults who attempted to enter the United States without children – and prosecutions generally.
    [A Syracuse University] report sums up these findings:

    Since less than one out of three adults were actually prosecuted, CBP personnel had to choose which individuals among those apprehended to refer to federal prosecutors. The Administration has not explained its rationale for prosecuting parents with children when that left so many other adults without children who were not being referred for prosecution.

  84. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Evil God #109:

    Bring back swords and other bladed weapons.

    Article: ABC News – New Texas law allows open carry of large knives, swords (2017)

  85. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @ CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain – 112

    Hahahaha, I’d heard about that. However, indulging my Highlander fantasy is better suited in an east coast urban setting.

  86. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    About Texas’s law that allows swords. People are making a big deal out of it when it’s really much simpler. In short, many states have laws on how long of a knife blade that you may carry in public. The length limit is pretty arbitrary, and for the state of Texas that allows such easy carrying of guns, it makes very little sense to have length limits on knifes. So, they just got rid of the knife length limit. A side effect is that yes, you can carry swords.

  87. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    I lived in Philly for a very long time, and my teacher had once told me that they never bothered to take the law off the books which allowed people to wear swords. I never bothered to look up whether or not that was true though and pressing the matter with any police I could find always struck me as counterproductive.
    Besides, I’m enough of a fucking weirdo without having to announce it by carrying a sword or swords strapped to my hip. Pocket knives (or the odd pocket tomahawk) call far less attention.
    But whatever. Weapons! Fun for the whole family! Man, I need to rewatch the episode to remind myself of a more interesting topic of discussion.

  88. CAdams says

    Tracie totally side-stepped Johnathan’s argument and refused to engage with it or even consider it. Johnathan was presenting evidence for the reliability of the New Testament. Tracie relying so much on atheist activist scholars, you have to wonder if she has ever meaningfully engaged with the New Testament text itself?

  89. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To CompulsoryAccount7746
    Thanks for that update. That is indeed even more depressing, and even more evidence that anyone involved in this, probably including Trump, should be extradited and brought up on charges at The Hague.

  90. Theisntist says

    EL, I disagree with your opinion on guns, for instance I think Australia’s ban shows how well regulation can work, but you are nevertheless entitled to your opinion. I will however point out that your claim about feinstein is rated false by politifact
    We can quibble about what constitutes going too far with gun regulation, but it’s hard not to think we’ve done too little, since we’ve literally done nothing even though we have more mass murders than any other developed country on Earth.

  91. Robert, not Bob says

    @nbbiker, Re: 2nd Amendment
    I’m pretty sure the 2nd Amendment was passed to make it easier to put down slave rebellions, but that’s irrelevant (and I’m not sure you made an originalist argument anyway). You did allude to the “citizens will take down a dictator” argument that’s made so often. Let’s examine that, eh?

    In order for it to work, the gun-owning populace will have to A, be able to overthrow the tyranny and B, be willing to do so. A is debatable, though it’s implausible, unless they’re going to embark on a decade-long insurgency… B is just dead wrong. The US is undergoing a fascist takeover RIGHT NOW, and where are our armed citizen defenders? Oh yes, they’re cheering it on!

    You guys aren’t La Resistance, you’re the Brownshirts.

  92. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I will however point out that your claim about feinstein is rated false by politifact

    Good to know, thanks. I was wrong.

    EL, I disagree with your opinion on guns,

    Which opinion is that? I haven’t really expressed much of one here. At least, not much of one that can be disagreed with, IMO. Except for the wrong Feintsein quote, what do you think that I’ve said which is wrong, or what you disagree with?

    You guys aren’t La Resistance, you’re the Brownshirts.


  93. StonedRanger says

    That is the damnedest thing. I belong to a writers site that had pretty much the same thing happen in the last week. Some Magatards showed up and started posting in the political forum and wound up violating half the forums rules in their first two days and either got themselves in a timeout or just got themselves banned. Now we get this nhbiker in here trying to make AXP great again or something. Then they flounce like no tomorrow. Just shakin my head wondering what that was actually all about.

  94. indianajones says

    I’m with ya Stoned Ranger, I wouldn’t have minded having a peek at wherever else they flounced away from to see how it went down.

  95. Theisntist says

    EL (on gun control) “Which opinion is that? I haven’t really expressed much of one here. ”

    Well there is this:
    “The near complete lack of honesty and the complete lack of respect for the rule of law from liberals on this issue in America is absolutely astounding and frightening.”

    And this:
    “…If this and other stuff like this won’t convince you as to the sheer ignorance and dishonesty among most gun control advocates, then I don’t know what will.”

    And also this:
    “…I believe that they’re purposefully advancing this lie as a stepping stone to achieve their real goal which is the confiscation of all guns.”

    Where you see frightening dishonesty ignorance and lies with the goal of totalitarianism, I see an honest attempt to make a dent in a deadly epidemic.

    The majority of Americans, the majority of gun owners and the majority of NRA members actually are in agreement on many common sense gun control measures that are being blocked by Republicans bought and payed for by the NRA. No need to pull out the slippery slope fallacy when we can’t even take baby steps that we all agree on.

  96. says

    I think complaints regarding firearm ignorance often act as a form of irrational gatekeeping on the gun safety debate.

    If I said that only those who can tell the difference between a carburetor and a fuel injection system are allowed to comment on drunk driving legislation, that would obviously be absurd. You don’t really need to know anything about the fuel system of a car to understand the dangers of drunk driving.

    Likewise, I don’t see why one would need to identify the difference between a .223 and a .308 to understand gun safety/legislation.

  97. ironchops says

    1. If 500 million people showed up at our borders claiming the need for asylum we should just let them in? No questions asked?
    2. If they get tired of standing in line and crawl over the fence are we to just grant them full citizenship?

  98. Theisntist says

    @Iron chops

    1. No
    2. Also no.

    That doesn’t mean we should separate 500 million refugees from their children and put them all in prison. There are a few less draconian (and far less expensive) options to consider.

    If you need to invent an extreme hypothetical and a straw man response to make your point you might not actually have one.

  99. Theisntist says

    @Secular Strategy

    Irrational gatekeeping is a good way to put it. It’s basically saying only gun enthusiasts can have an opinion about gun ownership, which would of course skew the debate drastically.

    Imagine if only biblical scholars could debate whether the bible should be taught in school, for an atheism related example.

  100. says

    To be absolutely clear, though, there is some information that is greatly helpful to having an evidence-based judgment. If you don’t know the difference between semi-automatic and full-automatic, you should learn that before weighing in. But if you use the word “clip” instead of “magazine,” that’s not really a big deal.

  101. RationalismRules says

    If you took the entire population of the U.S. and combined it with the entire population of the two bordering countries – Canada and Mexico – you still wouldn’t reach 500 million, so it’s hard to imagine how that many people would fit at the border, not to mention why the U.S. population would be trying to immigrate into a country they already live in.

    I’m wondering whether you’re satirising some brainless Trumpian, or are you actually concerned that the entire population of South America may some day turn up on your doorstep? (Also not 500 million BTW)

  102. Theisntist says

    SS, agreed that one should have an informed opinion. But very little in the gun debate requires knowledge of gun design. Most proposed regulation is based on background checks and who should be excluded from owning a gun.

    The assault weapons ban is the main exception. I personally don’t care much about the minor distinctions which can seem rather arbitrary, but it would ban more than 10 rounds, which is reason enough to get my support.

  103. jacobfromlost says

    I admit to being fairly to completely confused about what the arguments are for gun rights. Sometimes I think it is purely a cultural issue stemming from the Old “wild” West. We all ride around in cars today, but we still have the revulsion to the suggestion of eating horse meat–largely because, once upon a time, horses were the only way you COULD get around, and your life and your family’s life (and your larger community’s life, including your country’s) depended upon the horse. Stealing a horse was a hanging offense. Guns were a natural and related part of that culture–for hunting and self defense in an untamed frontier. I see a direct line from this history of hunting, self-defense in a dangerous frontier, protecting your family/community/country, and today’s argument for gun rights (because it’s exactly the same argument, with the emotional/cultural baggage of “our lives depend on it”). But today guns are still everywhere, while horses are not. We don’t live in the wild west anymore. And it’s hard for me to believe an armed populace is really a check on a government that has nuclear weapons. (A far better check is having a military with strong moral and cultural ties to all facets of the country at large, making it very unlikely illegal orders to attack our own people would be followed.)

