Science of Watchmen » « What’s the matter with Forbes? Into the whiny little mouse’s den I don’t know how he can abide them, but August Berkshire of Minnesota Atheists will be appearing on KKMS talk radio, the Twin Cities refuge for fundagelical reality-deniers. Listen in at 5pm Central (in about two hours), if you can bear it. I can’t. Share this:PrintEmailShare on TumblrTweet Science of Watchmen » « What’s the matter with Forbes?
Greg Laden says
August has the patience of a saint.
I’m going to wish him all the luck, he deserves it, he’s such a nice fellow.
The station is another bunch of intellectually dishonest kkoks and wingnuts and it will be a dialogue with the deaf. We know their tired arguements and AUgust will merely waist his breath.
Let’s hope they offered MN Athiests $10K for him to appears ;-)
Bride of Shrek OM says
Not those Jeff & Lee wankers again.
Given their arguments are so transparently lame it normally wouldn’t be hard to win any form of debate against thembut throw in their dishonesty and disingenous comments and it can make it harder than expected. Good luck August ( who by the way has the coolest name on the planet which could only be rendered more auspicious by being knighted and having a “Sir” put in front of it).
I listen to them on my way home from work sometimes when I feel like I need to raise my blood pressure a bit. Mostly it is just low-grade “We know the real answers, so if you disagree with us, you’re just wrong.” Of course, they will say it as nicely and condescendingly as possible, you poor misguided creature.
Welcome to Minnesota, the Passive-Aggressive StateTM
KKMS: Kooky Kouple Misunderstands Science!
Oddly enough, speaking of whiny little mice, I just came across this gem from the creator of “Faith Mouse”:
I have no idea how much it went for on e-bay, if it even sold at all. Apparently he notice the Faithmole/Faith Mouse post:
The post itself can’t be linked to directly but it’s at the bottom, one of his 11/2/08 entries, if anyone wants to see where this came from.
My clock radio alarm clock somehow got set to wake me up with KKMS in the morning. Due to poor UI design on the clock, it’s not obvious how to fix this, but I decided it’s probably good for me, as I get up *right away* and am not even tempted to laze in bed listening to the radio.
I am concerned about the long-term consequences, however.
You’re clearly still sore about the debate fiasco last year.
Well OK then – here we go….
I’m listening now to KKMS talk about biblical prophecy (wars, rumors of wars, pestilence, etc.) and it’s rotting my brain. Apparently, their view of American foreign policy in the Middle East ought to be guided by the ramblings in Revelations. They want us to bring about a battle that will result in a nuclear holocaust over Jerusalem. This, it seems, will usher in the second coming of Christ. Yikes!
People who advocate genocide freak me out.
I wonder what moderate, secular Israelis feel when they hear nutjobs like KKMS talk about “supporting” Israel so as to bring about a Final Battle. I’m not sure I’d want ‘friends’ like that.
Rey Fox says
So this isn’t about Casey Luskin?
I wonder how long before Jeff & Lee bring up Hitler and/or Stalin.
I love it! Humanity has gotten “nicer” in the past 2000 years. Wow.
Dan Lacey says
Since you’re clueless Mena that I pretty much abandoned the evangelical theme of Faithmouse starting a few years ago, let me take this opportunity to link directly to my Ebay auctions, for anyone who look like to purchase an original oil painting-
Most oils start at $50 for a 4 by 6 inch canvas. An 8 by 10 one figure runs $100, with or without a pancake. A ‘Barack Obama nude on a unicorn’ starts at $200, although I’ve auctioned them online as high as $600; please contact me for an estimate.
PZ got a shout out.
Riman Butterbur says
The guy called PZ a liar.
PZ you got mention for being a liar.
Who called PZ a liar?
Wait, we’re NOT having a war? What am I gonna do with all this ammo now?
I wouldn’t go as far as declaring a war against Christians, but couldn’t we at least feed a few to the lions?
Son of a preacher amn says
I have a training camp for militant atheists. We have monkey bars and books. Be afraid… be very afraid…
In case there won’t be a downloadable file on the KKMS website or something,
here’s a direct stream dump.
August just doesn’t speak fast enough.
Tom Coward says
Listened to the whooooole thing! I came away with two hypotheses: Christians REALLY don’t understand their own religion, and PZ is a liar. (Actually, there was plenty of proof for the first hypothesis, and absolutey none for the second. So, PZ is cleared of all charges.)
I must now go soak my brain in a nice dry martitni before it is to late!
I appreciate August’s effort, but what a waste of time.
1) There just isn’t enough time with all the different breaks in the broadcast for advertisements and shouts out to Jesus.
2) All the time in the world wouldn’t help with those two ignorant hosts.
3) Well the one mouthy host who rambles on for sentences without making a coherent is the mouthier of the two.
4) The usual listener base is a bunch of idiots. “Well, pretend I’m an atheist and I like to steal cars!” Seriously?!
Patricia, OM says
That jerk called PZ a liar over that bait and switch program he was on. Grrr! That made me furious.
August was way too nice for my taste.
The Biologista says
What do they claim PZ lied about?
Dan Lacey @14:
I’m clueless? LOL!!! I haven’t seen (with damn good reason) Faith Mouse since Comic Sherpa days. It was always a “1”. BTW, did you find this site by googling yourself? That’s kinda sad. Unless, of course it was through Bill Donahue’s crazed press releases. That’s even sadder. Saddest would be spamming a blog with your e-bay sales.
