Comments

  1. Theisntist says

    Two observations of note: I liked the big microphones and laptops, sure it looks a little like sports talk, but the sound is way better and it gives the hosts a prop – beats just staring into the camera for 90 minutes!
    And the call with Luke (beginning at 1:08) was classic Dillahunty, 8 minutes of exactly what I sit through the show for.

  2. Perry Lawson says

    I’m sorry, but I just can’t ignore the science of biology and submit to the use of special pronouns. I also think that proclaiming people should fall in line on this subject is poor form.

    I actually identify as a unicorn, but I don’t demand that people abandon science and millennia of societal norms by addressing me as such.

  3. Walter White says

    Ugh.. more gay talk. Pink beard… really man? All this “LBQTDNDJLSJLWT” crap again?

    I love the AE. Hands down best atheist show, evar. Except when they hop on the far left nonsense train. The show has said many of times that it’s not about politics. And as someone who leans largely Right… I’m glad, that how it should be. But for some reason, these ultra uber pro gay and tranny rants go on and on. For no reason. It’s not even a discussion or debate.. just random talk about it out of nowhere. It’s the ATHEIST Experience, not the Atheist and mentally ill show.

    Gays and trans want to be “normal” and fit in with everyone. Right? Then stop giving them a damn platform every show! You are putting a spotlight on them! That is the exact opposite of blending in with the rest of society! Why are they even having these parades?! And why is the AE setting up booths and going to them!?!?! Atheism has nothing to do with being gay or gender confused.

    The issues I have with gays and trans are usually not in my mind. Until someone starts shoving that shit down my throat. It makes me sick. If you really want us to “not care what people do in the bedroom”… then shut up about it!

    Keep church and state issues separate. Stop submitting to the far left PC crap. This BLM, feminism, gay and trans garbage.. poisons the rest of the show. Sadly, some people think they have to be “left” because they are an atheist. With is crap. Again, I am 70% Right Wing.. and an atheist.I’ve NEVER heard any host say anything positive about the Right nor on ANY of their issues. How absurd. It’s always far left. Again, I’d rather it be neutral or keep politics out, like the show has said many of times.

    Other than that nonsense being shoved in my face more than the damn Youtube ads, I love the show and all the hosts. Keep kicking ass on the ATHEIST topics.

  4. The Wild Monk says

    LMAO.
    These two wackos are pretending races and sexes are interchangeable.
    Polluting young kids minds with sex. I bet these two would love their kids to watch porn.
    .
    They assume their values universally apply. LMAO.
    La la land.
    Never lived a long time in a non-White community.

  5. Hyper Performance says

    @Wild Monk

    Just bugger off.

    You’ve demonstrated countless times on the blog that you are someone who brings nothing of any value to the discussions and yet you continue to engage on this rhetoric that is filled with dishonesty and condescension. How about make actual points or go pester some other group with your drivel?

  6. Monocle Smile says

    Okay, this Wild Monk fuck is obviously a troll or indistinguishable from a troll. There’s no more pretending. Ban it.

  7. Joshua Adamson says

    Great show! Beliefs inform politics, and how people vote changes lives. We all need to scrutinize what we are told and be the ones to ask questions so more people hold beliefs that are actually beneficial. It isn’t just about comfort, drinking alcohol will make you comfortable in the cold but it doesn’t actually raise body temperature, in fact it slows blood flow and makes hypothermia worse due to the body ceasing to shiver and generate heat through said shivering. It’s incredibly important that everyone think critically about how the world works and various theisms only become openly dangerous when they include answers that are accepted widely without substantial evidence. What needs to be understood is the process with which one determines truth from fallacy. Once you are practicing skepticism with rigorous detail the odds of coming to the best solutions and conclusions rise exponentially. Its going to be really hard to cure Spanish flu with antibiotics, since its a virus and you have to ask questions before you can ever find out if there are any un-asked questions like what if diseases arent the only form of micro-organic threat? If we never asked questions we would already have died out of famine following WW2. We had to change everything we thought was normal, hyper-capitalism was here to stay and the US had to change to fill a new role in an ever changing world economy. Every generation has to overcome some problem and it only takes a few decades of misinformation to wind up with crazy people like flat earthers and 9/11 truthers and sandy hook deniers and Holocaust deniers. It’ll take a whole new generation of critical thinkers to recover from the cognitive dissonance of this generation.

  8. Skyfish Café says

    My partner and I watch or listen to the show every week (and, being Austin locals and ACA members, occasionally attend the studio as well). Neither of us have ever posted on this blog but wanted to do so because of this episode.

    .
    Jen and Matt, FANTASTIC episode. We both really appreciated the respectful, insightful and balanced dialogue among yourselves and the callers.
    .

    In the past, my partner and I have observed that the person in the “co-host” role for a particular episode often takes a backseat to the host — and while that may be due to some combination of production guidelines and personal temperament, we often feel a little frustrated when the host bulldozes through the call and the co-host is left with just a few sentences after the call has already ended. Jen, you did not allow this to happen on this episode! True to form, you had so much incredible input on the LGBTQ community, on parenting, and on rational & skeptical thinking in general, and we were so glad to hear from you.
    .

    And Matt, you always are able to pare callers’ arguments to their cores and examine them for what they are rather than what they “seem to be” (in other words: cut the bullshit). And in this episode — and we really can’t emphasize this enough — we appreciated that not once, not twice, but several times! you purposefully acknowledged that you had spoken your piece and that it would be better for someone else (Jen or the caller) to take center stage. In the past, my partner and I both have felt some frustration with the way you tend to dominate the show — and in this episode, you showed such grace, humility and patience that we felt it was important to call you out for kudos.
    .

    Thank you to Jen, Matt, the AXP crew & the callers for an excellent episode!

  9. Davis says

    Did Matt say he was going through a divorce?? Aww, I remember when Beth was on the show and when they got engaged… I thought they were a good couple!

  10. KK_Me says

    Good show!
    The first caller made me despair a little. It was as if he agreed that he was wrong about every question on an exam, but then still insists he shouldn’t fail the exam.
    If I was a teacher I wouldn’t know where to start with a student like that.

  11. says

    Number 7 KK_Me says
    Absolutely! I think the first caller is a world-class passive/aggressive. He will agree to everything someone says to avoid any actual discussion, but will never consider anything the other person says or allow any point made to change his mind in any way.

  12. gshelley says

    The historical Jesus question is interesting. It seems that virtually every time someone calls to defend, they don’t appeal to the evidence, but that biblical scholars (though they typically claim historians) believe. Does this happen with other subjects? Maybe evolution or climate change? I know if I was defending evolution, “its the consensus” would be low down on the list of evidence I was giving, but for climate change, I might have to resort to that
    It also seems common that when they do try and give actual evidence, they have no idea what they are talking about and have probably never even looked into the subject. I accept climate change largely on the basis of consensus, but if I was going to call in to a show to say it was real, I’d at least bother to find out why the consensus formed.

  13. viliam says

    Jen, thanks so much for the astrophysics and aerospace pet peeve mention!

    I’m also an aerospace engineer, and the amount of people that assume this means I know everything and anything space related is very mildly infuriating. I know how your GPS works, not what the latest research into big-bang cosmology implies about origin of the universe. ugh.

  14. MyMyselfI says

    Good show – interesting and helpful comments from both Matt and Jen. Kicking the hapless Doc over his use of gender pronouns when he was already nose down in the dirt was a bit much. Personally, I want to be referred to correctly but understand this is difficult for others. I identify only as as 1st-person and therefore do not wish to be addressed using any second- or third-person pronouns. First-person pronouns only for me, please!

  15. says

    Why on my iTunes podcast app am I now getting two instances of each episode, last week got two different ones with two titles, and this week got two “#22.32 with Matt Dillahunty and Jen Peeples” and “#22.32: Austin Pride Recap” and their lengths are different, the first is 1 hour 37 minutes, the second is 1 hour 30 minutes. Any idea what is going on?

  16. einyv says

    As soon as it said Luke in Phoenix i automatically thought not this jerk again. He is a troll not interested in anything. When you answered with the slavery question he knew he was toast and resorted to games. Luke must have spent way too much time outside here when it was 116 degrees.

  17. tommyr says

    There are 2 genders. PERIOD. This idea of 70+ others is RIDICULOUS. STOP WITH THIS NONSENSE. You are either male or female. PERIOD. “Non binary”? STOP IT ALREADY. This planet has become totally insane.

    I personally will never cave in to these RIDICULOUS GENDERS. You are MALE or FEMALE. GET OVER IT.

  18. Perry Lawson says

    In the MANY years that I’ve followed the AXP, I don’t think I’ve ever cringed at anything the hosts have said. However, that certainly changed when the “non-binary” gender talk went down, as if it’s even remotely sensible to refer a single person as “they”; ignoring the biological FACT that a personal is either male or female. I actually felt bad for the religious caller, who was made to feel like he was some kind of asshole because he used the pronoun of “she” instead of “they” when trying to pay a compliment to EJ. (As if he was even wrong.)

    I have always been a Progressive and a Liberal, but it’s precisely this kind of nonsense that has given those labels a bad name and driven the country into the age of Trump.

  19. Pony says

    I’m essentially on board with the Jordan Peterson approach, as described by Matt today: I’m going to address any human being in the way they would like to be addressed (within reason; see below), but I oppose any sort of legal or judicial policing of language.

    But, a little story.

    Years ago, I participated in a “men’s group,” which was sometimes helpful, sometimes silly (and contrary to some critics, our group, at least, was not in the least bit misogynist). There was a guy named Jim who came in one day and announced that, having researched his Scottish roots, he now wished to be called “McKenzie.” We all clapped and hooted started calling him by his new, preferred name.

    A few months later, after McKenzie had been studying Tibetan Buddhist spirituality, he announced to the group that, henceforth, he would like us to call him “Jhompa” (no clue on the spelling, but pronounced “JOM-pah”). This time, the applause was decidedly more scattered and muted, and more than one of us wondered if he wasn’t just playing us for fools. As for me, I left the group a short time later when the leaders agreed to have a “channeler” named Yokar spout bullshit to the group in a faux-Teutonic accent (you can still find fleeting references to Yokar’s books online).

    I am not saying that a person’s deeply felt sense of identity is equivalent to a one who has an impulse toward serial name changing. Still, people don’t love to feel they are being asked to behave in ways that do not accord with their sense of reality.

    Ricky Gervais got into hot water with certain trans advocates for his recent bit about Caitlyn (nee Bruce) Jenner and wanting to be identified as a chimpanzee. I found it hilarious, and frankly, Gervais hit the nail on the head when he pointed out how absurd it is to be told that we must all believe, or at least assert, that Jenner, a former male Olympic decathlon champion, was in fact a woman all along.

    And, for all the blistering I’ve received for even asking such questions, I still have not fully grasped why we must all blindly accept Jenner’s full-frontal gender switch, yet must roundly condemn Rachel Dolezal (now known as Nkechi Amare Diallo) for attempting to do the same with relation to her race.