    Many people still seem to have the paranoia and fear associated with the wild west.

    Then again, Australia is a frontier country as well, and apparently had no problem solving their gun issues. So again, I’m left mostly confused.

  104. syrinx69 says

    This is a response to the caller who claimed that Genesis is the oldest written book and quoted it to support his claim that humans are special and made in God’s image. Actually, Genesis was largely based upon the much earlier Sumerian mythology recorded in the Enuma Elish and Epic of Gilgamesh, which are where we find the stories of creation, Garden of Eden, global flood etc originated. However the Sumerian were polytheists and therefore multiple Gods were involved in their myths including the story of creation. Elements of this are still detectable in the hand-me-down copy in Genesis including the verse the caller quoted in which Bible God declares “Let US make man in OUR own image”. These are multiple Gods having a discussion, not a single God speaking to angels as the caller described.

  105. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Ok. Thanks for answering. I have no complaints with what you said. I still think assault weapons ban advocates are quite dishonest, but what you wrote is fine.

  106. Devil Travels says

    The problem with the word “conservative” is that it’s meaning is often assumed and usually incorrectly. So calling yourself a conservative is meaningless in a conversation.
    What does have meaning is discussing specifics.
    The same can be said about using the term “immoral”. It really contains no information in itself and it’s use, rampant with assumption.
    I also suspect that people who call themselves “conservative” really don’t understand what they mean by that, much like Christians. When pressed, they often fail to provide coherent explanations.

  107. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    but it would ban more than 10 rounds, which is reason enough to get my support.

    I just want to emphasize again that this is a feel-good measure only. Most shootings don’t require more than 10 rounds.

    As a simple factual matter, almost no mass shootings are ever stopped by tackling the shooter during a reload – it’s practically a myth. It does not happen.

    The poster-child of this is the Gabby Giffords shooting. The mainstream media says that the shooter was stopped during a reload, but that’s a lie. The shooter’s gun broke, and then he was stopped while being tackled. More specifically, he had 30+ round mags for his handgun, and he successfully reloaded and was ready to fire again, but the spring in the new box magazine broke. Once he realized this, he started to run away, and then he was tackled.

    I believe that there is one known mass shooter that was stopped by being tackled during a reload. It happened in a commuter train, e.g. extremely close quarters.

    People don’t understand what most mass shootings are: Almost all mass shootings happen over many minutes. It takes only a few seconds to reload a detachable box magazine. A few extra reloads over a period of 5 or 10 minutes is not going to substantially alter the rate of fire. Most mass shootings are not something that happens in the blink of an eye. It’s something that is exceptionally long and drawn out. The mass shooter calmly walks around, killing many people. Mass shooters are not limited by rate of fire, reload speed, magazine size, etc. Mass shooters are stopped when they run out of victims, or they leave, or they commit suicide, or they are shot by police. Banning large capacity magazines will do almost nothing.

    For example, Virginia Tech, 11 minutes, 47 people shot, 30 of them died. Shooter used handguns only, with mostly 10 round mags, with a few 15 round mags. And yet, you will commonly see Virginia Tech shooting described in media and “liberal” sources as a mass shooting that involved high capacity magazines. Fucking bullshit. The mainstream “liberal” media lies regularly about shit like this, and it pisses me off.

    It really pisses me off because I’d like to do things that would be effective at lowering gun deaths, but the goddamn liberals are wanking off in a corner passing ridiculous gun control laws that combat fantasy problems.

    I just learned that the “gun show loophole” may be mostly a myth too, and yet I hear about it all the time, and damnit that pisses me off too.

    You want effective gun control? Then train and license gun owners. Or ban guns, and the ban must at least include all semiauto guns with detachable magazines (including guns that can be reloaded with stripper clips) and all revolvers (which can be reloaded with speedloaders). Loosely, ban everything except bolt-action, lever-action, and pump-action rifles and shotguns. That is what it will take to actually reduce the effectiveness of guns to make a measurable difference in gun death rates, even in mass shootings. This talk about “assault weapons” and “limit magazines to 10 rounds” is a fucking joke.

  108. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I should add that any ban that permits semiauto guns with large internal magazines doesn’t eliminate the possibility – it just makes it more expensive. It’s called a New York Reload.

    For a visual example from a questionable but still useful source:
    A sheriff does a demonstration at the range. Reloading a box magazine that’s right in front of you takes 2 seconds with a tolerable amount of practice. (Add on another second or two if you need to draw from a vest instead of from a table in front of you.) I’ve never fired a gun, and I’m confident that with a couple of days of practice, I could get that good too at reloading. It’s not rocket science. It just takes practice, and not that much practice either.

    Compare how long it takes to do aimed shots vs how long it takes to reload. And now compare that to the actual rate of fire that we see in mass shootings, which is typically far less. Again, mass shootings are not a 5 second killing spree. Most mass shootings are better described as a leisurely turkey shoot. Magazine size doesn’t matter except for circumstances that are rare even for mass shootings.

    Tangent: Did you know that in military basic training, relatively little of it is used to teach you how to shoot? That’s because learning how to shoot a gun tolerably well doesn’t take that much practice. Most of military basic training is what we might call brainwashing, aka training the person to obey orders and ignore some of their instincts to run away, etc.

  109. twarren1111 says

    Tracie! Such a hilarious response to the libertarian nonsense! I find your demeanor joyful and your insights brilliant. Lol. I’m still chuckling…

  110. Curt Cameron says

    I used to consider myself more in line with the Republicans because of economic issues, but that was a long time ago (I’m 57). I do think that our government should be wise financially, and the Republicans were the ones always talking about how they’re not tax-and-spend liberals. Because of this, and my social views were pretty liberal, I considered myself a small-L libertarian.

    The problem is that the Republicans never actually practiced what the preached about financial responsibility. The Democrats are tax-and-spend, but the Republicans are spend-and-not-tax. Our deficits go up every the Republicans are in charge. And they spend on getting us into wars, not on anything that helps anyone.

    Also, I’ve grown to realize that the idealistic attitude that government should be very limited and not be the party responsible for feeding the poor, can’t work in practice and causes people to actually suffer in real life. Where does all that leave me? Pretty centrist Democrat.

  111. FTL says

    I’ve noticed over the last decade that it was becoming increasingly difficult to discuss anything political outside mainstream liberalism among my atheist friends. And with the most recent election it has gotten to the point that no discussions not completely extreme-liberal will not be tolerated at all. I’ve had two atheist liberal friends completely stop talking to me because I didn’t vote for Hilary. I was accused by one family member of wanting children to die from lack of health-care because I didn’t vote for Hilary. I also didn’t vote for Trump but that didn’t matter because a no vote for Hilary was worse in their eyes because I should have known better as an atheist! Because apparently all atheists should think the exact same way about everything politically because they are so smart and have life all figured out.

    I have not lost a single Republican friend since the election, most of whom are Christians, a couple are Muslim and all know I’m an Atheist.

    Maybe they can afford to be more magnanimous because their candidate won, I don’t know, but I do know that they have been far less obnoxious about my political choice than have been my liberal friends and family.

    I realize the Atheist Experience has an agenda that involves some level of political liberalism and I completely respect that. However, the assumptions made during call-ins and on this forum are not indicative of inclusivity, critical thinking or civility.

    Matt has routinely admitted he can’t balance a check book to save his life but he thinks he understands fiscal conservatism and why someone might vote for even a Christian Republican candidate over a Liberal?

    Phil at the end of the call from the Conservative Atheist wondered about his take on gay marriage. Does Phil not realize that many people choose a candidate based on more than one issue and may, in fact, disagree on several issues with that candidate but aligns on something else more important to them?

    Tracie appears to think she can label a person a Libertarian without truly understanding what makes a person one. Also it’s very presumptuous to assign a label to a person when they themselves have not identified as it.

