1. says

    So I loved the part about Tiktaalik so I decided that as a good little sceptic I will search the creation pseudoscience websites for their defence so I can understand apposing arguments (it hurts but I still think its important). What I found was an article claiming that Tiktaalik is dead… referencing foot prints found in Poland that date 18 million years earlier (implying that life left the water earlier than Tiktaalik). My first idea is that it could be possible that multiple lineages of life left the water at different times however… I am not a smart man, but I know what love is…

    No but seriously, does anyone know the counter apologetic to this?

  2. har7613 says

    The caller Mark, from Philippine 53:10. He asked a question about how to relate/educate his Christian friends that evolution is true and what’s the practical benefit? May I suggest to Dr Wuellner that she can refer to 2018 Chemistry Nobel Prize winners. The 3 scientists use evolutionary biology to design new drugs that can help people.

    First of all, I don’t think any Christian can deny Nobel Prize is world recognize honor and only top scientists can win this prize. Selection committee members are not fools, they won’t award prize to sham.

    Second, it is the proof that evolution is true. Otherwise, how can people use a false theory to design/invent something that works?

    One can use Google to search for more information about this but I find this article from New York Times is pretty good. Here’s the link.

  3. RationalismRules says

    @David McDonald

    My first idea is that it could be possible that multiple lineages of life left the water at different times

    Exactly. I’m no authority on evolution, but assuming the Poland thing is legit convergent evolution immediately springs to mind. There is no reason why the transition from water to land shouldn’t have happened in more than one location – it’s no great stretch to think that evolution could have proceeded along different timelines on opposite sides of the globe (Canada, Poland).

    Earlier evolution of walking amphibians in Poland wouldn’t invalidate Tiktaalik as a transitional form. This is typical creationist-think: when the scientific model of evolution is updated for new information, creationists say “Aha, science was wrong about that one point, so all evolution is therefore invalid and goddidit”.

    What makes Tiktaalik particularly significant (to me, anyway) is how it came to be discovered. Evolutionary biologist Neil Shubin and colleagues used evolutionary theory to predict that fossils displaying both fish-like characteristics and characteristics of the earliest land-based animals (flat-heads with eyes on top, and proto-legs) should be found in the boundaries between waterways and land from the Devonian period. On searching the exposed Devonian rock strata that met those conditions, his team found Tiktaalik: fish-like body, scales, eyes on top of its flat head, fins containing proto-leg structure (radius/ulna, wrist functionality) and a mobile neck. Not only did ToE successfully predict what they would find, it also predicted where they would find it.
    That is the scientific process in action – using the model to make predictions, which were then confirmed by the fossil discovery.
    [I note that YouTube vid you linked to has comments turned off. I thought maybe they turn off comments on all their vids – it turns out this is not the case. Maybe they got sick of people explaining convergent evolution to them.]

  4. Tamera Jordan says

    I feel deeply for the caller Sara. I was raised in a similar situation. It is difficult to find social connections. Even those who don’t claim to be “religious” can be irritating. A lot of people have the idea that the bible is real even if they don’t follow it. I try to educate myself too, but that is difficult as well. I don’t stop though. You can’t stop.