    I’m seeing more and more otherwise progressive people questioning this purported trans orthodoxy, which leads me to wonder if trans activists haven’t overplayed their hand on some of this, and whether it will hurt their cause, at least temporarily.

  20. Monocle Smile says

    @Pony
    Gender is psychological with biological components.
    Race is “biological” and cultural and “identifying” as another race is nonsense mostly because of how other people treat those of a different race (read: poorly). Unless the people around Rachel Dolezal have been treating her like a black woman and she’s been facing that kind of adversity during her life, it’s truly a bizarre case.

    I’m convinced that the backlash against trans people is mostly or entirely “argument from ick” rather than anything rational.

  21. rocketdave says

    My youngest sibling told me they were gender neutral last year. I’m very liberal, and truth be told, I’m maybe somewhat ambivalent about my gender as well, but as someone who’s lived a pretty sheltered life, this is a new concept for me that’s been a little difficult to get my head around. I actually would have had an easier time understanding if they’d come out as trans.

    Besides having to get used to now calling someone I’ve known for 30+ years by a different name (because they changed it to one they thought was less gender-specific), I’m having the most trouble with the pronouns. I find “they” grammatically awkward. Case in point: On New Year’s, my sister, when talking about our sibling, said that they would be flying to the Midwest in a few days’ time. For over an hour, I was under the mistaken impression that when she said “they,” she was saying that our sister-in-law and their kids would be going along as well. But the bottom line is that while this might be a thing I still don’t totally get, I figure the least I can do is try to be respectful of the name and pronouns they want to be called by, because I don’t want to be an asshole.

  22. Monocle Smile says

    @Walter White
    That’s a pretty awful rant.
    I don’t have any hope for you, but do you mind sharing with the class why you have such obvious rage towards gay and trans people?

  23. bluestar says

    I identify as an attack helicopter. Since young boyhood I’ve dreamed of soaring above burning oil fields, dropping hot loads on disgusting foreigners. People tell me it’s impossible for a human to become a helicopter and that I’m bat shit crazy, but I don’t care. I think I’m beautiful. I’m having a plastic surgeon from NYC install rotary blades, 30MM cannons, and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles on my body. You can call me “Apache” from now on. If you won’t, well then you’re a heliphobe and you need to check your own privilege.

    BTW good show, jolly good indeed. Like the condenser microphones.

  24. bluestar says

    I identify as an attack helicopter. Since young boyhood I’ve dreamed of soaring above burning oil fields, dropping hot loads on disgusting foreigners. People tell me it’s impossible for a human to become a helicopter and that I’m bat shit crazy, but I don’t care. I think I’m beautiful. I’m having a plastic surgeon from NYC install rotary blades, 30MM cannons, and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles on my body. You can call me “Apache” from now on. If you won’t, well then you’re a heliphobe and you need to check your own privilege.

    BTW good show, jolly good indeed. Like the condenser microphones.

  25. Perry Lawson says

    Secular Strategy, I completely agree that applies to Matt, but not so much with Jen.

    (46:29 – 46:45)

    There’s a bit of tone and attitude there that was off-putting.

  26. Nathan says

    I get the odd feeling that many of the anti-trans posts are just the same guy making multiple accounts so they can post over and over.

  27. Lamont Cranston says

    Luke in Phoenix: Further discussions with someone who refuses to give an honest answer to a question will probably continue to be a waste of time except as an example of blatant theist dishonesty. This is to be contrasted with the Doc in Penn. who I believe gave honest answers but simply continues to believe what he believes in spite of his own answers.

    I have continued to find myself pondering something yet again after watching both Talk Heathen and the Atheist Experience.

    What always seems to be at issue is demonstrating that the Wise, Knowing, Just, Ethical, Moral, Good version of God has no evidence for existence. Even the Bible demonstrates that this God doesn’t appear to exist and is a figment of the imagination of those who interpret the Hell out of the Bible to try to twist him, her, it, them into that kind of God.

    It seems to me that if a theist caller phoned in and claimed that his God is actually a malevolent SOB, evil, immoral, not very wise, unethical and generally just plain bad, it might be hard to demonstrate his belief is irrational. After all, while it may not be evidence, a world based on a model including such a God would seem to look an awful lot like what we actually experience.

    Such a God would not make himself clearly known because he would like the confusion about who or what he/she/it/they are that fuels hatred, war, famine, pestilence, and division.

    Such a God would drop clues about himself that are totally wrong and completely contradictory to help fuel all the strife.

    Such a God would indeed watch us harm each other while citing him as the reason for our wars and when we are done he would drop us into a fire for no better reason than to watch us burn.

    Slavery? Bah. He would never tell anyone slavery is bad in any of the books he gets people to write explaining what God wants.

    His greatest commands would be to put Him first because that is all he is really interested in along with watching us kill each other or helping it along like frying ants with a magnifying glass.

    He would muddle the mind of his followers so that they find it virtually impossible to give a straight answer to simple questions about the reason they believe their religion to be true.

    Frankly, I think the list is almost endless.

    I actually don’t think a malevolent God exists either, but I think it would be harder to dismiss.

    After all a maleolent God would actually even to some good things just to make the bad things feel so much worse.

    Lamont Cranston

  28. Monocle Smile says

    @Perry
    Oh, boy. Trans people and their allies are what caused Trump? You can’t be serious.

    Politicians and corporations have been doing their level best to sow distrust in things like science and skepticism and instead appeal to base prejudices for decades, and that’s what’s finally caused Trump.

    That you are completely ignorant of the differences between gender and sex is not an indictment of progressivism.

  29. IceMaster says

    Hello, I have a couple questions about certain things. First, while I support LGBT (I’ll talk about the T in a second). I also support LGBTQ.. But I DO NOT support LGBTQ2. Have you ever encountered this 2?

    In Canada, we have LGBTQ2. The 2 supposedly means 2-spirited, or has 2 souls trapped in the same body. It’s a First Nations religious belief to explain gay people I think. Anyways, souls or spirits do not exist at all. You can’t have 2 of something that doesn’t exist. You can’t even have 1 of something that doesn’t exist. How would you deal with this if someone claimed they were 2. If you were forced to recognize it, would it be the government pushing religion on the people? I don’t believe in souls or spirits whatsoever because there is no evidence for their existence at all.

    Now lets talk about the T from LGBT. I am all for human rights, and trans people are humans and they should have equal rights. We all should, we’re all human. I don’t believe in gender though, I have for my entire life only used sex. I only found out about gender maybe 5 years ago, I’m 37 now. I have never in my life used “gender pronouns”. I have only ever used “sex pronouns”. Gender is what someone thinks they are in their head, not what they actually are. When I refer to someone as he or she, it’s based on what sex they appear to be. I have no idea what gender they think they are, I’m not a mind reader. I don’t understand this demand for other people to use a trans persons “preferred pronouns”. You don’t use pronouns when talking directly to someone, only when talking about them to a 3rd party, so they are trying to control your speech when they aren’t even around. I think this gender thing is like some sort of belief system and I don’t support it. If a guy walks up to me and tells me he identifies as a woman, I will still believe you’re a guy because you’re a guy. Your sex is male. Whatever belief system you have in your head is for you, not me. Forcing me to lie, to say you are indeed a women, does not change my mind because I do not believe you are a woman, you would only be forcing me to lie, and for what. Forcing me to lie, to support your belief system which I don’t agree with, based on biology, evidence and all of human history. I do not do gender. I never have and I never will, just like I do not and never will do religion. I still believe you should have all the exact same human rights as me as we are all human beings. I do not agree with forcing your beliefs on me, especially when they go against everything. I think forcing others to say certain things just to appease your personal belief is wrong. I would also not say “peace be upon him” when mentioning the prophet Muhammad. Same thing, your beliefs and you’re trying to force me to go along with them.

    If people say I’m “misgendering them” they are wrong and they are in fact “mis-pronouning” me. They are assuming the target of the pronouns I use, and doing so incorrectly. If I was talking about their gender I would use their words but I’m not, I never was, and I never will.

    Thoughts? I’m really interested in your take on the first one though, I just thought I’d mention the trans stuff since there was so much commenting on it and wanted to throw in my 2 cents. #NoHate #LoveIsLove #EqualRights

  30. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @rocketdave #21:

    My youngest sibling told me they were gender neutral last year. […] this is a new concept for me that’s been a little difficult to get my head around

     
    Twitter Thread: ThatMandyNicole – Being Agender

    If you are a cis woman, being completely surrounded by cis men, if you are a cis man, being completely surrounded by trans men, etc. Imagine (or recall, as we’ve all had similar experiences) the feeling of being completely out of place by virtue of only your gender. My whole life, I’ve had this experience when I have been in a room full of men, but interestingly, despite being born with female anatomy… I’ve experienced the same feeling when surrounded by women. And growing up in conservative Christianity, I was surrounded by women a lot.
     
    It’s not that I felt like I was supposed to be a man (I don’t) or even that I was supposed to be something else entirely (I don’t), It was just that when I was surrounded by women, or supposed to be experiencing a “sisterhood” or “maternal instinct” I didn’t UNDERSTAND.
     
    On my wedding day, in a white dress with beautiful makeup and wearing an engagement ring, I didn’t *feel* like a bride. I didn’t know how. I had my kid and was told “you will have a maternal instinct” I didn’t understand what that meant. I *felt* like a parent, but not a mom. It was as though, for my whole life, I was expected to feel womanly in a way that all the other women around me did. But I never had it.
    […]
    I don’t feel conflicted about she/her pronouns because it’s as though the part of my brain that should care about my gender doesn’t exist. […] Now not every agender person is completely ambivalent about their pronouns, but many of us are.
    […]
    I am a parent, but the word “mother” feels like a club which I am not qualified to join. I am no one’s “sista.” Like what even is that?

     
     

    I actually would have had an easier time understanding if they’d come out as trans.

    Many enbies consider themselves trans, in that they don’t identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. Others are uncomfortable claiming that label.
     
     

    I’m having the most trouble with the pronouns. I find “they” grammatically awkward. […] I was under the mistaken impression that when she said “they,” she was saying that our sister-in-law and their kids would be going

    Neopronouns can more a specific reference, if they’re into that. Or just leaning more on their name.
     
    Authors have this issue with he/she as well, when writing scenes involving multiple characters who share the same pronoun.

  31. says

    bluestar @23: I identify as a ZSU-23-4 Shilka AAA vehicle, but in English I use the male pronoun. What do Apache helicopters use?

    “He”, “she”, “they” and “it” are linguistic conventions. There are languages that use no specific gender markers for male and female, and there languages that use gender markers for far more than merely male and female. Whatever one thinks of Jenner’s sex in the past, where’s the problem with referring to them as a woman now? It’s not as though you are ever going to be in a position to examine her chromosomes — or anybody’s for that matter — to check whether they are “really” female. You’re never going to be able to determine if her mind is “really” female or “really” male, or some mixture of the two. You’re never even going to be able to examine her all-so-important genitals. If she looks like a woman, why not address her that way? It’s just words.