    I’ve read through this thread and not once has anyone bothered to try to understand how someone can be both an Atheist and a Conservative. There are posts that completely misunderstand what Libertarianism is and even claim they have allegiance to Rand, which is laughable.

    I have become disgusted with the mainstream Atheist movement of late and their militant incivility to anything not lock step in line with far left idiology.

    Gun rights are antiquated. Constitutional Justices are idiots. Immigration Laws are evil. Free Speech is fascist. Lower taxes makes you a murderer. And let’s not forget if you happen to agree with anything a Republican has said it means you can’t be a true Atheist because all Atheists are critical thinkers and critical thinkers don’t think like a Conservative on any issue.

    Some groups need to get the memo that Atheism is not a world-view that requires alignment with your personal thoughts on every political issue.

    I also agree that the obnoxious laughing doesn’t help anyone. Sure, sometimes someone says something that will make a host chuckle but the loud laughter for the sake of being heard over the phone does nothing to bring a person over to Atheism. It’s childish and not something I enjoy as a listener.

  112. jacobfromlost says

    Curt: I remember back in the good ol’ days of email discussion lists in the late ’90s or early 2000’s, I got into a discussion with some conservatives about debt and deficit. I said that the defense budget could be cut in half twice and no one would notice (we’ve more than doubled it since then, and I can’t say I’ve noticed much); if we could band together to land a man on the moon, we could band together to eliminate the deficit (as Clinton had largely done at the time) and then work on the debt, etc. I remember HUGE push back from them–that deficits didn’t matter, and debt was needed for any country, and it wasn’t a big deal, etc (some of that’s probably partially true, some of it not). But I remember thinking the only reason they were saying that is because Clinton was in the White House when we had surpluses, and because they were for tax cuts for the rich which would explode the debt and deficit but they didn’t care because “trickle down economics”. Twenty years later it seems they completely switch sides on this issue depending who is in the White House. Dick Cheney famously said deficits don’t matter, but while Obama was in there the rising economy didn’t matter because “debt and deficit”.

    Now I think they shuffle as much money into the hands of the rich as possible simply so no one knows how much money this country is actually making, and leaving crumbs for everyone else to fight over. Speaking from personal experience, several family members who are very poor have no idea even how personal finances work, but have no problem declaring what should and should not be done on massive economic issues. (I have a cousin who lives in a one room attic apartment, earns minimum wage, works 26 hours a week, and complained when our state’s minimum wage was raised [very modestly] because “people will lose jobs”. So far he still has his job and state is doing fine. But even before the minimum wage was raised, his employer convinced him to “volunteer” at work because if he didn’t, the business would go under and he’d have no job (they don’t ask him to do that any more, even with paying him more). Well, the business is still going strong before and after the minimum wage was increased, and he’s still arguing for tax cuts for the rich so employers can employ people, and absolutely terrified he might lose his truly awful job, etc. He can’t see what’s right in front of his face.)

    Then there are my parents, who live on VA disability benefits, social security, and medicare, and constantly harp on how evil and terrible socialism is. They seem to understand they live on social benefits, but they view them as deserved benefits so somehow that doesn’t count. It’s only “socialism” if those OTHER people get the benefits, whoever the “other” people might be.

  113. Lamont Cranston says

    EnlightenmentLiberal says:

    I just learned that the “gun show loophole” may be mostly a myth too, and yet I hear about it all the time, and damnit that pisses me off too.

    Yes it is indeed “mostly” a myth. There is “sort of” a loophole, but it really has almost nothing to do with gun shows. However, a “gun show loophole” brings in viewers and it is propagated in a way that makes it look like ANY gun show sale can be done without a background check and this is simply is not true.

    The exceptions is a sale by a non-licensed private party which under some circumstances may take place at a gun show. FFL licenses can cost from $30 to $200 plus an additional $90 every three years thereafter.

    Non-licensed sales at gun shows are already not legal in certain states. Also in some states where that may be legal the gun show hosts do not allow private party sales without background checks, or may not allow private party sales at all. In some cases private party sales are allowed but they have to be processed through a licensed fire arm seller (FFL) and that is where the background check is performed.

    The whole thing has little to do with gun shows and only really pertains to private party sales by someone who is not in the business of selling fire arms (otherwise they can be required to obtain a license).

    Undoubtedly there are some in very select venues who really ARE in the firearms sale business but are avoiding obtaining the required license (FFL). This is not a loophole. It is an illegal operation plain and simple and should be dealt with accordingly with no loophole closure required (unlicensed operation of a firearm business, tax evasion, etc.).

    I agree with you that the propagation of misinformation does nothing good for the credibility of the news/entertainment media. This is from someone who was interviewed on the evening news over several nights as part of an investigative piece and knows how hard it can be to make sure an accurate account gets through to the screen. I was the “Shadow” with an altered voice (hence my pseudonym).

    But what has all of this got to do with atheism? 🙂

    Lamont Cranston

  114. huepix says

    Re animal wars.
    Ants have huge battles. Sometimes entire populations are wiped out. Millions dead.

  115. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    But what has all of this got to do with atheism? 🙂

    Your honor, my defense is that someone else brought it up first!


  116. StonedRanger says

    EL When I was in basic training in the US Army we spent fully four weeks out of the ten week training cycle on weapons. We had to learn how to assemble/disassemble our weapons in order that we should be able to field fix any stoppage, that included weeks on the range first qualifying, then practice firing to include night firing. We also had to do the same with the M-60 machine gun. So your assertion about weapons training being minimal is just wrong. Your weapon is what keeps you alive if youre in the infantry. You learn how to use it and keep it operable.

  117. Theisntist says

    I always found it amusing that gun nuts like to say things like “there is no gun show loophole and I am against closing it!” Or “nobody needs magazines that hold more than 10 rounds so I am against banning them!”

    Um, if it doesn’t exist or makes no difference, why not throw the rest of us a bone and give us our symbolic victory so we can move on?

  118. paxoll says

    Gun control is pretty simple what is realistically necessary for self defense vs what is realistically able to reduce deaths. One persons life saved because of a law that has no impact on self defense is justified. Research shows that gun injuries and deaths are reduced in states with more gun laws.

    Magazine size, most effective way to prevent a gun from working is to not have ammunition in it. It doesn’t matter if it takes less than a minute to reload, that is however many seconds a mass shooter is not able to kill people, that is time for people to run, time for people to hide, time for a hero to risk their life to attack. Also the risk of a gun jamming is increased with changing magazines, and there have been shooters whose guns have jammed and they had to switch guns or they surrendered.

    Assault rifles. Contrary to established laws, what makes a gun designed for assaulting is not automatic firing. It is concealable, it has high capacity magazines, and it is not designed for another purpose. The obvious go to is pistols, very concealable, give it a high capacity magazine and then it is perfectly designed for assault. A car can be a weapon, but it is not designed to be a weapon. A rifle is not designed for defense, it is designed for long range accuracy and stopping power. It can be designed for hunting, or given a high capacity magazine designed for assault. An AR-15 can be used for hunting but it is designed for assault, therefore an assault rifle. How many people go deer hunting with an AR-15 with a 30 round mag? No one.

    Gun show “loophole”. Pretty straight forward. Can you go to a gun show find a large variety AND purchase one without a background check….yes. Done. It doesn’t matter if licensed firearm dealers have to do background checks at gun shows….it doesn’t matter if they make up the vast majority of the people at gun shows…if someone wants a gun and is not allowed to own one than it is very simple to go to a gun show and get one. Defeats the whole purpose of background checks. Its like you have to have a drivers license to drive a car, but you can drive a 4 wheeler down the road without a license. Either make it illegal to drive a 4 wheeler on the road, or make a license necessary to drive one.

    Gun registration. Helps law enforcement track where a gun belongs. Absolutely no reason to NOT force registration. I would add throw insurance on top of this but that could be limiting rights depending on how poor someone was.

    Go tell the parent of a shooting victim that the logic behind any of these gun control arguments are wrong, because they aren’t and if one of them might have saved their child whatever bullshit excuse someone gives them on why these are not laws is an accomplice in my book.