  5. says

    What a great episode, Jen is my favorite, I really love her. Plus, great to see Dr Clare once again.
    I have barely reviewed half of the episode and have so many comments:
    (1) It is curious how non-Academic people (not sure if it is ok to write like this) see Science. During my own Doctorate, even the way I would construct a paragraph was scrutinized, let alone the actual content. To our friend Michael from San Antonio, I second Dr. Clare’s recommendation: in the US specifically, we have a lot of misunderstandings related to science, worse, they think they can argue just by reading a religious book or a gossip magazine. The pathway to argue and prove wrong is Academia. Go get your PhD, start your researches, publish them and get your Nobel prize by proving “science is wrong”.
    (2) Right at the beginning, when Dr. Clare was talking about current examples of macro evolution, the ring species came to my mind. Suddenly BAMM, she brought it up. My favorite example is the Ensatina genera of salamanders in the East Coast of the US/Canada. Great point.
    (3) There are other two examples I use when someone brings the topic in a negative way: The Black Bear is “suffering” speciation right now: The Kermode bear is not an albino version of the Ursus americanus. Rather it is a subspecies of the latter, totally white. There are many cool details I consider relevant to use under the “macro evolution happening in front of our eyes” framework.
    (4) The discovered planet that has the possibility (we are within the realm of total speculation for now because it lies within the Proxima Centaury – an old, very old Red Dwarf – and brings some probabilities and some complications for life) is called Proxima B and lies 4 Light Years (3.8 actually) in average from us. There is an effort from the late Professor S. Hawkins, Elon Musk and others to send in a few years a nano probe at 50% of the speed of light with some characteristics like self replicating and others. Worth looking into it.
    (5) I think current Anti-vax stupidity was triggered strongly by Wakefield et al publication of 1998. Instead of people paying attention to the entire scientific scenario, they got stuck with, again, gossip magazines and irresponsible TV shows making a big deal of a yet non peer reviewed article of a group of tendentious doctors. And I quote:
    “In 2004, then-editor Dr. Richard Horton of the Lancet wrote that Wakefield should had revealed to the journal that he had been paid by attorneys seeking to file lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers.[15] In television interviews, Horton claimed that Wakefield’s research was “fatally flawed.”[16] Most of the co-authors of the study retracted the interpretation in the paper[17], and in 2010, The Lancet formally retracted the paper itself.[18]”
    15. Horton, R. A statement by the editors of The Lancet. The Lancet. 2004; 363(9411): 820-821.
    16. Laurance, J. How was the MMR scare sustained for so long when the evidence showed that it was unfounded? The Independent. September 19, 2004. Accessed 01/25/2018.
    17. Murch, S.H., Anthony, A., Casson, D.H., Malik, M., Berelowitz, M., Dhillon, A.P., … Walker-Smith, J.A. Retraction of an interpretation. Lancet. 2004; 363(9411): 750.
    18. The Editors of The Lancet. Comment: RETRACTION:—Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. The Lancet. 2010; 375(9713): 445. Accessed 01/25/2018.

    Just to finish, I consider myself a “Gnostic Atheist” 🙂

  6. says

    Another topic I’ve been willing to comment for sometime now.
    I am a foreign born American, I live here with my family for about 20 years.
    I came from Brazil, the largest catholic country in the world by far. Catholicism in Brazil is not even close to the US version.
    Anyway, very religious family, my Mother an Italian immigrant, my father a version of what would be a Southern family in the 18th century here.
    When I left, about 97% of the population was Catholic. Today there is an evangelical contamination that started possibly around that time that make them about 19% of the population, so behavior is changing, these people are radical and fundamentalist.
    My point is, it blows my mind when I hear callers talking about “when I came out as atheist”, and all the drama that we hear on a weekly basis.
    In Brazil, back then, the worse that could happen would be either a family member make fun of you, being condescending (like happened a lot to me) or your Aunt (whomever) would come and say “grandma is really sad with you”. That was the worse. You can say till today whatever you believe, whatever religion you have or don’t have.
    Again. evangelicals are making things complicated, they have even acquired public broadcasting channels (TV, radio) and do things like kicking Saints and other stuff.

    Just to finish, I never had a religion or a belief. My family baptized me, confirmed me and something else, but I was a pain. After my father died when I was around 7, my mother would force me to Sunday Mass. BEAUTIFUL church, my attention to the centuries old art was they depicted the apocryphal gospels like BEAUTIFUL afrescos of the Ascension of Mary, 12 year old Jesus making clay birds to become real, among others. I would burn the house down literally. i would “draft” other kids and go to the fountains outside to play hide and seek. It was funny, 20 min for my mother come like the devil saying the priest had to stop the mass because of the mess 🙂
    She decided to take me to the main Cathedral (an architectural dream). Got even worse because it had hidden spaces, secret rooms, etc. She gave up.

    My kids had contact with religion only when one or other kid mentioned. They were never even curious. Today one of the Twins (13yo) who is science career bound (the older boys are in Engineering undergrad and the other Twin will be the best salesman out there for sure 🙂 ) he talks about religion in historic scope (he is crazy about Coding and Historical Anthropology, makes sens, right?)

    Cheers, love love love love the show

  7. Yaro Kasear says

    Unless I’m mistaken, we CAN observe “macroevolution” (I don’t think that’s an actual term biologists use, granted I’m not a biologist myself.) since we have seen speciation under lab conditions for bacteria and some plant species.