  32. t90bb says

    What caused trump??

    White nationalism has been slowly suppressed by the steady encroachment of secularism. It took a dickwad like trump to unabashedly spew white nationalism to embolden these folks to crawl out from under their rocks and expose themselves and their true nature. As painful as it is…..its a purge that will be necessary…

  33. Monocle Smile says

    Luke should consider sucking on a flamethrower. What an unapologetic asshole. His attitude reminds me of TrueEmpiricism. What do these fucks think they gain from acting like butthurt clowns on the air?

  34. IsthisAtheism? says

    I don’t know how many languages Matt speaks but the entire “She” label of boats is because other languages have genders assigned to nouns. When English came about they borrowed from these other languages such as German and French and the pronoun stuck. It’s actually very difficult in other languages to speak with the correct article in front of the noun and then change the pronoun to something else. Non-binary people have it easier requesting pronoun changes in English than in other languages, that’s for sure.

    Aside from that there is also the fact that men named their boats after women, hence the she. It’s basic language that has been around for hundreds of years and is not going to change overnight. What’s this got to do with Atheism?

  35. keepdancingmaria says

    “They” is plural. I’m fine with inventing a singular that is gender neutral. I’ll use whatever is decided upon. But “they” will continue to mean more than one person, so until E.J. grows another head or something, he/she/it will not be a they.

    Proper English is difficult enough… This is a needless confusion.

  36. jeffh123 says

    Regarding parental notification. I understand that some children cannot discuss sexuality, pregnancy, etc. with their parents. However, when California passed the law that mandated public schools take girls to get abortions if requested without parental notification hit a note with me. Schools can’t even call an ambulance if your child is having a heart attack. Really. Parents ARE held responsible for their children. Just let your kid burn down a building and see how fast the courts take away your home. If something goes wrong with the medical procedure, guess who has to pick up the pieces and put everything back together. Hey, we took your daughter in for an abortion and now you have pay for permanent care for her because the procedure got botched and now she’s brain dead. I’m pro choice and I don’t think I’d have a serious problem being told by my daughter.

  37. says

    I just wanted to add that there are really a lot of people out there who are similar to the guy who talked about Noah’s Ark. Most people don’t want to or see any reason to make sure their beliefs make sense or are rational/reasonable/etc. Sure it’s arguably wrong to live like that. For people like that though, which is a lot of people, they go by what feels right. doesn’t matter where that feeling comes from, even if it’s a mix of a sense of belonging in a group, social expectations, lack of information, upbringing (notice most of this is socially related), feeling that come by those means are powerful. I would bet that if church was just people spending time by themselves reading the bible and learning things for themselves, there would be a lot less people claiming to have these spiritual experiences. Funny since those experiences are supposed to be personal.

  38. GumB. says

     
    @Monocle Smile #33

     
    Yes, I could hear the standoffish arrogance in Luke’s vocal inflection right from the start of his call. Narcissism, with themselves conveniently (in their minds) placed at the top of their little artificial hierarchy of ‘us and them’ (which is a social attitude religion quite often instills into people … me god’s chosen … you heathen … me assimilate or else eliminate you.)

     
    How depraved.

     
    To the blog in general:

     
    I had no respect for the first caller, Doc. I didn’t believe him when he kept saying, “yes, that’s true” to everything the hosts pointed out to him. That’s most likely just a social construct he’s picked up from his church … being agreeable to everything he’s being told by someone. It’s called going along just to get along. That would explain how he can immediately say, “well, no … I still hold my beliefs” without even flinching. Because … I don’t think he really ever was actually agreeing to, or even giving much thought to, what the hosts said. It was more like a social habit he had … “yes … well, yes … well, I agree with you on that … well, yes that’s true too …” etc, etc, etc. Those are likely just social platitudes he’s used to using to be polite. He isn’t agreeing; he’s just being pleasant. Hence … no, it didn’t alter his beliefs. I doubt he was actually even processing much of what they were pointing out to him. I would say he agreed (when he did) … just to be socially agreeable.

     
    He might not even be aware that he behaves this way socially (a tactic for not causing waves or having any disagreements with people.) But … it doesn’t show integrity either, and it isn’t honesty. This is your mind on religion.

  39. IsthisAtheism? says

    NelC, the problem with genders in English is there are instances where the person’s preference isn’t linguistically coherent nor self-evident. I didn’t realize EJ preferred to be called They. I would never automatically call someone They or It. I might ask in EJ’s case because she appears to me (a total stranger with biologically and culturally ingrained sex bias) to be female biologically but obviously wishing to dress in a non socially conforming way for females in this culture. But for EJ to request They would be far more of a linguistic stretch for me than would calling EJ He.

  40. Nathan says

    @jeffh123

    I looked for evidence of such a law it doesn’t exist, you are full of it. Maybe actually look into legit sources and stop reading conspiracy bs online.

  41. IsthisAtheism? says

    Edit my last post. I didn’t mean to imply I would NOT call EJ they or someone a he or she or whatnot if they requested, because I would. I’m saying linguistically, I find it’s more difficult to say they. Also as you can see I have always identified EJ as a female because I didn’t realize they wanted to be called they and even trying not to, I inadvertently said she in my above comment. It’s a learning curve.

  42. paxoll says

    Ok Trolls and anyone here who wants to argue about 2 genders blah blah male/female. Take a long minute and think of what the term Tomboy means. Gender and sex are different. According to the experts http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/transgender.aspx gender is

    Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for boys and men or girls and women.

    As you can see gender is a social construct which is why it changes based on your social environment/culture that you are raised in. It is also PRESCRIPTIVE, when a society has expectations on the way a male or female (sex) should behave, feel, and think than it causes a great deal of pressure for people to fit that mold. When people don’t fit the definition we invent words like Tomboy to describe them. This social pressure causes a lot of harm to people who do not fit the mold of societal gender roles. This can cause people to reject the gender identity social construct completely, or it can cause people to reject the sex they were born with that does not fit with their actual behaviors, feelings, and thinking. People wanting others to identify who they are as a person is basic human respect, we do it by calling people by their names and we do it by giving them equal rights in society. If you refuse to give someone basic human respect than you are simply a fucken asshole and no one should treat you with any.

  43. IsthisAtheism? says

    Nathan,. California allows children to have a surgical or chemical abortion without parental consent (several other states do as well). If a child requests abortion information from a school nurse or school health center the school will not inform the parents.

  44. Honey Tone says

    > jeff123:

    “Regarding parental notification. I understand that some children cannot discuss sexuality, pregnancy, etc. with their parents. However, when California passed the law that mandated public schools take girls to get abortions if requested without parental notification hit a note with me.”

    FYI: at present, 13 states allow minors to choose abortion without parental notification. Yes, California is one of those. (I am not aware of any law or regulation requiring California schools to make abortions available.) Another handful of states require a parent to give permission. All the other states require only a notification (not permission), and in all those states parental notifications can be waived by a judge.

    Minor consent laws relating to medical care vary from state to state and by the type of care to be provided.

  45. Ray Smith says

    The Atheist Experience is concerned with what is true. I, like Matt, want to believe as many true things as possible and discard false ideas. I am naturally skeptical. I try to live my life based on facts, not feelings because feelings are unreliable. We tell Christians who say they feel the Holy Spirit that they need to rule out natural explanations before selecting supernatural ones. Our focus on truth is why I have a very hard time calling someone who has been a girl since birth for 20 years, a boy. Do we not care about truth? Jen so quickly jumped on the caller who called EJ a girl. “Dont call her a girl. She’s non-binary.” I have to disagree. She may FEEL non-binary, but we have very clear definitions for girl and boy. Now unless there was some unusual genetic situation that affected the person’s brain, which is extremely rare, it is very easy to KNOW if the person is a girl or a boy. I find it fascinating that Jen was bothered that EJ was called an Astro-Physicist when she is really an Aerospace Engineer, but she’s ok with calling EJ non-binary when, in fact, she is really a girl. Again, doesn’t truth matter? We care about truth, right? I am not saying these things because I hate gays or trans or anyone. I am saying these things because I care strongly about what is true. People who care about truth know that words have established meanings. We do not arbitrarily accept the word of someone who says something that we know does not coincide with the truth. One last thing, the word “they” is generally plural, meaning more than one person or thing. If an individual wants to be referred to as “they” instead of a singular pronoun, I do not think we should grant their request because we would be lying and participating in the person’s lie. Mixing up the meaning of “they” to be both singular and plural just adds confusion to our conversation and does nothing to help us discover truth.

  46. jacobfromlost says

    I know there are physical structural brain differences among people who identify in different ways, as well as DNA differences. I’m sure we’d agree that the data that show these structural differences are true? There are tons of links on the net, so I won’t bother putting them here (I found them in 2 seconds). I’m sure we will be discovering more on these issues in the future.

  47. Monocle Smile says

    @Ray Smith

    She may FEEL non-binary, but we have very clear definitions for girl and boy

    Gender != sex.
    Why is this so impossible for some people to grasp? This isn’t hard.

  48. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Lamont Cranston #26:

    It seems to me that if a theist caller phoned in and claimed that his God is actually a malevolent SOB, evil, immoral, not very wise, unethical and generally just plain bad, it might be hard to demonstrate his belief is irrational.

    Stephen Law frames those arguments as a symmetry to make theists listen to themselves.
     
    Article: Stephen Law – Evil God Challenge (original pdf)

    just as there are moves theists make to try deal to with the problem of evil, so there are similar moves we might make to try to deal with the problem of good.
    […]
    How persuasive are our three reverse theodicies? Intuitively, not at all. Rather than being taken seriously, they usually provoke amusement among theists and non-theists alike. But this raises the question: if the reverse theodicies are feeble and ineffective, why should we consider the standard theodicies any more effective?

     
    Article: Wikipedia – Evil God Challenge

  49. indianajones says

    Gender fundamentalists. Wonderful. Many first time posters in what seems like a coordinated attack too. Where do you folks come from? Where can we check on just which particular brand of toxic sludginess we are dealing with here?

  50. genericusername says

    I never had the need to create a profile and jump on these blogs, but after seeing this recent show, I gotta say I’m very disappointed at the aggression you guys put forth on making a caller refer to someone as “they” to describe someone. This is not how our language is used, and trying to change a word by force is not ok. You spent quite a while on the subject and it really took away from what the show is supposed to be about.

  51. yousaidwhat says

    @Perry Lawson

    “I just can’t ignore the science of biology ”

    Yeah, if you are going to appeal to the science then you maybe need to find out what it actually says first. The idea that human biology nearly dived us into two genders is garbage. The fact that language and culture is finally catching up with what anatomy, genetics, neuroscience etc are telling us about the spectrum of human sexuality is probably not a bad thing.

  52. says

    Maybe some of those gender fundamentalists can explain to me the biology facts that support neckties being masculine clothing and high heels being feminine clothing.

    Or they can concede the distinction between sex and gender. I’ll let them dedice.