  119. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To StonedRanger
    We’re disagreeing over characterization. Even by your own admission, weapons training is less than 50% of basic training. Moreover, you said that you spent a lot of time learning how to use a variety of weapons, but a mass shooter only needs to learn how to use one. You’re making my case for me. So, just a few weeks spent learning how to use a particular weapon? Again, you’re making my case for me.

    To Theisntist

    Um, if it doesn’t exist or makes no difference, why not throw the rest of us a bone and give us our symbolic victory so we can move on?

    You’re asking “can’t I stay ignorant and wrong please?”. Moreover, you’re asking me to shut up so you can stay ignorant and wrong please. Of all places, you say this on an atheist forum?

    I like playing real politic. If we’re going to alienate a bunch of voters who might otherwise vote Democratic party – and we are – I would prefer that we actually gain something from it. Instead, it’s just a lose-lose policy. Also, it tricks many people into complacency, believing that they’ve actually accomplished something.

    To paxoll

    Research shows that gun injuries and deaths are reduced in states with more gun laws.

    Not really, no. It doesn’t. Try the National Academy Press for a thorough overview of this topic.

    Gun injuries and deaths are undoubtably reduced by reducing access to guns. However, reducing access to the mythical category “assault weapons” does nothing, and reducing access to “large capacity magazines” does practically nothing. The National Academy Press paper also reports that right to carry laws are seemingly neutral when it comes to crime rates, but they would also caution that the amount of data that we have on all of these topics is incredibly poor, in part because shootings are rare events statistically, and because Republican administrations have passed laws against the proper reporting and tracking of data, and thus we have much worse data than what we could reasonably have if we had better data collection laws.

    time for a hero to risk their life to attack.

    Again, you’re living in a fantasy world. Stop getting your information from Hollywood and video games. This never happens. People have looked into it, and it’s happened exactly once in a mass shooting, and it was only because they were in the extremely confined space of a commuter trian, and even then it was partially luck. Mass shootings are never stopped by someone stopping the shooter without a gun. It just does not happen. Either the mass shooter voluntarily leaves, or their gun breaks (i.e. the Gabby Giffords shooting), or they kill themselves, or the police capture or kill them. They are not stopped by the potential victims. It never happens.

    I want to pass laws that are based on reality, on facts, and not based on your Hollywood-level knowledge of guns.

    Assault rifles. Contrary to established laws, what makes a gun designed for assaulting is not automatic firing.

    Please try to get your terminology right. “Assault rifle” is a personal weapon, a select-fire rifle, usually of an intermediary rifle cartridge, e.g. a machine gun. That’s been the historical and technical-military definition of the term. You mean to be using the similarly sounding term “assault weapon”, not “assault rifle”. “Assault weapon” is a scary looking semiauto-rifle.

    Contrary to established laws, what makes a gun designed for assaulting is not automatic firing. It is concealable, it has high capacity magazines, and it is not designed for another purpose.

    Protip: Almost all guns designs were designed to kill people. They are designed for the military, and then knock-offs find their way into civilian hands.

    An AR-15 can be used for hunting but it is designed for assault, therefore an assault rifle. How many people go deer hunting with an AR-15 with a 30 round mag? No one.

    How many people go hunting with the Mini-14? Lots. The Ruger Mini-14 is in many ways comparable to the AR-15. For superficial stats, they’re the same – they both shoot roughly the same round. They both are semiauto only. They both can accept standard box magazines up to 30 rounds and higher.

    The Mini-14 is so popular as a hunting rifle that even Diane Feinstein’s law couldn’t make up its mind whether it wanted to ban it or not – the law both explicitly banned it by name and explicitly allowed it by name, surely because the Mini-14 with one paint job looks very scary, and the Mini-14 with another paint job matches the impression that most people have of “a hunting rifle”. I strongly encourage you to look at the pictures on Wikipedia for the different “paint jobs” of the Mini-14.
    And then realize that the wood-appearance rifle at the top of the page, and the scary looking rifle a little further down, the one painted block, with a bipod, scope, and pistol grip and collapsible stock, is the exact same weapon, that shoots the exact same bullets, at the exact same speed and accuracy, and can hold the exact same magazines, etc.

    Gun show “loophole”. Pretty straight forward. Can you go to a gun show find a large variety AND purchase one without a background check….yes. Done. It doesn’t matter if licensed firearm dealers have to do background checks at gun shows….it doesn’t matter if they make up the vast majority of the people at gun shows…if someone wants a gun and is not allowed to own one than it is very simple to go to a gun show and get one.

    It’s obvious that you don’t know what you’re talking about, and so let me educate you.

    This “loophole” has nothing to do with gun shows at all. This “loophole” is about private sales, from one person to another person, which can happen anywhere. It can happen outside of a grocery store, or in the park, etc. It’s called a gun show loophole because it happens more often outside of gun shows, but it’s just private sales which can happen anywhere.

    The facts of the matter are that commercial gun sellers, people who make a living off selling guns, are required to do background checks, either themselves, or through a FFL on site. It’s already a crime for a commercial gun seller to sell a gun at a gun show without doing a background check on the buyer.

    To buy a gun at a gun show without a background check, you have to find a seller willing to break the law, or you have to find someone who is not a commercial gun seller, and agree to purchase the gun from the private individual.

    From people who have gone to gun shows, it’s often quite difficult to find someone to do a private sale, because few private persons go to gun shows with the intent to sell guns without being a commercial gun dealer.

    If you want to look informed to people who know what they’re talking about instead of as a rube, then stop calling it a “gun show loophole”, and start calling it the “private sale loophole”.

    Go tell the parent of a shooting victim that the logic behind any of these gun control arguments are wrong, because they aren’t and if one of them might have saved their child whatever bullshit excuse someone gives them on why these are not laws is an accomplice in my book.

    A naked fallacious appeal to emotion in order to dismiss an argument that you don’t like. I would hope that the adult has enough sensibility left that they want to pursue effective gun control instead of passing gun control that is appearance-only. To paraphrase someone from Pharyngula, “I damn well want to know if the current regulations of murder machines is effective or not”.

  120. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Also, while I’m here, Paxoll, if you try to cite any individual studies that show that gun crime rates dropped in response to a particular piece of legislation, and if it happens at the same time that violent crime rates were / are dropping worldwide because of the banning of leaded gasoline, then I am going to call shenanigans on your evidence.

    The current situation of “experts” on violent crime is truly pathetic on all sides of the debate. The reality is that the single most effective crime prevention technique done in the last 50 years is the banning of leaded gasoline. The effects of banning leaded gasoline on violent crime rates is absolutely huge, and yet almost no one is talking about it, instead talking about their own personal pet theories that have little to no evidence behind them, whether it’s increased policing, increased prison sentences, or increased access to birth control and abortions.

  121. paxoll says


    Not really, no. It doesn’t. Try the National Academy Press for a thorough overview of this topic

    Ahhh.. yes yes it does.
    and I’ll end with this systematic review

    Again, you’re living in a fantasy world. Stop getting your information from Hollywood and video games.
    Go fuck yourself.

    It’s obvious that you don’t know what you’re talking about, and so let me educate you.

    This “loophole” has nothing to do with gun shows at all. This “loophole” is about private sales, from one person to another person, which can happen anywhere

    Did I say it wasn’t a private sale? I specifically said, which you fucken quoted “Can you go to a gun show find a large variety AND purchase one without a background check….yes.” What part of this is hard to understand, a gunshow has people standing around selling guns. You can simply walk in and buy one. Not easy to track down a private seller with a large selection along with ammo and everything you need to break the law…why do you think people go to a grocery store instead of a farmer? Please also reference the study on gun purchase waiting laws in the above selection of research.

    The facts of the matter are that commercial gun sellers, people who make a living off selling guns, are required to do background checks, either themselves, or through a FFL on site. It’s already a crime for a commercial gun seller to sell a gun at a gun show without doing a background check on the buyer.

    To buy a gun at a gun show without a background check, you have to find a seller willing to break the law, or you have to find someone who is not a commercial gun seller, and agree to purchase the gun from the private individual.

    Seriously making me fucken repeat myself?