  8. says

    Forgot bullet #6 in my list above:

    (6) Dark Matter – Dark Matter comprises approx. 25% of our instance of the Cosmos, being “atom made” matter about 5% and the remaining 70% composed of Dark Energy.
    The thing in sciences is not about what a primitive human sense can see or feel, it is about how science hypothesize, theorizes, test, predict and prove something is what it is.
    Dark matter we can see its effect, we can see it’s Halo around other Galaxies and we can demonstrate its existence by the effects in the Universe, like, for example, the speed Galaxies rotate and how their rotation speed is uniform closer to the center and at the periphery.
    Dark Energy is – in a nutshell – responsible for the continuous acceleration of the expansion of the Universe. The names don’t help because instead of paying attention to what it is and what it does, people get stuck to whatever name (Big Bang, Dark Energy) is given. Anyhow, about 6-7 billion years ago Dark Energy offset all the gravity in the Universe (from atom and dark matter) and instead of shrinking because of gravity the Universe gained a lot of acceleration because of Dark Energy.
    Today our Universe is accelerating faster than speed of light and in about 2 billion years it will not be possible to be aware of the Big Bang anymore for an hypothetical civilization.

  9. says

    @Yaro Kasear – the thing here is directed to evolutionists.
    First, the cases they claim they do not see a cow giving birth to a lion … (it hurts but it is what they say) and the softer ones claim they have never seen one species giving birth to another. A silly example (silly, not stupid like the above) would be something like they claim they do not see a Lioness giving birth to a tiger.

  10. says

    one fundamental hurdle holding back fundies is a misconception about how new traits develop. creationists and other doubters think that under evolution animals somehow know or figure out which traits to adapt. trees are tall, horses need their necks to grow and — badaboom — giraffes! laughable of course, and doubters are right to be incredulous of this straw man.

    but evolution is an process of elimination. the evironment takes a turn, and any individuals in a population lucky enough to already possess the crucial trait(s) survive and multiply while the rest wither or die out completely. a bug-killer may kill 99% of its victims, but the surviving 1% will spawn a hardy new generation (provided of course that the trait is inheritable) because of some formerly inconsequential difference from their less fortunate kin.

    two men are enjoying a pleasant stroll through a forest. suddenly they see a bear in the distance, running towards them. the first turns to run away, but the other takes a pair of running shoes from his bag, and puts them on.

    “wtf are you doing?” says the first man. “you think those will make you faster than a bear?”

    “i don’t have to be faster than the bear,” says the other. “i just have to be faster than you.”

  11. DrC says

    Claire …

    Proxima Centauri … is not a planet, it is a star or collection of stars depending on how you wish to view it.

    Proxima Centauri is not 12 light years away, it is 4.2 light years away.

    Faced with the constant stupid attempts by theists to always cast doubt on science when it does not fit their view, we must try to get such details correct if we know them … I think.

  12. DrC says

    Michael – San Antonio
    Michael is in my view, deceitful – he feels that he has knowledge of science or scientific ideas (through study or by reading the literature) but initiates his discussion by seeming to almost be apologetic in asking or putting forward his ideas … but I believe he has full and defined motives to lay verbal traps … he is NOT honest.

    His argument is to question the scientific method and as most theists do, he then continues to ignore what is said, rephrase the comments and throw in his own comment to turn the discussion in the way he wants it to go, but in a dishonest way. This was wonderfully shown when Jen pulled him up about his comment that we have ‘faith’ in the science … scientists do not have faith in science … we use it because it works and is our best method … etc, etc.

    In honest, people like Michael are both transparent and frankly … boring … nieve and boring!

  13. hermes says

    When Claire sais “Proxima Centauri” she probably refers to Proxima Centauri B, where the label “B” defines the planet in the Proxima Centauri solar system. As DrC said, its just 4.2 light years away. The argument remains the same though, as she was talking about the huge difference between traveling to mars and traveling to exoplanets.

    Just for giving some more detailed info: We currently know of 3838 exoplanets in our galaxy. These are the confirmed ones. 97 of them are within a radius of 13 light years from our Sun. And of those 97, 9 are considered “potentially habitable” which means that the distance from the planet to its sun is enough to have liquid water on it. But we don’t know yet enough about their composition or their atmosphere to confirm they are really habitable.

    You can check updated info in the NASA exoplanet archive:

    By the way, thanks to the hosts and the staff of AxP for their wonderful job.