  53. Jimdandy says

    This gender banter has nothing to do with atheism. Honestly I’m amused to see intelligent and educated people reduce themselves to the likes of third graders who form some kind of Club with all kinds of special rules and shit. The sludge that you are dealing with is a person’s personal opinion nothing more and nothing less. Perhaps there people who don’t follow trends you know like the religious sheeple that are the topic of so much fun here. I am in agreement with many of these posters I’m not going to at this stage in my life include 50 more genders then the two that I always knew. Anyone who just met someone like EJ would refer to her as a she. I myself would never compromise Myself by referring to a single person as a they. That is absurd. Would any of you consider being met halfway and referring to EJ and folks like EJ as an it?

  54. ncburnett says

    I like to listen to the show, but I must admit it can be a bit puzzling at times with regards to theist comments and claims.
    Morality for instance, maybe someone here can clarify the theist morality claim?
    Did they learn it from their god? Was it given to them in some supernatural way? Does it evolve in time? Do they get it from a book?

    I’ve heard the argument several times now “if you are an atheist whhhhere does your morality come from?”
    but the theist claim on it is allways very direct and absent of explanation.
    Any thoughts?

  55. Monocle Smile says

    @jimdandy
    Fuck off, troll-ass. Feels like it’s been a while since the mods cleaned up on aisle 3

  56. says

    It’s typical. They come here to complain about Matt and Jen’s gender comments, and then when the complaints are found to lack any rational basis, they throw their hands in the air and wonder why anybody is making a big deal out of it.

    Don’t start what you can’t finish. Just take the loss and move on.

  57. HappyPerson says

    @GumB
    agreed about your assessment about Don. would have been interesting to get him to repeat Matt’s logic to see if he really understood what Matt said.

  58. Muz says

    This gender banter has nothing to do with atheism. Honestly I’m amused to see intelligent and educated people reduce themselves to the likes of third graders who form some kind of Club with all kinds of special rules and shit.

    The irony here is just spectacular.

  59. bluestar says

    Muz- then please explain what the “proper pronouns” for the gender confused have to do with whether or not a G~d exists.

  60. Lamont Cranston says

    CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says:

    Article: Wikipedia – Evil God Challenge

    I am not even postulating an ALL Evil or Maximally Evil god, but rather a generally malevolent God who is that way because he is rather self centered, self absorbed, bored, and finds us to be generally irrelevant except perhaps as a source of amusement (like ants to a mischievous little boy). This is a God who isn’t even trying to be evil, but rather a God who just is kind of a SOB from our perspective. Think of a being somewhat like Trelane (RIP William J. Campbell) from Star Trek the Original Series.

    Everyone seems to focus on the totally good God, or the totally bad God. Why does a God have to be at either extreme? Why not the totally mediocre God who is kind of lousy by accident or lack of caring?

    Did you ever see “Steambath” (1973 TV adaption of the play) where God is a Puerto Rican steambath attendant who trys to prove he is God by doing a card trick?

    I am just asking if it would be harder to refute someone’s belief in such a God? You can even make the case for such a God actually doing good things here and there and thereby magnify the extent of the bad things. I remember my parents talking about how they didn’t know how bad the 30’s were because it seemed like everyone had it bad which made it not seem so bad after all (not many good things to compare it against).

    Remember, I am not saying such a God exists and I don’t believe that one does. However, the existence of such a God does not seem to be inconsistent with reality compared to a maximally good or maximally evil God.

    A theist would have no hard evidence to prove the existence of such a God, but the circumstantial evidence seems to line up just fine for an SOB God. People do get convicted with only circumstantial evidence in situations where there is a complete lack of hard evidence. Is there enough circumstantial evidence to find an SOB God to be guilty of existing?

    Maybe the answer is that you don’t have to prove that an SOB God really does or does not exist because he/she/it/they wouldn’t care anyway?

    Lamont Cranston

  61. Muz says

    @52 bluestar, on what grounds do I need to? I’m not the one trying to assert what “atheism”s rules of discussion have to be nor the parameters of the show whilst railing against the practice of asserting practices and definitions on other people.

  62. bluestar says

    Yeah Muzzie- Look at all the railing I done here. Isn’t it time for you to clean out the deep fryers or something? Gender identity issues have very little to nothing to add in the debate of whether a G~d exists or not. And you know it.

  63. Monocle Smile says

    @bluestar
    The ACA has always been open and honest about having positions outside of dictionary atheism.
    If you have a problem with that, you know where the door is. Your point is meaningless and you’re rapidly approaching trolling.

  64. StonedRanger says

    Atheism itself is about a lack of belief in a god its true. And as an atheist I hold that belief. But I am not an atheist in a vacuum. I live in a world full of people who are like me ( in that they are atheists too) but the vast majority of them are different from me in many ways. And since I live in a world full of people different from me it behooves me to behave in a manner that is respectful of others whether we share the same ideas, beliefs, ideals or what have you. Anyone who says they will not compromise themselves by using someone else’s preferred pronoun is not compromising anything. They are just being fucking jerks to people they have no reason to be a jerk too. It costs you not a damned thing to give these people the respect they ask for and deserve just by being humans like you and me. If calling someone ‘they’ causes you distress then you need to grow the fuck up. People used these same stupid, tired arguments about blacks, and women, and gays, and well, you pick one. And the answer is still the same to those who feel that way. You are wrong. Full stop. Home of the free and land of the brave my ass. Only as long as they look like you, act like you, and think like you.

  65. says

    bluestar @52: It has nothing to do with atheism. It has to do with EJ being a guest on the show, The Atheist Experience, and being continually disrespected by folks making fatuous arguments about singular they as though it hasn’t been a feature of English since Shakespeare. Since this is a forum for that show, it gets discussed, like a lot of other things that don’t have anything to do with atheism but do have a connection to the show. If anyone has a problem with it being discussed, they could, I don’t know, like, not bring it up and not carry on the discussion after it is brought up.

  66. Joshua Adamson says

    Ray Smith that’s an incredibly harmful way of treating someone who is having their own thoughts and has a right to make decisions about their identity. If you decided you wanted to change political parties and people told you that they refused to participate in the “lie” that would make you feel like a third party to your own life! Don’t conflate absolutism with epistivism, if you want to believe EJ is a girl, that is your prerogative but we as atheists often treat about christian’s that way. I dont see many atheists de-converting theists by telling them that the god dilemma is binary; that no god exists; and thus, we refuse to aid in the “lie” that is their faith. You will only offend the living hell out of every single churchgoer I’ve ever met and I live in a town with 14 churches in a 5 mile radius and I’m not exaggerating at all. If EJ wants to say they are a girl, if they want to say they are a boy, THAT IS THEIR CHOICE. Do you HAVE to call them by their preferred pronoun? No. If you don’t want to offend them every time you address them then maybe, just maybe, you should speak to them on their terms? Its a matter of respect and a matter of personal identity, and you don’t control other people’s identity.

  67. Muz says

    bluestar If you want all your alts to be addressed as a single entity you just have to say so. ’til then I’m still going to work on the pretense that they’re all different people.
    So, yeah, someone who I quoted was indeed railing against the idea of rules in some special club, while dictating the rules as they see them of some other special club of their imagining. Which makes them a complete clown.
    If you are that complete clown, my congratulations on at least going to college of some sort. I hope you graduated.

    Subsequently I hope you’ll at least be consistent and complain about every little thing said on TAE that isn’t strictly about atheism, in writing and at length. Be specific. Don’t send them until you’ve catalogued each and every one now. Off you pop. Plenty of work to do.

  68. RationalismRules says

    @bluestar/Apache

    Muz- then please explain what the “proper pronouns” for the gender confused have to do with whether or not a G~d exists.

    Waaaaay too late to be trying this argument. If that was your actual point, why didn’t you make if from the beginning?
    Engaging in an argument (even, as in your case, simply through mockery) then turning around and saying “you shouldn’t be arguing about this because it has nothing to do with god” is blatant hypocrisy, and it’s exactly the same behavior as Muz is pointing out in #51.

  69. RationalismRules says

    @Ray Smith
    You frame your argument in terms of ‘truth’, which is a strong approach. The problem is, you haven’t caught up with where the evidence has taken us in the past few decades. Our current understanding of gender and sex is significantly different from the position that you’re arguing.

    If you are genuinely engaged in truth-seeking, new evidence changes your understanding of truth. When the evidence has shown us that our old ideas were wrong, clinging steadfastly to old ‘truth’ is the opposite of skepticism – you are now engaged in believing things against the evidence.

  70. cristina says

    Wow, the first caller really got raked over the coals for referring to someone who looks and sounds like a woman as “she”. He was just trying to compliment the host and the show. Not cool.

  71. mercury101 says

    I would like to see less gender politics talk and more philosophy/atheism talk. Atheists have a wide variety of political perspectives, and a show about politics and or gender studies is fine, but this is supposed to be about atheism and scrutinising religious beliefs.

  72. Honey Tone says

    Pure hyperbole. He didn’t get raked over anything. They were just letting him know EJ’s preferred pronoun. I have a friend who insists on “ ‘Robert, NOT ‘Bob’ “ as he repeatedly says, so I let people know that if they might talk to him. Same thing here, and the caller took it in that spirit and the hosts even said so.

    As for the gender/pronoun kerfluffle (sp?), back when I got my first job in a professional office in 1979, “Ms.” was not a common title for a woman. After the second time a female client expressed dissatisfaction that I hadn’t used her preferred form of address it occurred to me that making clients happy was in the best interests of the firm and of me, and it cost us not a damn thing other than making a note in a client’s file. Western civilization will survive a change in the number and types of personal pronouns.

  73. nicenick says

    After the first question you know exactly where the caller is going with his reasoning.

  74. Thomas Voldal says

    @Walter White
    Being pro gay isn’t far left, it’s just normal human decency. Calling gay people mentally ill isn’t even a political position, it’s just a delusion and incredibly rude on top of that.

  75. Jimdandy says

    Oh man! Welcome to the atheist sjw community of Austin Texas. My bet is that the majority of you snowflakes will be dead Within 35 to 50 years. That doesn’t seem to deter you from getting all frantic over something you have absolutely no way of proving. You might think that you’re changing the world but you’re not. Look at the demographics 4 Americans 18 to 29. Almost 70% of them or theist. With atheist and agnostic coming in at 6 and 7% respectively. Why don’t you guys just live your lives and let other people live their lives?