    It doesn’t matter if licensed firearm dealers have to do background checks at gun shows….it doesn’t matter if they make up the vast majority of the people at gun shows…if someone wants a gun and is not allowed to own one than it is very simple to go to a gun show and get one.

    Yes there are fucken plenty of people at gun shows willing to make a private sale, pretty much every fucken customer there is one such person.

    Please try to get your terminology right. “Assault rifle” is a personal weapon, a select-fire rifle, usually of an intermediary rifle cartridge, e.g. a machine gun. That’s been the historical and technical-military definition of the term. You mean to be using the similarly sounding term “assault weapon”, not “assault rifle”. “Assault weapon” is a scary looking semiauto-rifle.

    So I specifically state this and you fucken go pedantic and say it anyway? I made my point that is not refuted by anything you said. The ruger mini is designed as a hunting rifle, the fact that it CAN hold large capacity mags doesn’t mean people go hunting with large capacity mags.

    Also, while I’m here, Paxoll, if you try to cite any individual studies that show that gun crime rates dropped in response to a particular piece of legislation

    Gun control isn’t about stopping crime it is about stopping gun related deaths and injury. See above studies.

  122. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Probably http hyperlink count. You can try to post again with html code tags, or otherwise obfuscate the links.

  123. Joshua Adamson says

    I wish that this level of discourse was normal. As much as all of you disagree or have various opinions and experiences, I haven’t seen a more valid discussion about gun control ever on a MSM channel. Personally I identify as a justice democrat but I prefer to think critically about every policy issue that I have time to educate myself about. I could read people like EnlightmentLiberal all day, you seem to really work harder than every journalist ive ever seen. There is such a thing as good conservatism but with how twisted everything is right now and seeing the arguments posted by nhbiker its obvious that the right wing in america is basically a zombie, its moving and exhibiting all the signs of life but in reality what made it human is long dead and all that is moving it is a need to eat brains. America has cognitive dissonance, even the democrats are long since bought out, since bush sr every president has been taking one step forward and two steps back, no steps forward and four steps for Donald Johnathan Trump. Trump is the most embarrassing human being ever born and he makes me embarrassed to be taken advantage of. politicians have always been corrupt but trump makes me feel like life itself on this planet is just a big comic book strip. I hope there are people here that can give opinions on what is happening now that has perspective from the past, I’m only 23 and I feel like this guy is way more dangerous and terrifying than presidents from the past. Even Hitler had to pass socialist policies for years to ingratiate himself to the people before he rolled out the political killings and apartheid laws on a large scale. Trump is like retarded hitler, he doesn’t make anything hard to figure out and he is never subtle. The secret to right wing politick is to use euphemisms and to lie effectively. Trump does not lie effectively, his lawyers (whats left of them) have said repeatedly that they wont let him testify in the “witch-hunt” that he tweets about literally an average of 3 times a day because they know he couldn’t tell the truth to save his life and i mean literally to avoid a conspiracy charge the president couldn’t answer any questions without being held for purgery. Trump is the death knell of either america or the GOP and id rather have it out with shitty democrats then have any more years of playing run and hide from fundamentalists that want religious liberty task forces to seek out and subdue organizations found to be encroaching on the religious liberty of certain fundamentalist cadres. That is why conservative atheists are rare, because they should be rare. Just like how the GOProud was dissolved after they nominated trump to the RNC. Now Log Cabin Republicans is the only gay conservative group. Well, after trump chose Mike pence for a vice president its not very surprising there are very few homosexual conservatives! A conservative atheist is voting against their interests and for now at least it is still more common that voters vote with their interests, now maybe right wingers vote based on party alone but atheists commonly question why they are voting for one person or another and upon examination, very seldom do modern republicans ever vote in favor of secularism. so there shouldn’t be very many conservative atheists in america right now. there could be a better argument for it someday, just not today, not with this cheeto puff and his gang of criminals infesting the us government

  124. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @paxoll 148:

    Any particular reason my comment is waiting moderation?

    Moderation kicks in when there are four or more links. Rarely, posting may mysteriously silently fail (iirc) on a particular url – for that, use a url shortening service to obfuscate it and post again.
    @EnlightenmentLiberal #149:

    You can try to post again with html code tags

    Ha. I’ve not tried code tags here.
    That makes the urls ordinary text to copy/paste, rather than click.
    Clickable anchor tags <a href=”URL”>TITLE<a>, and untagged urls, can only appear three times.

  125. Unanonymous Jones says

    Wasn’t there a study done where people of solid political demeanors were placed in an MRI and asked about their positions, to see which areas of the brain lit up? And the brains of those on the right showed increased activity in the areas of the amygdala thought to correlate with fear and anxiety? I have a vague memory of reading something like this, but I can’t remember where,a nd I can’t seem to locate it.

    Anyway, I was going to suggest that this might help explain the reason why the atheist community leans to the left, and those of the right wing persuasion tend to lean religious… but if I just dreamed up a non-existent neurological study, it doesn’t really help me make any sort of point.


    How you doin’?

  126. Theisntist says

    In other news, the advertisement at the top of this thread just said “Atheism is dead, find out why”
    I didn’t click it and now it’s another ad. Wish I’d found out why when I had the chance!

  127. Joshua Adamson says

    Doctor helen fisher spent most ofnher careet studying the differences between levels of seratonin, dopamine, testosterone, and estrogen in various subjects and found that there are predisposed factors that inform how the brain works. She found that right leaning individuals are high in serotonin and serotonin has alot to do with loyalty and a kind of follow the leader mentality. Subjects high in serotonin are wonderful managers and organizers but do not handle new ideas or being wrong well. This leads to an aversion to change and a desire for self preservation, including an extreme need to defend ones opinions and close friends and relatives. Subjects high in dopamine were more open to being wrong, open to change anand to trying new jobs and foods and were more open to discourse with those whom they dont agree with or have any immutable characteristics with. So dubject high in dopamine are less afraid of the “other” such as those of differing race, gender, or religion. Subjects high in dopamine are excellent problem solvers and excel at functioning outside of their comfort zone. They will often be adrenaline seekers, danger seeking reporters, company whistleblowers, and be more open to supporting social change. Now the fun part is that estrogen and testosterone tell us more about the methods someone uses to impact their own life. Someone with high estrogen is more likely to be passive agressive and anti confrontational, while someone high in testosterone is more impatient but also more willing to act when a situation is dangerous. So yes there are real things that can be understood about the mix of these four chemicals that all of us have in some ratio

  128. Lamont Cranston says

    EnlightenmentLiberal says:

    How many people go deer hunting with an AR-15 with a 30 round mag? No one.

    How many people go hunting with the Mini-14? Lots.

    I commend you on your patience when trying to correct the record. Here is a piece of data to support your statement (note MSR stands for Modern Sporting Rifle which includes those like the Mini-14 and AR-15).

    According to a recent study by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, 27 percent of hunters surveyed have used a modern sporting rifle (MSR) in pursuit of game. Of those, 48 percent report having used a MSR within the past five years,

    I too find it frustrating when people make unsubstantiated claims that turn out to be totally untrue (like the whole Gun Show Loophole thing, and now this hunters don’t use them claim).

    I was thinking there is no relevance to atheism, but the way people believe some of this stuff without actual evidence has me rethinking that.

    Lamont Cranston

  129. Theisntist says

    The gun show loophole isn’t an “unsubstantiated claim that turns out to be totally untrue.”
    Here is the exact wording in the Federal code:
    “Any person may sell a firearm to an unlicensed resident of the State where he resides as long as he does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law.”
    Now, one may argue that it is poorly named, since it mostly pertains to private sellers, but that it just semantics. The relevant point is there is a loophole that is used to legally sell guns to people who are not legally allowed to buy them.

  130. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Joshua Adamson #154:
    You should be wary of anyone building personality categories with a simplistic model, who reduces a neurotransmitter to a single effect, who tells a story of complex behavior that happens to fit traditional gender roles, who proposes a reductive neurological explanation for political leanings, or who gets their income by lending intellectual credibility to algorithms of a commercial venture (in this case: a dating site).