  14. says

    @Paulo Leocadio:

    … in about 2 billion years it will not be possible to be aware of the Big Bang anymore for an hypothetical civilization.

    according to current extrapolations, billions of years from now, the rest of the universe will have expanded outside the visible range of any hypothetical civilization on a planet in a hypothetical solar system. no stars, nebulae, galaxies or other such bodies will inhabit their sky. all they’ll have to gaze upon will be just their sun and any moons, fellow planets, asteroids, comets or other such bodies bound to the system. all else will be immeasurable blackness.

    ironically, this hypothetical civilization will have better reasons to believe in special creation. they will conclude that their system had a beginning and somehow emerged out of the sheer emptiness around them. today’s creationists have always had a problem explaining away the sheer magnitude of the universe with its billions of stars and galaxies; god is merely showing us his power, so they claim.

    but the creationists of the far future won’t have those pesky stars around to trip them up, because their universe will appear exactly as it should, if everything really were made entirely for them.

  15. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @aarrgghh #17:

    no stars, nebulae, galaxies or other such bodies will inhabit their sky

    Article: Future of an expanding universe

    The Andromeda Galaxy is currently approximately 2.5 million light years away from our galaxy, the Milky Way Galaxy, and they are moving towards each other at approximately 300 kilometers (186 miles) per second. Approximately five billion years from now, or 19 billion years after the Big Bang, the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy will collide with one another and merge into one large galaxy based on current evidence.
    The galaxies in the Local Group, the cluster of galaxies which includes the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy, are gravitationally bound to each other. It is expected that between 10^11 (100 billion) and 10^12 (1 trillion) years from now, their orbits will decay and the entire Local Group will merge into one large galaxy.
    Assuming that dark energy continues to make the universe expand at an accelerating rate, in about 150 billion years all galaxies outside the Local Supercluster will pass behind the cosmological horizon. It will then be impossible for events in the Local Group to affect other galaxies. Similarly it will be impossible for events after 150 billion years, as seen by observers in distant galaxies, to affect events in the Local Group.
    However, an observer in the Local Supercluster will continue to see distant galaxies, but events they observe will become exponentially more time dilated (and red shifted) as the galaxy approaches the horizon until time in the distant galaxy seems to stop. The observer in the Local Supercluster never actually sees the distant galaxy pass beyond the horizon and never observes events after 150 billion years in their local time. Therefore, after 150 billion years intergalactic transportation and communication beyond the Local Supercluster becomes causally impossible.
    2×10^12 (2 trillion) years from now, all galaxies outside the Local Supercluster will be red-shifted to such an extent that even gamma rays they emit will have wavelengths longer than the size of the observable universe of the time. Therefore, these galaxies will no longer be detectable in any way.

  16. jacobfromlost says

    Jen mentioned religion aggravating mental health problems, and I think this isn’t pointed out enough. Sometimes I wonder if I was raised in an extended family that was very well off and religious, I may have been more prone to religious indoctrination. But no one in my extended family was anything higher than lower middle class, and it was obvious to me from a young age that both education and mental health played a major role in keeping people dysfunctional in everything from money to relationships. My paternal grandmother had a lifelong problem with alcoholism (her parents only had grade school educations, and used to laugh about how when she was two, she would get to liquor on the kitchen table and drink until she passed out). Later in life she replaced the alcohol with religion and the “12 step” stuff. The deep, deep dysfunction of it all was plain to me from a very young age. (My maternal grandmother was far more functional, but also very Catholic…so had 11 children and spent her entire life dirt poor and desperate to take care of them, sometimes failing, and creating a cycle of poverty in most of them well into adulthood. There was always tension between my grandmothers because dad’s was Baptist and mom’s was Catholic.)

    Now I’m trying to reconnect with a cousin who has been dirt poor his entire life. I remember when we were kids that they had a Jesus light switch cover in their hallway, and he used to kiss that light switch cover every time he turned the light on and off. I was only 6 or 7 at the time (I’m now 44), so he had to have been 14 or 15 years old. But even at my age then, I recognized that as very odd. He was married and divorced years ago, and through family I heard his wife had a miscarriage and he told her it was her fault for not eating enough vegetables (thus the divorce). Now he says (quite often) the only child he had “died”, which I know comes directly from the whole “life at conception” stuff he’s gotten a church his entire life. (Not that it wouldn’t be traumatic otherwise, but it seemed so traumatic for him that he had to blame his wife and to this day says quite often, “My only child died”.) Some years after that he had tons of cats (yes, he was one of those people, apparently to replace the child). He has no animals now, but a few weeks ago he told me one cat he had had seven litters of kittens because he couldn’t afford to have her spayed. When he told me that as if it was a perfectly normal thing to say, and seemed to make sense to him, I realized his mental health may have been even worse than I thought.