  76. Joey Pistachio says

    The show has progressively become, …. possibly what it should have always been, yet and certainly, not what I would have hoped to have seen it become. Hands down, if not for Mr Matt, the show would have burnt itself out from both ends 10 years ago. I’ve never actually seen a live show, but have spent countless hours observing not only the shows transformation, but each individual really find their niche and developing their key arguments….to the point where now, if a caller unassumingly wanders down a trap laden path, you know in advance the intellectual destruction that awaits. (Youll always know this is about to happen when neither host interrupts and lovingly allows the caller to truly express in full detail their ill fated argument.) I only mention this because I’m really torn. On the one hand I truly, and I mean really badly miss the old Matt. The no bullshit from anyone, including fellow hosts.. the almost impatient, say your piece I have more pain to inflict elsewhere version of Matt that I rightly or wrongly perceive. On the other hand.. I get it. Given what’s happened to other prominent figures in the field, how could a change not occur. I like to imagine that in the 30 or so moments I begin feeling nauseous on behalf of Matt, that somewhere deep inside he may have been feeling the same. If equality of opportunity is the desire though, then those who contribute more should in fact be free to contribute more. I remember when people used to be proud of their friends and colleagues for doing well. We’d all root for them and truly appreciate the opportunity to watch a fellow being, even if only for a brief moment, transcend not only themselves but the ideas of every single other person in the room. And so I’ll close where I started. The direction the show has taken undoubtedly provides less ripe soil for these moments to arise and I for one find myself constantly less motivated to root the show on and sadly, even listen.

  77. ncburnett says

    @Jimdandy, seems strange to me that you log onto a atheistic site and start telling people to mind their own business. And by strange I mean very funny. Kind of like going to a hockey game in your football gear picking a fight about the lack of support for your team.

  78. Pony says

    @paxoll

    The APA page includes this language in response to the question, “Why are some people transgender?”:

    “There is no single explanation for why some people are transgender. The diversity of transgender expression and experiences argues against any simple or unitary explanation. Many experts believe that biological factors such as genetic influences and prenatal hormone levels, early experiences, and experiences later in adolescence or adulthood may all contribute to the development of transgender identities.”

    This language is representative, I think, of the kind of gray area in which these questions reside. In essence, there is a fair amount of speculation and uncertainty as to the causes of transgenderism — note the phrases, “Many experts believe,” and “may all contribute” — and for some people, that does not square with the adamancy of many activists and advocates.

    As I wrote above, my personal approach is to respect what any individual person tells me about their identity and how they wish to be addressed, within reason (i.e. perhaps not if someone is switching this around on a routine basis).

    But the difficulty some people — I would argue many people, including many, many otherwise progressive people — have with this is that some of the more dogmatic demands by advocates doesn’t square with people’s sense of what is “true,” a la Matt’s refrain of wanting to believe as many true things, and as few false things, as possible.

    So, if the former Bruce Jenner comes out as transgender and says, henceforth, he wants to identify and be identified as a woman named Caitlyn, it seems rude, at best, to deny him those courtesies. But when advocates insist that Ms. Jenner, as a transgender woman and former world-champion men’s decathlete, was *always* “really” a woman, and mis-assigned his male gender at birth, I certainly sympathize with those people who say, “Nope, sorry. Can’t go there.”

    @Monacle Smile — Given the uncertainties regarding the causes of transgenderism, it would seem that the distinction between Dolezal’s “trans-racial” identity and Jenner’s “transgender” identity might not be quite as stark and clear cut as you assert. After all, science has told us pretty clearly that the idea of “race” is rather absurd, from a genetic point of view (i.e. people whose ancestry lies in certain parts of east Asia, Polynesia and elsewhere, have extremely dark skin, but have no more genetic connection to people whose ancestry is in Africa than do light-skinned people who trace their roots to Europe); meanwhile, there are typically (though not always) pretty clear genetic markers of sex.

  79. Monocle Smile says

    @Pony
    For the fuckin’ THIRD time, gender and sex are not the same thing. There is perhaps a correlation, but it’s far from perfect. I’m baffled as to why this is so difficult.

    After all, science has told us pretty clearly that the idea of “race” is rather absurd

    Did you not understand my post? My objection is that there’s no evidence that society has been treating Rachel Dolezal as a black woman. That has nothing to do with your spiel on race.

  80. says

    #65 Jimdandy says: “Why don’t you guys just live your lives and let other people live their lives?”

    How is having ONE show on the net “interfering with theist’s lives”? How many 24/7 TV, radio, and websites do theists have?

  81. Pony says

    @ Monacle

    Re Dolezal: What’s intriguing, to me, is that as an adult, she has lived as an “African American” woman, and widely accepted as exactly that until her cover was blown, to the extent — as you know — that she was the head of an NAACP chapter in Washington state and taught college courses on race. During that time, I think that society *was* treating her as a black woman, the identity she claimed (and which, for the record, I have trouble granting her).

    I’ll take your point about sex vs. gender. That said, as the APA information page makes pretty evident, defining gender is a tricky beast. And if Dolezal “feels” black — as she has claimed, over and over — then the question is, why is that so different from someone who “feels” they are a gender different from their assigned sex, anatomy, genetics and so on?

    You have tried to make this distinction a number of times on this forum (not just on this thread), and you are clearly very passionate about this. I’m sorry it irritates you, but I don’t think you’ve been entirely successful, and the fact that decent, thinking people, who are not inclined to prejudice or at least aware of it, remain puzzled cannot simply be dismissed with bold assertions or accusations that they are all unenlightened trolls or malign haters.

    You grant a possible correlation between sex and gender, but no more. A question: If there were no such thing as biological sex, would there be gender? (Incidentally, have you ever read Ursula K. Le Guin’s incredible novel, “The Left Hand of Darkness”? A great thought experiment regarding gender and society, set on a planet where the inhabitants have no gender until they come into “kemmer” once a month, and then, they can be either male or female … if you haven’t, it’s well worth reading.)

    If gender is a matter of internal identity, based on a melange of factors, including (according to the APA) external and environmental factors, then it’s perhaps not as distinct from someone’s feelings of racial identity as you assert, it seems to me. There are, or may be, various biological factors determining one’s sense of gender, as the APA statement makes clear, but ultimately, isn’t the real determinant how the individual person *feels* about him/her/themselves?

  82. ncburnett says

    C yall,
    The moderationtime makes posting and discussing anything virtually impossible. First post took a day to get moderated (not that it needed moderating), had my hopes for the next one but I guess that was futile. soooo bye, good luck, greetings and yarr

  83. Robert, not Bob says

    “Blackness” is a cultural trait as well as physical; it’s understandable that someone raised in an African-American family might be culturally “black”, whatever her ancestry. The problem is that people are mistreated because of their appearance and ancestry. So it’s reasonable to regard her as “black” in one sense but not the other.

  84. Pony says

    @Chan Kobun

    If you are counting me in the “bigot” column, I weep for your lack of discernment.

  85. Jimdandy says

    #69 Jeanette – I never said the show or anyone was”interfering” with anybody, please read before quoting. My point is I see these people who claim to be atheists all wrapped up and involved in a community and associations, podcasts, activism, etc. It appears to me that like the ultra-religious, these folks put a lot of time and effort into getting their message out there for lack of a better term.So much involvement and passion for what? Trying to convince people that believing in G~d without evidence is detrimental to the individual, or society or even foolish. Yet the atheist at some point doesn’t know any more than a believer does. In the case of the hard atheist there is no proof that G~d doesn’t exist. So it really is just a question of individual choice. One chooses to believe, (for their own reasons) one does not (for their own reason). So why the fuss? Wouldn’t it be better for these highly involved and activated folks to just go on and live their lives without fretting over other’s beliefs? Hey if you want to rail against religions and the effect on society when religion is a major tenant of legislation go for it. That makes sense. But an eternal argument over beliefs does not. I also said in a comment many shows ago, that my opinion is that atheism has evolved from a purely philosophical concept, to a quasi-political movement. Of course that comment was met with overt negative responses, but this thread here proves my point. I wonder how many true atheists are center or to the right of political center. I don’t know but I would wager very few. I also think that in some very left political circles one would not be taken serious unless they were an atheist. Just my hypothesis which I have no care to explore. Nor do I care to grow my beard and dye it pink an attend LBGTQ {x3} rallies, or travel down to rally at Ken Hams boat building and preach what everyone really knows in their heart of hearts even Ham himself. I’ll leave the YT videos to the christian street preachers and the atheist community. They are after all opposite sides of the same coin and I find them both entertaining.

  86. Monocle Smile says

    Jimtroll puts an awful lot of effort into declaring his lack of giving a shit.

    That paragraph is silly. Say hi to the Archons for me, nutjob.

  87. Monocle Smile says

    @Pony

    You have tried to make this distinction a number of times on this forum (not just on this thread), and you are clearly very passionate about this. I’m sorry it irritates you, but I don’t think you’ve been entirely successful, and the fact that decent, thinking people, who are not inclined to prejudice or at least aware of it, remain puzzled cannot simply be dismissed with bold assertions or accusations that they are all unenlightened trolls or malign haters.

    Are you under the impression that you’re in the majority of patrons of this blog? That’s a rather baffling assumption.

    Also, it’s a little comical to claim that “decent, thinking people” are “puzzled” and “cannot simply be dismissed” when the dissenters in this thread (apart from MAYBE you) are all most definitely “unenlightened trolls.”
    Comedy aside, I don’t give a rat’s ass that anyone is “puzzled.” Those aren’t the people who frustrate me, and I’m pretty sure everyone else on this blog would agree. This is a bit of an imagined persecution complex…or concern trolling.

  88. Manny Corpus says

    ” I just can’t ignore the science of biology and submit to the use of special pronouns.”

    The science of biology says nothing about pronouns, you silly intellectually dishonest bigot. It does say things about gender, but you’re an ignoramus who knows nothing of that.

  89. Manny Corpus says

    “Your claims about Dolezal appear to be false.”

    Your own citation supports them.

  90. Manny Corpus says

    “Oh man! Welcome to the atheist sjw community of Austin Texas. My bet is that the majority of you snowflakes will be dead Within 35 to 50 years. ”

    What a stupid godbot asshole troll.

  91. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I’ll take your point about sex vs. gender. That said, as the APA information page makes pretty evident, defining gender is a tricky beast. And if Dolezal “feels” black — as she has claimed, over and over — then the question is, why is that so different from someone who “feels” they are a gender different from their assigned sex, anatomy, genetics and so on?

    One perspective: If someone asks me to refer to them as “black” in vocabulary but also admit that they would be classified as “white” by visual inspection by 99.9% of the population, and they’re really insistent on it over a decently long period of time, I’ll acquiesce. Makes no difference to me. At worst, they’re eccentric and being silly, and I have no reason to annoy them or piss them off. As long as they’re not actually delusional, e.g. asserting that their skin is black when it’s actually white, it’s just a matter of politeness of a seeming eccentricity.

    Now, I think that there is a difference between “asking to be called black” and “asking to be called a woman”.

    I think that there’s a difference in how welcoming the group is which matters. I don’t want to be party to something that makes a minority or second-class group feel even more oppressed. For example, I still feel a little uncomfortable about the “argument” between trans-women and TERFs (although recently I’ve seen evidence that TERFs are mostly liars and a front for the conservative reactionary right, and so I don’t feel so bad about supporting trans-women against TERFs anymore). I get a very similar feeling when I see a white person claiming to be black, and pretending to be black, or should I say “passing” as black, because I suspect that there’s going to be a great deal of resentment from the oppressed community (black people) about a member of the oppressing group (white people) trying to become a member of the oppressed group. It’s like the bad kinds of cultural appropriation. I don’t think that this argument is foolproof, but I think it’s something noteworthy.