  131. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Now, one may argue that it is poorly named, since it mostly pertains to private sellers, but that it just semantics. The relevant point is there is a loophole that is used to legally sell guns to people who are not legally allowed to buy them.

    To me, calling it a “loophole” means an abuse of the rules, something that wasn’t foreseen. I’m pretty sure that you’re going to get a drastically different reaction from a substantial portion of people if you call it what it really is: “private sales”, and if you also correctly describe the policy that you want: “require all private sellers to get a background check via an FFL”. I’m not saying that you’re wrong for wanting this policy change, but I am saying that the choice of words “gun show loophole” is calculated to evoke something very different in the listener than what is actuality the reality, and in my book, that is blatant dishonesty.

  132. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To paxoll

    Let me respond to your points in separate posts. It takes a lot of work to respond to a Gish Gallop

    1- Noblesville West Middle School. Taking your source at face value, the shooter was tackled and disarmed while shooting. While this is an example of an attempted mass shooter being stopped by being tackled, it is not an example where magazine size limits would have helped.

    2- The Gabby Giffords shooter was not tackled while trying to reload, even though many news sites report it as such. The shooter reloaded his Glock pistol, and successfully completed the reload, and tried to fire, but the gun broke. The spring in the new magazine broke.

    This is not an example of a mass shooter being tackled while he had a working gun. This is not evidence that magazine limits would have helped.

    I mentioned this particularly up thread already. Yet, you went ahead and cited it anywhere here. You are not engaging in good faith.

    3- The Freeman high school shooting. The shooter was not stopped by being tackled. According to this news site which claims that court documents say that the shooter was stopped by being talked out of it by a janitor.

    In particular, this is not an example of a mass shooter being stopped by being tackled, and it’s definitely not evidence that magazine size limits would help.

    4- Tennessee Waffle House shooting. It appears as though this is a genuine example. It also happened in 2018, and so I’m not surprised that my sources didn’t mention it. I don’t feel bad about not knowing this one.

    5- Olathe shooting. This wasn’t even a mass shooting. It was a shooter who shot a foreigner because they were a foreigner. It’s a hate crime, and not an attempt at mass indiscriminate killing. This is not a mass shooting, attempted or otherwise. Did you even read your source properly before citing it here? This is another example which shows that you are not engaging with good faith.

    This made me realize a potential methodological error that I need to watch out for. If a paper only uses mass shooter data, then they might miss important cases for this discussion. In particular, a mass shooting is often defined as a shooting that involved 4 or more deaths, not counting the shooter, or something like that. The problem methodology is that one would miss attempted mass shooters who were stopped early and who otherwise would have killed 4 or more people.

    Excepting the really new 2018 Waffle House shooting, I feel like I was technically correct, but I feel uncomfortable about the potential methodological error that I identified. I suspect there are probably more attempted mass shooters who were stopped by being tackled while their gun was working, and some who were tackled while reloading. However, even still, it still seems to be incredibly rare. Unfortunately, I need to find a better paper that doesn’t have this methodological flaw.

    Go fuck yourself.

    I understand. However, could you please try a little harder to read instead of just skimming? It seems like you are on autopilot, and not engaging critically. Again, one of your cited examples wasn’t even a mass shooting, and I preemptively rebutted another (the Gabby Giffords shooting) but yet you still cited it as though you didn’t read my preemptive rebuttal. Did you get those by randomly googling, and if so, did you fully read them before posting? Or are you getting these links from somewhere else?

  133. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal #164:

    I suspect there are probably more attempted mass shooters who were stopped by being tackled […] Unfortunately, I need to find a better paper that doesn’t have this methodological flaw.

    Article: FBI – Study of US Active Shooter Incidents 2000-2013
    (pdf download link at the bottom)

    The agreed-upon definition of an active shooter by U.S. government agencies […] is “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and
    populated area.” Implicit in this definition is that the subject’s criminal actions involve the use of firearms.
    For purposes of its study, the FBI extended this definition to include individuals, because some incidents involved two or more shooters. Though the federal definition includes the word “confined,” the FBI excluded this word in its study, as the term confined could omit incidents that occurred outside a building.
    This is not a study of mass killings or mass shootings, but rather a study of a specific type of shooting situation […]. Incidents identified in this study do not encompass all gun-related situations; therefore caution should be taken when using this information without placing it in context.


    The majority of the 160 incidents (90 [56.3%]) ended on the shooter’s initiative-sometimes when the shooter committed suicide or stopped shooting, and other times when the shooter fled the scene.
    In other incidents, it was a combination of actions by citizens and/or law enforcement that ended the shootings. In at least 65 (40.6%) of the 160 incidents, citizen engagement or the shooter committing suicide ended the shooting at the scene before law enforcement arrived.
    Of those:
    * In 37 incidents (23.1%), the shooter committed suicide at the scene before police
    * In 21 incidents (13.1%), the situation ended after unarmed citizens safely and successfully restrained the shooter. In 2 of those incidents, 3 off-duty law enforcement officers were present and assisted. Of note, 11 of the incidents involved unarmed principals, teachers, other school staff and students who confronted shooters to end the threat.
    * In 5 incidents (3.1%), the shooting ended after armed individuals who were not law enforcement personnel exchanged gunfire with the shooters. In these incidents, 3 shooters were killed, 1 was wounded, and 1 committed suicide. The individuals involved in these shootings included a citizen with a valid firearms permit and armed security guards at a church, an airline counter, a federally managed museum, and a school board meeting.
    Even when law enforcement arrived quickly, many times the shooter still chose to end his life. In 17 (10.6%) of the 160 incidents, the shooter committed suicide at the scene after law enforcement arrived but before officers could act.
    In 45 (28.1%) of the 160 incidents, law enforcement and the shooter exchanged gunfire. Of those 45 incidents, the shooter was killed at the scene in 21, killed at another location in 4, wounded in 9, committed suicide in 9, and surrendered in 2.

    I figured you’d be curious, so I cross-referenced all the “restrained” entries it mentions, to identify weapon and circumstance. It was rushed spot checking, so inaccuracies in the selected news reports are possible. Wikipedia sources were self-aware, since they synthesized reports.
    Appalachian School of Law 2002
    Wikipedia -

    [A former student] set down his gun and raised his arms like he was mocking people. […] Besen, a Marine veteran and former police officer [and student] engaged in a physical confrontation with [the shooter], and knocked him to the ground. […] Police reports later noted that two empty eight round magazines designed for Odighizuwa’s handgun were recovered.

    Laidlaw Transit Services Maintenance Yard 2001
    LA Times -

    A school bus driver in San Jose allegedly shot and killed a colleague before dawn Monday and wounded three others […] [Another driver] talked the assailant into dropping a handgun and then restrained her before she could flee.

    Gold Leaf Nursery 2003
    FBI article
    The shooter was restrained by a citizen while attempting to reload his gun [semiautomatic handgun according to news report]
    Columbia High School 2004
    Washington Post -

    pump-action shotgun […] He fired two blasts before Assistant Principal John Sawchuk tackled the 6-foot-2, 230-pound teenager. As the two struggled, a third shot ripped from the gun, hitting the legs of a special-education teacher named Michael Bennett. Although bullets came close enough to graze a student’s baseball cap, no one else was hit. There were no fatalities.

    Hudson Valley Mall 2005
    FBI article

    The shooter continued firing as he ran farther into the mall until he ran out of ammunition. No one was killed; two people were wounded. The shooter was restrained by two mall workers

    Campbell County High School 2005
    Wikipedia -

    [Principal] confronted [a student] inside the administration office. Then [the student] brandished his .22-caliber pistol […] and shot [him]. He later shot [two] assistant principals. Bartley was soon disarmed by another teacher inside the office.

