The new Minnesota Atheists radio show was very good — they’re going to have a hard time topping getting a heavy-hitter like Richard Dawkins next week (well, maybe not: next week they’re talking about sex), but they’ve clearly got no shortage of material to talk about. My segment was cut a bit short, but it was my own fault — my usual wordy exposition needs refinement.

Dawkins was great, and give a clearer explanation of Sam Harris’s point about not calling ourselves atheists than Harris has; he also talked about his experience with the movie, Expelled.

If you missed it, it will be available as a podcast on the Minnesota Atheists site. I noticed a lot of foreigners, people from California, of all places, calling in — so presumably many of you can catch the program regularly.


  1. says

    Sigh. Yes. I called, from Kali-forn-ya. I’m afraid that I was very nervous to actually hear that voice on the other end of the line and I didn’t really have much to offer. In fact, I’m kind of embarrassed. It’s not like me to be tongue-tied and awkward, and I probably shouldn’t have tried to elicit an anecdote about Dr. Dawkins’ cruise with Kristine, it was kind of the first thing that popped into my mind.

    Anyway, I’ll blog about it later.

  2. says

    I’d like to hear Dawkins’s explanation of Harris’s point. It always seemed like a wasted effort to me: when the creationists are willing to call me things that I’m not — communist or Nazi, take your pick — or things which are inaccurate and misleading — “Darwinist” — I can’t imagine it matters too much what I call myself.

  3. AllanW says

    LOL at #1

    Without being too hard on you (unlike my wife who thought you sounded like a fifteen year-old on their first date) it was good to hear friendly if hesitant voices on topics of interest.

    Whether you agree with it or not I thought Dawkins’ explication of the points Harris made was clear and useful. A good example of a thoughtful scientist trying to make a complete understanding of a point and then quietly but firmly putting another point of view across. Intelligent talk radio IMO.

  4. Casey says

    “Dawkins was great, and give a clearer explanation of Sam Harris’s point about not calling ourselves atheists…”

    I know I should just listen to the radio show, but uh, why exactly shouldn’t we be calling ourselves atheists?

  5. SteadyEddy says

    Great show! I like that it airs on Sunday mornings. Maybe some deluded children will get divine reception as their communion cups tink against their braces? PZ- I think your segment should be renamed “Great Moments in Science”, thereby justifying more time.

  6. waldteufel says

    Great program. Unfortunately, I was only able to catch the last half. Minnesota Atheists have put out some very nice video podcasts, and I’m glad to see this new addition to their work.

    Thanks for the “heads up”.

  7. Todd says

    I take it the podcast will be available in the future, but isn’t there yet. The cult and Avalos podcasts sound interesting. I’ll listen to those while I wait ever so patiently for Our Great Leader’s interview.

  8. says

    I just watched the video of Avalos’s lecture. It was very good. The chapter on biblical archaeology was, I’d say, the toughest material in The End of Biblical Studies (2007), so having an easier overview of that is a nice thing.

  9. Dizzlski says

    The radio show certainly showed it was new. The content was hit and miss: the history portion was unbearably sleep inducing; they seemed to have no control over when the breaks came; the music going in and out was bad and annoying; some of the calls could have used a better screener. All in all though, it is nice to have this on the air. I look forward to more.

  10. says

    The podcast should be up on Monday evening. We’re at the whim of the engineer of the station, but will get it up ASAP. Keep the criticism coming. The show isn’t going away, so it will either suck for a long time, or get better. I hope for the latter.

  11. Ichthyic says

    PZ, Have you seen this guy?

    yes, that’s the idiot Joe G who often posts on Uncommonly Dense.

    I think he was voted “grandest idiot” or somesuch on the forum for PT last year.

    PZ need not bother, unless he’s really bored.

  12. rishy says

    Hey Truth Machine (re: #12, #14),

    I was not trolling that site here. I am a life-long atheist. My science background, is, well, lacking. The guys trying to refute the nonsense (I assume it’s nonsense) on the website I “troll[ed] here” seem to be faltering. I just thought PZ, who I learned about from the Beyond Belief series, or others here would be able to take this guy apart.

    Sorry to cause dander-rousing!

  13. says

    I know I should just listen to the radio show, but uh, why exactly shouldn’t we be calling ourselves atheists?

    Casey, for some background, go to and click on Sam Harris’s presentation at the Atheist Alliance International Convention. Controversial and thought-provoking.

    I can’t imagine Scott was half as nervous as I was. But I do wish I could have come up with an anecdote – I did post some funny stories about the trip at people’s blogs. Let’s see if I can track them down. (You know, there were 80 of us on that ship – plenty of stories!)

    It’s not your fault that we had to cut you off, PZ. We would have liked to listen to you longer. But a commercial break is a commercial break. It was a learning experience!

  14. AllanW says

    Re; comment #18

    Congratulations Kristine for getting the programme up and running. Don’t be at all downhearted by a few posts here pointing out the obvious quality issues; we are all supportive. I look forward to the next few programmes as I’m sure you’ll go from strength to strength.

    If you need a ‘phonecall from the UK at any time let me know!

  15. SEF says

    I did post some funny stories about the trip

    Assuming I’ve got the right trip, this (via PZ’s link) was the item I found amusing.