    Then, I think that there are legitimate scientific reasons to believe that trans people are not just pretending, or faking it, or being hip, but rather there is something going on at a genetic or hormonal level for many of them. Similarly, there are legitimate scientific reasons to believe that gay people are not making a lifestyle choice on a whim, but rather there is something going on at a genetic or hormonal level for many of them. Whereas, there are good scientific reasons to believe that there are no genetic or hormonal differences that makes someone “feel black”. Maybe someone identifies with a particular culture, but that is entirely the result of environment, including upbringing, parenting, etc., and has nothing to do with genetics, hormones, etc., (except to the extent that genetics and hormones change a person’s outward appearance which thereby changes how they are treated by society). Thusly, I’m less amenable to calling someone black when they are not black, but I’m more amenable to calling someone a woman even though they appear to be a typical XY genetic male, with a penis, and with other typical male body features.

    meh

  92. Manny Corpus says

    “Do we not care about truth?”

    We do, Ray, but you don’t, you stupid ignorant intellectually dishonest sack of shit.

    “we have very clear definitions for girl and boy”

    Science isn’t based on dictionary definitions, moron.

  93. says

    I know I am late to the fair here, but I always wonder when I hear a conservative, atheist or not, say that liberal policies are ‘immoral’, which segment of my friends they want to take rights away from; just the LGBTQA or all of the female half of the population? No, that’s not negotiable! So, yes, as long as the conservatives want to remove rights, there is no point in discussing it with them.

  94. paxoll says

    @Pony,

    the APA information page makes pretty evident, defining gender is a tricky beast.

    No it doesn’t. It is VERY clear and succinct that gender is defined as

    Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for boys and men or girls and women.

    Just because people can arrive at their gender identity by different processes or reasons doesn’t actually change what gender is.

  95. Manny Corpus says

    “It is VERY clear and succinct that gender is defined as …”

    First, saying that a word “refers to” something is not the same as providing a definition … the reference is more contextual than the full breadth of a definition. Second, reality does not confine itself to definitions. Third, that “definition” doesn’t even fit other uses of the word on the same page, e.g., “Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of being male, female or something else; gender expression refers to the way a person communicates gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, voice or body characteristics. ” — neither of those is about what “a given society considers appropriate”, nor is it about “boys and men or girls and women”, the use of which terms in a “definition” of gender already puts boundaries around gender that don’t exist in reality or in usage. The fact is that Pony is correct: that page makes it evident that defining gender is tricky.

  96. Manny Corpus says

    “Did you not understand my post? My objection is that there’s no evidence that society has been treating Rachel Dolezal as a black woman.”

    For a while, Dolezal was president of the Spokane chapter of NAACP and taught Africana Education at Eastern Washington University. She was outed as white by her parents, which resulted in a strong reaction from the black community against her pretending to be black. That is overwhelming evidence that society had treated her as a black woman, so I understand that you’re a stupid, grossly intellectually dishonest maggot.

  97. paxoll says

    @Manny
    It doesn’t have different contextual meaning, the ‘refers to” is a generalization of the terms boy/man/girls/women. You can substitute the definition perfectly. Gender identity refers to a persons internal sense of roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes. Gender expression refers to the way a person communicates their internal sense of roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, voice or body characteristics. The part about what a given society considers appropriate is why gender gets catagorized as man/woman/boy/girl by society.

  98. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal #81:

    recently I’ve seen evidence that TERFs are mostly liars and a front for the conservative reactionary right

     
    Comment: CA7746 #84 on Pharyngula’s Political Madness 7 Thread

    Links to CaseyExplosion’s summaries of:
    – TERFs as anti-LGBT union busters
    – Their spaces
    – Their origins

     
    Here are a couple more resources I didn’t have readied at the time.
     
    Article: AnaMardoll – TERF Warning Flags and Rhetoric

    People […] have been asking me about TERF ideology so here’s a mega thread.
    […]
    Really, it has been fascinating to watch TERF lesbians recycle gay-panic narratives about changing rooms and “turning” children gay/trans.
    […]
    I think this is the fundamental divide between trans-inclusion and TERFs, the recognition that trans people ARE their gender. If you accept that a trans boy is a boy, then your goal isn’t to put obstacles in his path, but to make him happy and healthy. “How can I help this boy be the person he wants to be?” is supportive and good and kind. If you DON’T accept that a trans boy is a boy, and if you think you can STOP him from being a boy if you just TRY HARD ENOUGH, Then you turn into this weird video game villain. “How can I put as many obstacles as possible until they give in to my will?”
     
    So you think of the situation as “transing” kids – i.e., turning them into a thing – because you don’t respect that they already ARE trans. And you view transition as “losing” a girl child because you think transitioning CHANGES a gender rather than being treatment for dysphoria. If you’ve construed a dystopic Women vs. Men model with no other intersections in play, then you see men as “taking” your lesbians away. All the young lesbians, rounded up to be genocided into trans boys. Meanwhile the trans girls are infiltrating your collective. At which point the trans girls will… shut down the planetary shields? Look, idunno, it’s the TERFs’ fictional dystopia, not mine.

     
    Article: AnaMardoll – Transgender Terminology
     
    From an earlier, prose rather than bullet point, version of that article:

    It is currently the fashion to place a space between adjective and modified noun. Trans woman, not transwoman. Blond man, not blondman.
    […]
    So if you are cis, it is probably good practice to mind your spaces, lest you accidentally look like you’re speaking the TERFy lingo. A good rule of thumb with “trans” is “would I have a space here if I spelled out ‘transgender’ in full?” Usually the answer is ‘yes’.

  99. Manny Corpus says

    “… by visual inspection … asserting that their skin is black when it’s actually white”

    How fucking stupid are people? It is obvious by visual inspection that no one’s skin is white, or black. Stupid, and ignorant … of the “one drop rule”, of “passing”, of the range of variety of skin tone, of the social stratification of blacks by skin tone, and of the entire history of racial identification, not to mention basic genetics. It is impossible to tell “by visual inspection that someone’s skin is “actually white” because there’s no such thing as “actually white” skin, even in albinos, and it’s impossible to tell whether someone is “actually white” genetically, because there’s no such thing. On top of that, the blonde, blue-eyed Dolezal went to great effort, including using bronzers, to tan herself and wear her hair in dreadlocks, which is how she was able to be accepted as black by the black activist community in Spokane.

    “I don’t want to be party to something that makes a minority or second-class group feel even more oppressed.”

    Then you’re in a pretty tough position, because the people at the bottom of the pyramid are always blaming each other, with a lot of help from those at the top. For instance there has been a lot of resistance to gay rights and particularly same-sex marriage in the black community, with complaints that gays have it easy compared to the black struggle. And of course you see the same crap from the TERFs, many of whom come from the depths of the feminist movement, contrary to facile No True Scotsman dismissals.

    “there are legitimate scientific reasons to believe that gay people are not making a lifestyle choice on a whim”

    Do you think that Rachel Dolezal identifies as black “on a whim”? Do you think that, even if being gay were entirely psychological and not at all genetic or congenital (and that’s the case for some gays, especially lesbians who got there through rape and other abuse), that it would be “making a lifestyle choice on a whim”? This is such a shallow way of thinking about something complex.

    “I’m less amenable to calling someone black when they are not black”

    Not black *according to you*, which makes your argument circular. What if it had turned out that Rachel Dolezal had been adopted by a black couple and raised by them from birth? She does have 4 black half-siblings, you know.

  100. Manny Corpus says

    @paxoll

    Stupid handwaving bullshit that ignores the points I made. The fact remains that defining gender is tricky, and the “definition” you offer fails to capture important aspects.

  101. Manny Corpus says

    P.S. If you didn’t know her background, you would identify Rachel Dolezal — or rather, Nkechi Diallo — as black by “visual inspection”: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/07/03/rachel-dolezal-booked-and-released-jail-welfare-charges/754042002/

    I understand the anger in the black community toward Dolezal and the charges of “cultural appropriation”, but I think in the end she’s a genuinely tragic figure who will now probably be consumed by the “justice” system.

  102. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Manny Corpus
    I’m not sure how to respond to that. It seems that you were exceptionally uncharitable with several things that I said. I don’t see any need to respond to you at all right now.

  103. Manny Corpus says

    “I have always been a Progressive and a Liberal, but it’s precisely this kind of nonsense that has given those labels a bad name and driven the country into the age of Trump.”

    Regardless of what you may think you have been, Perry, you have never been a progressive (maybe a “liberal” in the Phil Ochs sense). If you’re not a right wing troll, you’re indistinguishable from one and are spreading one of their favorite memes.

  104. Manny Corpus says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal

    When you have no rebuttal, it’s fine to remain silent, although it’s better to admit your errors.

  105. Manny Corpus says

    Walter White demonstrates why we would be better off if right wingers all perished. But that won’t happen; instead, global warming, which we could have slowed in time if not for right wingers, will destroy human civilization. Oh well.

  106. Monocle Smile says

    @EL
    Manny, in his short stint here, has been constantly uncharitable and always always always shoots from the hip. I’ve already tuned the bullshit out, because there’s no value in engaging.

  107. paxoll says

    @Manny

    First, saying that a word “refers to” something is not the same as providing a definition

    I Did respond to this, it IS a definition, just as saying a Tree refers to a perennial plant with an elongated stem, or trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. “refers to” is a way to place the definition of a general term into a conversational statement.

    Second, reality does not confine itself to definitions.

    this is a pointless tautology. Gender has meaning, pronouns have meaning, the use of pronouns matches the definition of gender, You have no fucken point.

    Third, that “definition” doesn’t even fit other uses of the word on the same page,

    and I showed this to be fucken wrong as well, as the definition fits perfectly well with other uses of the word. So I did NOT ignore your points with “handwaving bullshit”. Do you have any valid points to share on this topic or are you simply demonstrating your ignorance to everyone?

  108. Manny Corpus says

    Ad hominem dismissal is certainly the easiest route. And given MS’s treatment of Pony, he’s not in a good position to complain about being uncharitable.

  109. Manny Corpus says

    “this is a pointless tautology”

    Sorry, but it’s not. Perhaps you should read some Willard Quine.

    “Gender has meaning, pronouns have meaning”

    That’s more pointlessly tautological than what I wrote.

    “the use of pronouns matches the definition of gender”

    More so than you seem to realize — it defeats your position, as the use of pronouns is disputed, with some people insisting that pronouns must follow what they deem to be cultural prescriptions, while others use whatever pronouns the subjects request (and there are other positions as well).

    “You have no fucken point.”

    None that you are willing or able to understand, perhaps.

    ” I showed this to be fucken wrong as well”

    No, you merely claimed it, even though it is clearly false.