    Pine Middle School 2006
    Wikipedia -

    [A student] shot and injured two 14-year-old eighth grade classmates with a .38-caliber revolver [(loaded with 3 rounds)] […] He pulled the trigger twice but the gun did not fire because those chambers were empty. He then fired three times […] One bullet hit […] and another ricocheted and hit
    [A teacher] managed to convince [the shooter] to drop his gun and then restrained him

    Weston High School 2006
    Wikipedia -
    [A student] with a .22 caliber revolver and a 20-gauge shotgun […] The school custodian […] wrestled the shotgun away […] [The principal] then grabbed Hainstock, wrestled him to the ground and swept away the gun. Staff and students […] holding him until the police arrived. [The principal was the only one shot but died in the hospital]
    Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church 2008
    Wikipedia -

    [The gunman] fired a shotgun at members of the congregation during a youth performance of a musical, killing two people and wounding seven others. […] a longtime church member […] deliberately stood in front of the gunman to protect others, was killed at the scene. The shooter was stopped when [four] church members […], along with [a] visitor […] restrained him.

    Kkottongnae Retreat Camp 2009
    LA Times -
    [The shooter walked from cabin to cabin with .32-caliber revolver. 1 killed, 2 wounded.] “From all accounts it was hand-to-hand fighting,” said sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Lujan. “The suspect had significant blunt-force trauma to the face and remains unconscious.” [A couple hid the gun in bushes and pummelled the shooter with a dumbbell.]
    Grady Crawford Construction Company 2009
    CNN -

    [2 killed, 1 wounded. The shooter] left the second building to reload his [.357-caliber revolver]. He re-entered that building, shot at and missed a fourth person
    Four people then wrestled [him] to the ground. One of them, a foreman at the construction company, put his finger between [his] finger and the trigger guard of [the] gun, stopping the gunman from shooting

    Deer Creek Middle School 2010
    CNN -

    Benke tackled the gunman, who had shot and wounded two students, and with the help of another teacher and some bus drivers, was able to hold him until police arrived.
    “I noticed that he was working a bolt-action rifle,” he said. “I noticed that and realized that I had time to get him before he could chamber another round.”

    Kelly Elementary School 2010
    CBS -

    [The shooter] allegedly shot into a crowd of students on the playground of Kelly Elementary School Friday, wounding two girls […] allegedly emptied a .357-caliber magnum revolver at the children and had more bullets, along with a gas can and propane tank […] Three construction workers who saw the shooting and then subdued [him] are being credited with saving further carnage.

    Perry Hall High School 2012
    Wikipedia -

    A student pulled [a 12 gauge shotgun] out in the cafeteria, where he fired a shot that struck a 17-year-old male student in the back, critically wounding him. A school guidance counselor […] immediately […] attempted to subdue him. More faculty members rushed the shooter, who fired into the ceiling during the struggle.

    Pennsylvania Municipal Building 2013
    Wikipedia -

    While approaching the building on foot, [the gunman] fired a .223 Ruger Mini-14 rifle into the building 28 times, through windows. Then, he went back to his car to retrieve a Six-Shot .44 Magnum Revolver before entering the building and the meeting room. There, he began shooting the handgun at meeting attendees. While the gunman was still shooting, two men struggled with him over the gun. They subdued, disarmed, and held him, preventing further deaths and injuries.

    Gabby Giffords was mentioned, but I skipped it, since you were already familiar.

  134. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    * Hm, that was only 16 events (out of the 21). I only searched for “restrained”.

  135. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain
    Thanks for the hard work! That’s a lot of work. I’ll definitely start there.

    I did some brief additional research on some of them, but it seems that out of the 16 given cases, zero of them would have been better if the shooter was limited in the semiauto magazine capacity. A surprisingly high number of them didn’t involve semiauto firearms at all, i.e. shotguns (I presume pump-action), a few revolvers, and a bolt-action rifle. At least one had the shooter being talked down. A few were stopped when the shooter was tackled by the unarmed victims, but seems that zero tackles happened during a reload of a semiauto firearm.

    Did I miss anything? This plays really well into the story that I want to tell.

    I was incorrect that almost zero mass shooters are stopped by being tackled by the unarmed victims, but I think that I’m still correct that incidences where a semiauto magazine capacity limit would have helped is still very close to 0. It’s also interesting that I want to guess that the number of times that the shooter is stopped by being tackled while they have a working gun and ammunition is, like, what, about 5%, based on this data?

  136. paxoll says

    @EL More fucken pedantic bullshit. I stated that the time involved in reloading can help people flee, hide, or act heroic. You said that was bullshit only in Hollywood, I gave examples of people acting heroic, hence the fuck you, if you think just because there is no evidence they didn’t happen during a reload means that didn’t influence their decision to act, well the waffle house individual makes that simply wrong. There have been shooters that stop after using all their ammo or their gun jamming, which both are more likely with smaller mags requiring more reloads. Why don’t you move on and try to weasel out of the research showing that gun laws lower death rates from firearms.

  137. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal #167:

    Did I miss anything? This plays really well into the story that I want to tell.

    Sounds good. I’m reluctant to analyze the data, which means I can’t disagree. *grin*
    Sidenote: According to the summary, of the 160 events, there was only 1 example of a civilian “good guy with a gun” successfully returning fire.
    Player’s Bar and Grill 2008
    KTVN News -
    Elko Daily -

    [The gunman] walked into the bar and starting shooting. [Two] were killed. When [he] was reloading his [“high-capacity, semi-automatic handgun”], a man from Reno took out a gun and shot [him].
    That man has a concealed weapons permit. [“Authorities confirmed he was a U.S. Marine, but it was not clear whether he was on active duty or had finished his term of service.”]

  138. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    * Er, citizen. Maybe not a “civilian”. Not law-enforcement anyway.

  139. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To paxoll

    I stated that the time involved in reloading can help people flee, hide, or act heroic. You said that was bullshit only in Hollywood,

    I really wish you would read what I write properly, so you can avoid obvious strawmans like this. I noted – incorrectly might I add – that there has been only mass mass shooter who was stopped by being tackled. I said nothing about “help people flee, hide”. Go look above – I specifically snipped what you wrote, and replied only to the mostly fantasy notion that mass shooters are stopped by unarmed heroes who charge and tackle the subject.

    Furthermore, based on Sky Captain’s work, I’d estimate it to be 5% or less of mass shooters that are stopped by unarmed victims tackling the shooter while the shooter has a working gun and ammunition, during a reload or not. That means that magazine capacity limits would enable victims to tackle the shooter in maybe 1% or 2% more mass shooting cases compared to now, which again seems to be 5% or less of all mass shootings. Again, I’m not talking about any other benefit, such as additional time that it would give victims to run away or hide. I’m just talking about a victim tackling the shooter. Do you think that this is a fair assessment?

    There have been shooters that stop after using all their ammo or their gun jamming, which both are more likely with smaller mags requiring more reloads.

    Smaller mags means that they run out of ammo sooner? How does that work? If a shooter uses smaller mags, then they carry more mags. Large mags themselves are pretty light, like 1/4 of a pound. Smaller mags will presumably take up about the same amount of body space per bullet compared to larger mags. I don’t know how you justify this really silly sounding claim.

    I don’t have numbers offhand, but actually, it’s my impression that smaller mags are much more reliable. Larger mags, especially those in excess of 30 rounds, are much more likely to jam compared to smaller mags. I hear that it varies by vendor quality, but I think you might actually be quite wrong about the relative rates of jams and other failures when comparing large mags to small mags.

    Why don’t you move on and try to weasel out of the research showing that gun laws lower death rates from firearms.

    I’m working on it. As I said, Gish Gallops take lots of time and work to respond to properly.

    However, would it be possible for you to admit some of your own errors? I’d like to know if I’m dealing with an honest person that is willing to engage with any amount of good faith. For example, can we agree that of the five shootings that you cited, one wasn’t a mass shooting? Can we also agree that of the five mass shootings that you cited, magazine capacity limits would only matter in one of them? Can we also agree that I preemptively talked about the Gabby Giffords shooting, and yet you cited it anyway in favor of your point, without addressing my preemptive rebuttal? Admitting to these errors would go a long way to convincing me that you have some integrity and honesty when it comes to this conversation.

  140. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Sidenote: According to the summary, of the 160 events, there was only 1 example of a civilian “good guy with a gun” successfully returning fire.