    He had a heart problem and bypass surgery a few years ago, but avoided a heart attack. He keeps saying it was all because of Jesus. He’s diabetic and is supposed to be watching what he eats, but he also says he weighs more now than ever in his life. (I think he often gives his diet “over to Jesus”.) He lives alone in a one room attic apartment he rents from his employer, who takes the rent directly out of his check. He only earns minimum wage, says he only gets 26 hours a week if he is lucky, has two cars that don’t run, his driver’s license lapsed years ago (he had a social worker get him a drivers manual almost a year ago but has yet to read it), and he keeps saying he’s going to get a new job…but never does. He doesn’t even do anything that would be an ATTEMPT at a new job. Sometimes he says he would like to be an Elvis impersonator, and other times he says he is going to get some painting supplies to paint pictures for a living, but he has no money for supplies and no room in his apartment to do it. He also blames his finances on our town, so says he is going to move to another town. But doesn’t.

    But he goes to church every Sunday. I want to help him, but everything I can think to do his 3 siblings have already tried years ago (one or both of the cars they got for him, but now they don’t run; they got him at least one good job, and he quit almost immediately). He keeps saying he feels great now after his bypass, so he won’t have to retire and can work into his 80s. The thing is, he works at a comic book store. That’s where he has worked for years. I don’t see him working at a comic book store into his 80s. Anyway, that’s not even half the story, but whatever problems there are there, religion is either making it worse or blocking any real hope at improvement.

  17. Murat says

    Was this particular clip ever brought up on the show or on the blog?
    Amazingly, during the spontaneity of just a few minutes, the dialogue touches on a huge deal of the cricital aspects of theism, rationalism and the dynamics between them:

  18. jacobfromlost says

    Murat: Interesting clip. I watched another with the same woman where the doctor catches her in a lie about eating pizza and hamburgers in the hospital, and the boyfriend/husband jumps in to lie also (he was smuggling the food in). She kept claiming she wasn’t losing weight because of “water weight”. I noticed in that clip that the doctor used the Socratic method to try to force her to be rational, and he was unrelenting (I’ve read about “Cognitive Restructuring” using this method He forced her to acknowledge that the way you lose weight is by eating less. She didn’t lose any weight. She therefore was not eating less. All the tests showed she was not retaining water weight. She didn’t seem to actually acknowledge what he was saying, but she did start crying.

    I wish there was a more intentional way to promote critical thinking in regards to our own mental health. I’m a high school teacher, and we are very good with lessons applying critical thinking to content–but not so much in regard to our own thinking inwardly. I know a few teachers who use “mindfulness” meditation to help their students calm down and focus. (Basically 2-5 minutes focusing on breathing and centering yourself before beginning class.) By all accounts it has been very successful for students who very much need it, but there are plenty of teachers who object on religious grounds, even though what the teachers are doing has no religious content at all. Again, it seems that religion is fighting AGAINST emotional and mental health. (My cousin I mentioned above says he reads the bible daily, and he does much better when he does this. What I was thinking was 1) reading anything tends to be a calming activity whatever it is you are reading–which may explain his interest in comic books all these years–, and 2) if your life now is a result of reading the bible daily, I’m not sure that is such a good result. I certainly wouldn’t call it magical or miraculous.)