    “you simply demonstrating your ignorance to everyone”

    Your hyperbole is intellectually dishonest. Our disagreement is not evidence of any ignorance on my part.

  110. Manny Corpus says

    The fact remains that defining gender is tricky — this is clear from calling it a “social construct”, since society is complex and multifaceted, and there are cultural and political disputes about what gender is, what genders there are, how gender is manifested or identified, etc. And it remains quite obvious that “the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for boys and men or girls and women” is an inadequate definition of gender, as gender is not confined to what any society considers appropriate (which isn’t even a thing, because different elements of society have different views of what is appropriate), and “boys and men or girls and women” is not exhaustive, either of gender roles or of phenotypes. Thus, again, Pony was right that “defining gender is a tricky beast”. It would be so easy to simply concede that, if it weren’t for matters of the ego.

    Goodnight, folks.

  111. RationalismRules says

    @Jimdandy/bluestar/Apache #75

    So why the fuss? Wouldn’t it be better for these highly involved and activated folks to just go on and live their lives without fretting over other’s beliefs? Hey if you want to rail against religions and the effect on society when religion is a major tenant of legislation go for it. That makes sense. But an eternal argument over beliefs does not.

    Wouldn’t it be better for you to just go on and live your life without fretting over atheists’ beliefs? Why are you here arguing this point, when your own argument is that arguing this point is pointless?

  112. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Manny Corpus #92:

    I understand the anger in the black community toward Dolezal and the charges of “cultural appropriation”, but I think in the end she’s a genuinely tragic figure

     
    Article: TheStranger – Interview by Ijeoma Oluo

  113. Michael Thom says

    I enjoyed the talk in this episode about Tracy being prayed for to be converted by the end of 2018. This made me seriously curious about what Matt or any of TAE hosts feel about Teresa MacBain going back to theism? I met her as a fellow speaker at the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers conference in Little Rock, AR and at that time she was one of the better defenders of the position of atheism and her arguments seemed strong and sound. I would love to hear anyone on TAE show discuss this and reveal why or if they have any insight on her flipping back? Just like Matt said about want to question Tracy strongly, I feel the same way about Teresa.

  114. paxoll says

    @Manny
    Holy fuck are you obtuse. So I finally get it through your thick skull that “refers to” is a fucken definition…too bad you didn’t actually bother with what I said or you would realize that the “given society considers appropriate for boys and men or girls and women” is part of the conversational statement. It is providing examples of gender to help explain the definition the same way you could use oak and pine, to illustrate the definition of Tree.

    inadequate definition of gender, as gender is not confined to what any society considers appropriate (which isn’t even a thing, because different elements of society have different views of what is appropriate)

    A criminal stealing something is appropriate for what we label a “criminal” so it is clear appropriate is not being “referred to” as proper, or acceptable. This is why a northern girl going to the south might be “unladylike”, and a southern girl up north might be called a bitch. Those are different views on what is appropriate for girls/women, which is why those different populations make that distinction. The definition of what gender means in those two populations is the fucken same, what changes is the ” roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes”.

    “boys and men or girls and women” is not exhaustive, either of gender roles or of phenotypes.

    again those are examples used to illustrate the definition. You are not pointing out any fucken problem with the definition, you are pointing out the problem of gender use in the population. That is why these types of stupid conversations continue to be required. It is a prescriptive categorization (appropriate). If it was descriptive than there would be much less problems, we wouldn’t see “tomboy” as pejorative, everyone would refer to others by their correct pronouns, and we would have a more “exhaustive” list. But no list is going to ever correct the problem of gender being prescriptive and thus will always cause conflict with someone who doesn’t agree with the way they have been categorized. The real solution is to get rid of gender and use a persons descriptive name when referring to them.

    No, you merely claimed it, even though it is clearly false.

    When definitions can be substituted into other uses and the meaning remains the same than that is the definition of a consistent definition. At this point you are just being an obnoxious troll.

  115. Monocle Smile says

    @SS
    It wouldn’t shock me to learn that both of them are Pharyngula regulars. This is the kind of discourse that happens over there.

  116. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To MS
    Oh, either of us agreeing with that is like the kettle calling the pot black. We both go pretty ham. I’d like to hope that we’re more understanding and welcoming than Pharyngula comments section, but sometimes we’re not. Lol.
    <3

  117. Kyuu the Polytheist says

    So I have to leave a comment for the first time ever. As I was about halfway through watching this episode, my doorbell rang, so I paused the video and got up to answer the door. I unlock and open the door, and who is there standing on my doorstep? Two guys wearing the exact same outfit, each holding a book. Mormons! I was initially rather rude to them, just saying “I know why you’re here, but I really don’t want to talk right now.” And then immediately realized my error and apologized for my rudeness, explaining I wasn’t in the mood to have a long conversation today. They understood, thanking me for not slamming the door in their face. I told them a little about myself through the screen, just saying, while I don’t believe in God, I am religious (polytheistic specifically, though I didn’t tell them that), and I do consider myself to be a religious scholar. I also told them that a good friend of mine is Mormon and that I once went with him to the nearest Mormon Temple. They were clearly interested in conversing more, but understood my desire to get back to whatever it was I was doing, so they asked if they could give me a card with their website on it, to which I agreed and they went on their way. But I think it’s hilarious that I was in the middle of watching one of your episodes when they came to the door.

  118. Robink says

    Poor Luke, keeps calling in and getting increasingly frustrated that the hosts don’t fall into his trap and give him the answers he’s looking for. And then when the tables are turned predictably can’t bring himself to give an honest answer because that would expose the flaws in his beliefs.

    As for the last caller, it never ceases to amaze me how keen Christians suddenly are in appealing to the scientific consensus when it comes to the historical record of Jesus but completely dismissive of it the rest of the time. I sure it’s meaningless to them that the consensus is also that Jesus wasn’t magical or that the evidence for his existence is far from conclusive…

  119. twarren1111 says

    Why the fuss over pronouns? In many languages pronouns have been fluid. I find it humorous that some express fear regarding singular they. Does that mean there is fear as well of pleural vs singular you. Or does one use you for singular and y’all for pleural. Civilization means at its core agreeing on social contracts. Why would someone be afraid to call someone a word they want to be called. One of the benefits of complexity is that much more meaning can be generated when a self referential middle is created. It’s why all or none, 0 or 1, black or white is so boring and limited. Gender, sex, sexuality are fluid. Eg what do you call a person who is xy DNA, thus develops testicles and makes testosterone but has no receptors for testosterone? This person doesn’t figure out they are male until they don’t have a menses. But they have breasts, vagina, uterus…it’s just that the two gonads at the end of the Fallopian tubes are testes and not ovaries. And ‘her’ name is Jamie Lee Curtis. So please stop basing your reasons on fear and false dichotomies. Accept. Tolerate. Love. Empathisize. It’s religion vs science.

  120. Ray Smith says

    This is a rough crowd. Regarding my post #39, I am not confused about gender vs. sex. My post was about sex – male or female, which I also refer to as girl or boy for simplicity. As I understand it, gender refers to the social aspects of a person’s identity, including qualities that can be called masculine or feminine. Again my post was about referring to a person’s sex based on the standard of truth. For example, if I am testifying in a court of law, and I am asked under oath, is your child a boy or a girl, I can easily and honestly say “my child is a boy”. That is the truth. Someone compared my comments to refusing to accept a person’s political party preference. A person can identify with whatever party they want. That is not based on any of their physical characteristics. I was also told if someone wants to call themselves a girl or a boy, that is their choice, their prerogative.” Again, sure they can say whatever they want, but it doesn’t make it true. If you are on the witness stand, and you are asked is someone a girl or a boy, are you going answer “whatever they want to be”? That would not be truthful. Let me repeat. My post was about sex. Another person objected my saying words have meanings and further stated we don’t have to always go by the dictionary definition of words. I understand that point, but if we are trying to communicate objective truth, we need to find words that clearly express our meaning. For example, as an engineer, I deal with words such as energy, power, volts, amps, etc. When I state the energy content of a pound of coal, it will be in units of BTUs per pound. If I choose to use, say miles per gallon instead, mass confusion would result. This is what I mean by “words have meaning”. One last thing about my post. I stated that the word “they” GENERALLY refers to a singular entity. I agree their are times that they can take on plural qualities. But if we decide to call an individual person “they”, which form of be should we use? “They is” or “They are”? This could get very confusing very fast, especially if you are having a conversation involving a group of people which you refer to as they and an individual that you also refer to as they. I suppose “They is” could be the individual, and “They are” would be the group. Again my goal is to always communicate truth.
    Some of you indicated that you believe I am not sincere. I don’t post often, except when I have something to say that is important to me. Integrity and truth are very important to me.

  121. Monocle Smile says

    @Ray Smith

    My post was about sex

    Not only didn’t you clarify, but absolutely nobody else was talking about sex, and it’s blindingly obvious.
    “Boy” and “girl” sometimes refer to gender, sometimes sex. Pretending that they ONLY refer to sex and that the discussion wasn’t about gender is intentional ignorance, as far as I’m concerned.

    Integrity and truth are very important to me.

    People who value integrity and truth don’t have to endlessly insist that they value integrity and truth.

    But if we decide to call an individual person “they”, which form of be should we use? “They is” or “They are”? This could get very confusing very fast, especially if you are having a conversation involving a group of people which you refer to as they and an individual that you also refer to as they. I suppose “They is” could be the individual, and “They are” would be the group. Again my goal is to always communicate truth.

    Ask questions. Don’t be a dick. Stop pretending that this is difficult.

  122. Ray Smith says

    I still don’t understand why some people choose to stoop very low and call those they disagree with all kinds of derogatory names. That is not a great way to persuade someone to your way of thinking. Or do you only want people you agree with to comment? Here is the list of names I have been called on this thread:
    Troll.
    Asshole.
    Bigot.
    Stupid ignorant intellectually dishonest sack of shit.
    Moron.
    Stupid ignorant sack of crap.

    I have to wonder what kind of person chooses to call another human by such vile terms. What caused you to display such hateful tones toward others? These phrases never even enter my thoughts. I always try to show respect for others. Is functioning at a basic level of civility too much to ask for?

    A couple of people want to ban me for my comments. Do you also participate in book-burnings?

  123. Monocle Smile says

    @Ray
    Are you real, or are you a character from Family Circus? That kind of post seems extraordinarily sheltered and you seem to have taken several comments personally that were not directed at you.

    I didn’t call you a dick. I don’t believe you’re this dense, naive, or vacuous. Then again, you have gone off on truly silly rants about 9/11 before and defended pathetic apologists, so maybe this isn’t an act and you’re really this hopeless.

  124. indianajones says

    @ Ray. When you insist that you are using definitional terms and act surprised that the context that those terms were being used in by everyone else, blindingly obviously, is different to what you claim you were saying and we should have known that? Why are you surprised about push back?

    It’s like saying you are a fan of fascists in a discussion about the holocaust and being surprised that people think you are a fuckwit .And then claiming that what you REALLY meant was strictly that prompt and reliable trains are tops as.