    Yea. It seems that mass shooters (including attempted mass shooters) are more often stopped by being tackled by an unarmed person compared to being stopped by a non-cop with a gun. I definitely won’t dispute this fact. Still, it seems that it’s quite rare for victims of any kind, with or without a gun, to stop a mass shooter through force (i.e. tackling, shooting, etc.).

  141. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Paxoll

    Regarding your links. I believe I chose my words very poorly above. Let me try again.

    Overall, I’m a little concerned that the stats models that they’re using don’t even try to account for lead poisoning from leaded gasoline, which means I think most of their statistical conclusions are unsupported, but I believe that several of the policies identified are effective for reasons other than their bad statistics.

    Two links deal with suicide rates. I’m generally pretty annoyed when people lump suicide numbers in “gun violence” and “violent crime rates”, but lowering suicide rates is a laudible goal. I’m totally onboard with the general proposition that lowering access to firearms will lower suicide rates. I’m also totally onboard with the general proposition that waiting periods for purchase of someone’s first gun will lower suicide rates and will also lower gun crime rates. I think that these are sounds policies which we should be doing, and which are constitutional under the federal second amendment.

    Another paper deals primarily with waiting periods. Again, waiting periods sound like a great idea.

    Another paper deals with laws for concealed firearm carrying. I don’t know much about this area. However, it seems plausible to me that reducing the number of people who can legally concealed carry would reduce gun crime rates and moreover reduce overall “violent crime rates”. The paper that I cited says that the scholarship has mixed results with this, and so does your paper, and I haven’t spent the time yet to dig through this. I don’t know how I feel about carry rights, concealed and open carry.

    The last paper that you cite is really weird. The abstract itself says that the paper doesn’t show causation and that the issue should be properly investigated to see if there’s a causative effect, and so I’m wondering why you’re even citing it here. More interestingly, it’s claiming a correlation between a generic gun control metric, defined and assigned by a pro gun control group, and the rate of police shootings (that is, when a cop shoots someone). That’s a weird correlation to bring up. I’m struggling to see how that could be causative. I’m struggling to think of a reasaon why you would cite this paper, except that you literally did a quick google and you posted a bunch of stuff without even properly reviewing the goddamn abstracts of the papers. Again, I’m seeing a pattern here, and that’s why I’m accusing you of being somewhat dishonest and accuse you of doing a Gish Gallop.

    4 of the papers don’t deal with magazine capacity limits nor “assault weapon bans” at all, which my primary focus of ineffective gun control. The 5th paper touches it only tangentially, grouping all gun control into a single, questionable, metric.

    I’m totally onboard for some other kinds of gun control, some of which are described above. Hell, I’ve already said several times that I want mandatory training and licensing of all gun ownership. However, my primary purpose here was to argue that magazine capacity legal limits are borderline useless, and “assault weapon bans” are completely useless.


    Consider this. In the United States, in the year 2013, there were 33,636 total gun deaths. 11,208 were homicide and 21,175 were suicide. According to the Washington Post, there have been 1,106 killed in mass shootings since 1966, for a rough average of 1,106 / (2018 – 1966) = 21 dead per year from mass shootings. The rate of mass shootings is higher today than it was in 1966, but these are roughly the numbers that we are talking about. USA Today reports about 208 dead from mass shootings in 2017 (approx), which is the worst year on record. You want to limit magazine capacity to save lives. Magazine capacity only matters in mass shootings, and even then, I hope I’ve shown that a theoretical law that limits semiauto magazine capacity to 10 or less would only matter in a minority of mass shootings. So, how many people are we going to save from this law? 10? Maybe 20? This is what I mean when I say that legal limits on magazine capacity is mostly useless. Again, for context, Virginia Tec, 30 dead, and the shooter used only handguns, with mostly 10 round magazines, and a few 15 round magazines. You need to dig into the real details.

    Talking about mass shootings at all is mostly useless.

    We need to be talking about regular old gun homicides and suicides (and we need to be careful to properly distinguish the two). For homicides, it’s semiauto handguns and revolvers, and if we’re not seriously addressing those, then we’re not seriously addressing the problem at all. Rifles of any kind do not matter. For suicides, it’s even harder. Even a bolt-action rifle, or pump-action shotgun, or double-barrel shotgun, etc., is dangerous in the context of suicide rates. We need policies that attack the problem as it actually exists, and not policies that attack an extreme minority problem, mass shootings, based on Hollywood understanding, i.e. “assault weapon bans” and magazine capacity limits – with “assault weapon bans” being especially delusional or ignorant.

  142. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Found a few more non-tackle citizen interventions. Searched for “d the shooter” and “the shooter was”. These quotes are primarily from the FBI study, with details spliced in.
    Rocori High School 2003
    FBI article
    Wikipedia -

    armed with a [Colt .22-caliber] handgun […] A teacher at the school confronted the shooter and ordered him to [empty his weapon and] place his gun on the ground. The shooter complied. Two people were killed; no one was wounded.

    Memorial Middle School 2006
    FBI article
    CBS -

    [Student] armed with [CBS reported: a Mac-90 assault rifle] and a handgun […] His rifle jammed after firing one shot [CBS: into the ceiling]. Hearing the shot, the school principal located the shooter, escorted him from the building, and turned him over to police. No one was killed or wounded.

    Chardon High School 2012
    FBI article
    Wikipedia -

    armed with a [.22 caliber] handgun, began shooting in the cafeteria […] The shooter was chased out of the building by a school coach. Three people were killed; three were wounded.

    Taft Union High School 2013
    FBI article
    Wikipedia -

    No one was killed; two people were wounded. An administrator persuaded the shooter to put the [12-gauge shotgun] down before police arrived and took him into custody.

    Of the 21, that leaves one event I overlooked. Possibly skipped a “restrained” and forgot. *shrug*

  143. paxoll says

    The problem is I have repeatedly stated this is about firearm deaths not “violent crime rates”. Its a pretty damn easy math problem. Legislation….less deaths. Please go tell someone who has lost someone due to gun violence that a law that reduces gun deaths couldn’t of saved their loved one. Would love to see you being a pedantic ass to them. It doesn’t matter if its 5% of mass shootings which make up only 1% of annual gun deaths, it doesn’t matter if its 0.5% of 1% that is STILL one person that is no longer alive because of bullshit arguments like yours.

  144. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To paxoll
    And again, I like playing real-politic. We lose votes to Republicans, lots of votes, that we might have otherwise kept, because of this issue. If we’re going to throw votes to Republicans, I damn well want it to be worth something. 10 or 20 lives per year is not worth it.

    Also, I don’t want people to be fooled into believing that they’ve solved the problem, or put a big dent in the problem, when they’ve metaphorically just scratched the surface. Too many people believe that “assault weapons” and “magazine sizes” are actually significant factors in yearly gun deaths, but they’re not. I don’t want Democratic voters to fool themselves into believing that their party leadership is actually doing something on this issue, when in reality they’re just passing do-nothing fig-leaf gestures. Because the base has been hoodwinked into believing that these policies do something, the base won’t fight for effective gun control. That costs more lives. We should educate people into the understanding that they have been hoodwinked, so that they can hold their Democratic representatives responsible.

    I don’t know what’s so hard to understand about this position. You have to be willfully dense, and you also have to be extremely tribalistic, in order to not understand – and I dare say disagree – with these very basic and obvious points.

  145. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Finally, do you know who is a big winner from passing an assault weapon ban? The gun manufacture industry. They love that shit. It creates a bunch of new demand – both from fear-induced buying, and also for gun owners who have to buy a new gun in order to work around the cosmetic bans. You’re actually giving more money to the gun manufacture industry when you pass some of these nonsense gun control laws, and especially the assault weapons ban.

  146. indianajones says

    Dips a timid toe in the water. Is there any merit to the argument to the idea that: Larger magazines make it easier to mass shoot and that noting that this might be an easily (logistically and legally I mean) attainable way to make some sort of difference then …? I mean, let’s not make it easier for the bad guys and instead make it slightly more difficult cos we (not a USian here, I mean humanity perhaps) totes can and stuff?

  147. skepticgyi says

    Alex called in 2012 episode 780 the clergy project. He was preaching then and he is preaching in this show too.

    Not sure when he called in between.

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