  19. Murat says

    Thanks for the top notch reply!
    Some months ago, I was about to get dangerously overweight. So, bought a treadmill and placed it in front of the TV. The first few weeks were the hardest as I had to first get rid of the excess fat. Later, I knew it would get easier both because the in-room exercise was going to bacome part of my routine, and because running was to become more enjoyable as I got closer to my ideal weight.
    Much as I preferred watching re-runs of Fringe, The Mentalist, etc. while on the treadmill, on one channel I was coming across this show. And I noticed that, the wake up call it provided was propably among the reasons I went out and bought the treadmill in the first place. Normally I am very critical of “reality TV”, and pretty much against anything and anyone that it helped establish in our cultural and political reality. But I thought the show was “functional” for me, not only because I was getting kinda spooked and triggered at the sight of extremely overweight people, but also and more importantly because witnessing their behavior and the reasons behind it were slaps on my face whenever I tended to cheat on myself by avoiding the treadmill.
    We all resort to some kind of not-so-credible explanation when the obvious truth seems to be too cruel on us. This can be acceptable to a certain degree, and maybe can even help us reconcile temporarily. But the defense mechanism of the patient in this particular example is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
    While watching this, I wanted to give her and her BF the benefit of a doubt. What if the fast food was really consumed by the BF? What if she really was avoiding what she now knew was dangerous? What if Dr. Nowzaradan was just being lazy in his way of reasoning and not diagnosing a very rare condition with this particular patient?
    In the end, it is the very own attitude of the patient that makes us see this is hardly the case: If she really was doing her best and believed some other measures were necessary, then why did she come up with questioning the beliefs of the doctor just out of the blue?
    Also very remarkable that the doctor refuses to reply, making the point that the question is totally irrelevant with her situation. But later in the coversation, maybe because he begins to think that intervening in her thought process could also help the patient, he says he indeed does believe in God, but not the kind of God that performs magic despite people’s very own refusal to help themselves.
    Considering the doctor was being honest at that point with regards to his own belief system, the clip show us also how very dramatically different two theists can be in their relationship with what they perceive as “reality”. One uses God as an excuse for what she in fact needs to overcome, while the other knows to draw a line between his very own responsibilities and the vaguely defined agency of the deity.
    I know that, most of the time, producers and directors for such shows deliberately scratch on stuff that would help attract the viewer. In this example, though, I got the feeling that the patient created the awkwardness of the situation on her own.
    What the BF is trying to accomplish (either by lying to the doctor, or by eating pizza in front of the patient who is supposed to stick to a diet) is also weird and highly questionable.
    Later in the episode, the patient talks to some kinda consultant, a woman to whom she talkes about the two molestation and rape incidents she had experienced as a child and as a young woman. That part sounds like she has an “excuse” to bring God up randomly, for she attributes not the horrors, but her recovery from them, to God. She apologizes indirectly to the doctor, makes an attempt to continue on with the program, but as briefly shown later, then totally quits and blocks calls from the institution.
    We, the people following such blogs, are naturally accustomed to various aspects of such discussions. But this particular episode of that show had had a different effect on me because the focus was supposed to be kind of a “given” (as was with other episodes) but was switched inevitably due to the underlying thought process of the patient in question.
    “Cognitive restructuring”, as brought up by you, seems like a very solid and good explanation to such situations.

  20. jacobfromlost says

    “But later in the conversation, maybe because he begins to think that intervening in her thought process could also help the patient, he says he indeed does believe in God, but not the kind of God that performs magic despite people’s very own refusal to help themselves.”

    This is what gets me, though. He tells her if she jumps off the roof, god’s hand is not going to come down and catch her. She says, oh yes he will! (Which makes one wonder why she needs the doctor’s help at all. God will just stop her from dying of obesity. So deep down somewhere she knows he’s right and she’s wrong, or why is she still talking to him?) This is the same kind of thinking my cousin has. Not ALL the time, but enough of the time to be a problem. He avoids diet drinks because of the phosphates, which apparently are a risk factor in heart problems (in my presence he drinks water or other no sugar drinks–although he did drink a pumpkin shake last weekend). But he still eats fried foods, bacon burgers, pepperoni pizza, and sometimes pie and cake at church, and who-knows-what-else (I haven’t looked up the numbers, but I’m pretty sure they are bigger risk factors in heart disease than diet coke). We only meet up on Sunday afternoons, and I’ve seen him eat (or buy to eat) all the stuff I listed above. Any time he gets to a point where it seems too hard for him to do something psychologically, he says he “puts it in Jesus’s hands.” Well Jesus isn’t the one eating that bacon burger and that cake! It’s just an easy way to say magic will take care of me when I can’t take care of my own problems. (He also says people at church give him jams and things, and he tells them he’s diabetic, but they give it to him anyway. He’s also told me he eats cake and pie at church. I have no doubt the free food is part of the allure of church…at least, when I went to Sunday school nearly 40 years ago, all the kids in my class were far more focused on the donuts and the hot chocolate than the lessons. I focused on the lessons, trying to find the sense in them. I never did.)