    And following up with blog ban = book burnings? Yeah, nah pretty sure that that is fuckwitted.

  125. RationalismRules says

    @Ray Smith
    You have said that you understand the difference between gender and sex, yet you didn’t manage to grasp that the term ‘non-binary’ is a reference to gender, not sex.

    Your entire argument is about a term that you didn’t even bother to understand properly. So much for your passion for truth.

  126. paxoll says

    @Ray,
    How do you know someone is a male or female? Do you walk up to them and grab their crotch? No you use gender cues from the way they dress, style of hair, and maybe some biological factors such as tone of voice, muscle and fat distribution. The point is you don’t KNOW. Your misuse of gender and sex terms in your post was obviously intended to conflate gender and sex, since Jen was clearly talking about gender and the caller calling EJ “she”, making your bullshit about

    My post was about sex – male or female, which I also refer to as girl or boy for simplicity.

    either a pack of lies or you are trying to argue that they should be conflated. Either way makes you an asshole.

  127. StonedRanger says

    Ray @112 Doesn’t feel very good when people call you by names that you don’t want to be called, does it? That’s the same reason you should respect people when they want to be called by a preferred pronoun that isn’t what you think they should be called. Its not up to you. If you don’t want people to call you disrespectful names then the next time you call someone he/she when they have asked you not to, you will know how they feel. It really isn’t that hard to understand is it? If you want me to call you Ray, or he then i will respect that as long as you do the same to others. When you don’t, you get what you deserve and all your whining is for naught because only other jerks like you will feel bad for you. And that puts you way back in the minority. Do try to keep up with the rest of us.

  128. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    yet you didn’t manage to grasp that the term ‘non-binary’ is a reference to gender, not sex.

    Well, sex isn’t binary either. It is true that like 99%+ of people fit well into two groupings in the distribution, but there some people who don’t fit into the two groupings. Ex, rare intersec genetic conditions like XXY, or human chimeras, etc.

  129. Jimdandy says

    I have no reason to believe the claim that “born gay” (or bi or any other preference) as no evidence has been demonstrated to support it. More often is there evidence of a choice; again, perhaps made very early in life possibly before age 2. The acceptance of LBGTQ in mainstream society today has presented more of a social construct rather than objective data on etiology of homosexuals. Indeed psychologists are divided on this debate but as of today there is more evidence of wanting to have a gay gene to define homosexuality than there is hard evidence of the same. Studies done on general population reveal both homosexual and heterosexual people hold the opinion that “born this way” makes homosexuality even more acceptable. Here is a good paper on the subject:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4545255/

    This topic holds debate in all aspects of the human experience; family, religion, social behavior, politics, etc.. And most of you are obviously on one side of this debate and I’m on the other. But I can state my reasons for being on this side as thus far the search for the “gay gene” has not been conclusive. If new evidence should arise to the contrary, the debate is over, and I would have no problem accepting that certain people were born this way.

  130. Monocle Smile says

    @Jimtroll

    I have no reason to believe the claim that “born gay” (or bi or any other preference) as no evidence has been demonstrated to support it. More often is there evidence of a choice

    Blind counterfactual assertion pulled straight from your anus, just like all your other bullshit.

  131. RationalismRules says

    @EL
    Yes, I’m aware that sex isn’t binary, but i was referring to the usage of the term in language, which Ray, being “always concerned to communicate truth” should be aware of, especially since his entire argument is about language.

    Context, EL.

  132. RationalismRules says

    @Jimdandy/bluestar/Apache
    Are you sure you want to start a conversation here about something that has nothing to do with the non-existence of god(s)? Most people here have no issue with a broad range of topics, but the one person who seemed to have a problem with it was you. Had a change of heart?

  133. Theisntist says

    Two year olds choose whether to be gay? That’s a new one. If being gay was a choice it would be more common when it is accepted, but it seems to be pretty consistently 8 to 10 percent whether in SF or the bible belt. Of course in the bible belt more are in the closet, but in anonymous surveys the rates are pretty steady.

  134. Honey Tone says

    Jimdandy-

    I’m lost. What debate are you on the other side of that involves the need for proof of a gay gene? And where and when did that debate get raised?

    You posted about 40 #s back that you wished atheists here would live and let live. Is a gay gene necessary for you to allow people who are not exclusively hetero to live their sexuality? Do you think LGBTetc., are identifying and living in opposition to their “true” sexual natures?

    Perhaps it would be better if you just live and let live.

  135. ProfMrSirDr says

    Gay and straight are the labels we apply to explain, in general, who we tend to love or be aroused by.
    Who we love is a choice and we can choose to love one or multiple people of either gender.
    Who we are aroused by is far less of a choice. This can be altered through conditioning but generally just happens to us.
    A person that is trans is by scientific definition either male or female and that is determined by our biology. But we as a species are advanced enough to understand that a person can feel as though they are a different gender then the one they were born as, and we as a society can socially accept them for how they feel.

  136. Jimdandy says

    #127 As far as I’m concerned, people can do whatever they want with their sexuality. It has no bearing on me. The gay gene debate you speak of is my response to people who tell me they are born this way, and I believe it’s a choice. My believing that does not impede their well being in the least. So get over it already.

  137. says

    @Jimdandy
    If “It has no bearing on me”, why on earth are you even posting about other people’s sexuality? What does it matter to you AT ALL whether there is a “gay” gene or just simple choice?

  138. paxoll says

    @Jimdandy, You believe it is a choice, so when in your life did you choose to be sexually attracted to the opposite sex? I never chose. To say homosexuality is a “choice” is special pleading, why is it a choice for them but not for me or you?

  139. Jimdandy says

    @153 – Because I don’t like people insisting that I accept “they are born this way” when there is no evidence to support that claim. Kind of like how atheists don’t like people insisting “you should accept that G~d exists” without any evidence to support that claim.

  140. says

    Hi,
    My name is Ray, I’m from the UK and I have listened to your show and find it very interesting, particularly in view of the fact that I have been studying and contemplating similar lines of thought for many years now. For the first 35 years of my life I had no interest in the subject of God and whether there is one in the least. I was neither believer nor non-believer therefore. At age 35 I decided to retire to Florida and it was there that I began to study philosophy and religion a great deal. It was through these studies that I eventually became a panenthiest and student and later a practitioner of mental science.

    I would really like to discuss what I have discovered, experimented with and found to be true in regard to this topic over the past 25+ years. I would also like to offer you a systematic approach that anyone who is earnestly seeking the truth of being may follow. I belong to no religion or group of any kind. I regard myself as a free thinker and truth student.

  141. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Because I don’t like people insisting that I accept “they are born this way” when there is no evidence to support that claim. Kind of like how atheists don’t like people insisting “you should accept that G~d exists” without any evidence to support that claim.

    Not all claims are equal. Consider the following:
    – I flip a coin, and hide the result from you. I claim the result is heads.
    – I roll a d6 (a normal six-sided die), and hide the result from you. I claim the result is not “6”.
    There are intrinsic differences in how likely those outcomes are. Without me saying anything, the odds that the die roll was a 1 to 5 is about 5/6, which means it’s pretty likely. You don’t need any particular evidence to conclude this. You just need some background knowledge about how it works.

    In other words, you have some knowledge, some “evidence”, about how dice work. You have evidence from prior occasions about how dice work. You know that each result of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 is about equally likely. You have prior knowledge how statistics work, and that each die roll is roughly independent, and that most dice are fair dice (e.g. each result is equally weighted).

    In short, I’m asking you to use all of your background knowledge and prior evidence.

    I’m asking you to use all of your background knowledge and prior evidence when it comes to the claim “gay people typically don’t make a choice to be sexually attracted to the same sex/gender – that’s just how they are / they’re born that way”.

    For example, how many people do you know who are straight / heterosexual who remember the day that they decided that they are sexually attracted to the opposite sex/gender? About zero. For example, how many people do you know who are gay / homosexual who remember the day that they decided that they are sexually attracted to the same sex/gender? About zero. I posit that this is actually rather strong evidence that sexual preferences is not a choice, and instead it’s something that’s either innate or somehow learned during early childhood.

    For other reasons, I would further suggest that it’s probably something that happens during early brain development in the womb. For example, you can find several twin studies concerning trans-people which, if correct, strongly suggest that gender identity and sexual preferences for most people is determined in large part due to hormone levels during brain development in the womb.

    PS:
    I’m not really sure that the first part of the post has anything to do with the second part, but I think you were making some bad claims about general epistemology, and so I tried to mention some counter-examples.

  142. says

    Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote “We are all inlets and may become outlets for all there is in God”.
    No degrees or qualifications of any kind are useful in proving the truth of this. What is needed is an understanding that there is only ONE intelligence in the universe, which differentiates Itself into all life forms we experience and penetrates the interspaces of the known universe and infinitely beyond. Once any individual comes into realisation that he or she is a differentiated expression of the same intelligence that formed the universe, the scope of accomplishment of that individual will be expanded to the extent of his or her imagination.

  143. RationalismRules says

    @Ray

    What is needed is an understanding that there is only ONE intelligence in the universe, which differentiates Itself into all life forms we experience and penetrates the interspaces of the known universe and infinitely beyond.

    Since this is an extraordinary claim, you presumably have extraordinary evidence to offer in support. Let’s hear it.

  144. says

    @ RationalismRules

    Someone else cannot prove your own mental capabilities to you – this is something each individual must do for themselves. There are hundreds of books available that teach the principles of Mental Science, many of which can be read free online.

  145. RationalismRules says

    @Ray
    You made a claim:

    …there is only ONE intelligence in the universe, which differentiates Itself into all life forms we experience and penetrates the interspaces of the known universe and infinitely beyond.

    That is not an assessment of my mental capabilities, it is a claim of fact about the universe we inhabit. Whatever I can determine about my own mental capabilities remains specific to me. You are claiming something which is not specific to an individual, but is a general claim of fact. Such a claim needs to be supported by evidence, or it is worthless. Are you able to provide evidence for the claim, or is it simply empty assertion?

  146. RationalismRules says

    @Ray
    I will move my post over to the current thread, in order to save going back & forth.

  147. poggiofreethought says

    About 1:24ish:

    What should God (if exist) do to show they exist?

    Must it be like Oh, God, where they do miracles? Why miracles?

    What other ways besides miracles could a “God” show their presence?

    Frankly, I don’t think that there could be any other way than to thwart the routine ways of Nature (for billions of years) with a contradictory event created for the pleasure of the viewer?

    YET, isn’t a miracle a kind of petty way to do that? Like Q in Star Trek TNG? Petty.

    But then, what other way could a “God” demonstrate they exist?

  148. poggiofreethought says

    With regard to the Joel call,

    The Bible is only evidence that some guys wrote those words down, that they edited and edited them, and that they translated them. Also that people later on demanded that we take those same words literally and without argument.

    Try arguing with a used car salesman…. You’ll be told to get off the lot.

    Strangely, “oh my Gawd!” Joel told us to get off his used car lot.

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