    My cousin recently stopped going to his endocrinologist for his diabetes because he said the guy might be smart, but he’s too arrogant, thinks my cousin is lying about what he eats, etc. My guess is the doctor aggressively used the Socratic method (or cognitive restructuring) on him, and he couldn’t wiggle out of it. My cousin often just says things that are somewhat confessional (like telling me last weekend he drank a small pumpkin shake), but then couches it in all the other things he’s supposed to be doing. A few months ago he said he weighs more now than he ever has. That was a red flag for me that he isn’t eating the way he supposed to be eating…but I’m no expert. Then a couple months after that he said he wasn’t going to his endocrinologist anymore, lol. So apparently the expert was thinking the same thing I was thinking. He apparently is going to get another one, but I doubt they will tell him anything differently. It made me think of the clip you posted when she says that there are other doctors out there, lol, as if that’s a threat TO HIM, as if he’ll run out of obese people to help if she goes somewhere else to find a doctor who says she’s 700 pounds of water weight. (My cousin is around 250. I don’t know how tall he is, but he’s shorter than I am and I’m 5’8″.)

  21. Murat says

    Arguably, the worst contribution of the USA to the world is the American way of producing and consuming edible stuff.
    I’m saying “edible stuff” and not “food”, because I believe there to be a critical difference between the two.
    There also are people who have some genetical disorders that do not allow them to lose weight even if they try to, but, even most of such diseases are in some way related to the way human body and its needs are being perceived popularly and on an industrial level.
    I wonder if the belief systems of people could show significant difference with regards to the the percentages of develping obesity. Given that how we deal with our bodies has a lot to do with how we reason things out and how we apply our “free will”, if you will, then, a correalation would not be surprising.

  22. Murat says

    One other thing that I’d like to know if was ever talked about on the show is this movie below.
    I saw it only months ago, on NetFlix (or some other such platform, as I recall). The first half hour or so felt weird and out of tune, but then I realized what Alex Proyas was doing, and changed my perception as I kept watching, which made me enjoy it thoroughly.
    He was not trying to convince us, the modern day audience, about anything going on. What he was narrating was the religion of Ancient Egypt, untouched, with “reality” the way the people at that time believed it to be like. Raw, unfiltered, direct adaptation. And later, I wondered how cool it would be if he went on to treat more popular, surviving religions with the same approach. No “putting into context” the way Aronofsky did with his Noah, no glorification or clean-ups like Wyler used in his Ben-Hur.
    I wonder if anyone else on here also watched it and what they think of the portrayal of belief systems in this one.

  23. jacobfromlost says

    I loved Proyas’s “Dark City”. Roger Ebert even did the DVD commentary on it (he picked it for best film of the year). I wanted to see “God’s of Egypt”, but the reviews seemed bad. I’ll check it out now that you recommend it.

    I’ve recently gotten back to the “Wild Wild Country” documentary on Netflix. I watched the first episode a while ago and thought I pretty much knew where it was going. Then others I respect were touting it, so I went back to it. It was much more compelling than I expected, and I was completely unaware that Christopher Hitchens was involved in a film documentary on the cult at that time (clips of which are included in the Netflix doc). So many connections to so many things I find interesting–and I found more than one connection to the political leadership of today. I don’t know why I’m surprised certain patterns in human behavior and hierarchies that are identified surface again and again in organizations/governments/religions big and small. (And if Hitchens studied this cult carefully, it seems to exemplify everything he hated about religion, belief in the supernatural, and the “sadomasochistic desire to be a slave” that he always railed against.) More than anything, it makes it understandable how some people (even people like myself) might fall victim to such a thing–and how the members of the cult were blind to obvious things that religious people are generally blind to.

  24. Murat says

    Now that The Atheist Experience is acting more like a network with various shows focusing on different areas of interest, I wish and think they can also support something like “Going to the Movies With a Skeptic”. A show to focus on the world of entertainment from a secular perspective, grading movies, TV shows, games and comics more in the light of how they deal with the issue of belief. For they have followers from all around the world, probable contributions in this sense could also attract the attention of English-speaking audience to lesser known pieces of work that have such tones. While, of course, providing Russell Glasser loads of air time to talk about Rick and Morty.

  25. says

    Humans form a ring species with chimps. Its just that a middle bit of the ring (our common ancestors) has died out. Same for humans and piranha. Or humans and modern species X.

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