The Fundies played a clip of PZ calling the fundies – ”sleezebags and liars.”
I’m sure the comment was taken out of context, but even it was not… I think these guys are at the very least misleading the public with ignorant questions like this;
Fundies to August the Atheist – Are the whales that beach themselves trying to evolve back to land animals?
I do have to give them some credit for at least letting the August the Atheist speak openly on Christian radio. That’s pretty amazing and proves that we are winning this war of ideas. The fundies are feeling the pressure and must think they have to deal with us directly now…
I listened to about 5 minutes while driving to Cub during a work break. They said Jesus is important because he combined four things at the cross: good, evil, justice and forgiveness and this hasn’t been done either before or since. Jesus also overcame Satan.
My thought: to be a theist you have to believe not only in God, but also in a whole host of demons, devils, satan, lucifer, and angels. I guess good has to have some evil to conquer.
There was the usual “moral relativism” mention.
The discussion about a stolen car was actually about forgiveness. August suggested that if the thief pays for a better car and accepts a year in prison, does forgiveness (granted or not) really matter.
August also mentioned that the god of the old testament is probably the meanest (or was it cruelest) person in all of literature. He didn’t have time to elaborate (or I missed it) but I am sure he is refering to the flood, Sodom, Gomorrah, some guy swallowed by a whale, etc.
(Personally, I think god had bad aim, accidentally missed Sodom first and hit Gomorrah. I mean, the angels were visiting Sodom? Right? I am positive God said, “Oops! Oh, SHIT!”)
After all this discussion on what a bad ass the old testament God was, I began to wonder if he has some “moral relativism” issues.
Lastly, the debate was more of a discussion. The tone was friendly even if this show is annoying.
Patricia, OM says
I have a hard time getting the radio thingy to work on that site, so I missed the clip of PZ calling the fundies liars and sleezebags. That’s not a lie, it’s an observation of fundie behavior.
By the time I got tuned in the hosts were calling PZ a liar about the debate program he was on, which is posted on YouTube. He didn’t lie about it.
Coincidentally appropriate quote:
That’s how Jeff and Lee will feel after this done.
Paul Murray says
Yeah, that’s what did it for me, finally. Oh, there was a bunch of other stuff too, but it was the angels and demons that I realised I just could not belive.
As for moral relativism: we all agree that drowning puppies is wrong, ok? And drowning babies is wronger. Sending a great flood to slay all that liveth and breatheth on the face of the earth would be an act of breathtaking wickedness, surpassing the holocaust, if you or I were to do it. So what makes it ok if it’s God doing it?
Never mind torturing people in a firey pit of fire for ever and ever out of sheer spite.
Crystal D. says
August does have amazing patience. When he speaks to groups, his control is amazing. I don’t know exactly how he does it, but I’m trying to master the atheist zen from him by watching him. :)
this is off topic, but i was doing some research for a religion class and found this
“Biology professor P.Z. Myers at the University of Minnesota, for example, has called for “the public firing and humiliation of some teachers” because they question Darwin.”
i guess the discovery institute doesn’t like you very much :)
Welcome to Minnesota, the Passive-Aggressive State™
It’s not nice, it’s Minnesota Nice.
Bob Carroll says
I’m not an atheist (so what *am* I doing here…) and when people ask me about hell, and demons and angels, I simply reply that I prefer monotheism.
Dr Benway says
Heads with pancakes on them? Genius!
Reminds me of stuffonmycat.com
Intelligent Designer says
Obama speech starting now.
Not that Louis says
I caught part of it on the way home. I think I heard Jeff and/or Lee respond to several of August’s points by saying something like, “We’ve discussed this before and I really don’t want to go down that road right now.” August handled it all just right. In a very gentle, patient manner he effectively demolished every argument. And as effective as his arguments were, his manner may have been even more so. I suspect there was some young person in the audience who had the beginnings of some questions about his or her Christianity. He or she sat up and said, “Wait, this August sounds like a really nice guy and the God I worship says he has to go to hell!” And in WTF moments like that, there is the potential for enlightenment.
August Berkshire says
“Not that Louis” has posted one of the most insightful comments ever about why I operate the way I do. Although they don’t realize it, religious people believe what they do for emotional reasons. I am trying to convert people emotionally. And just as the “facts” of religion follow the emotional experience, I’m hoping the real facts about atheism follow from a pleasant emotional experience. Christians have been told that if you follow your doubts you will end up with a depressing, meaningless, unethical life. I’m there to offer living proof to the contrary.
Jeff tried to argue that people “in general” have been kinder since the teachings of Jesus began to propagate. August tried to mention Christian holy wars, to which Jeff replied, “yes, but I’m talking about in general.” I guess “in general” is code for “I’m going to completely disregard your refutation of my point.”
Patricia, OM says
August – Pleasant emotional experience?! Are you nuts? I was a good church lady for fifty years, a snake kissin fundie. Wrong approach. What part of burn in hell don’t you get?
These people take your kindness as ass kissing guilt, yeah, I’m hard core, because it takes one to know one.
I urge you to think again August. Have the religious ever given the non-believer mercy? Do they give it now?
“Jeff tried to argue that people “in general” have been kinder since the teachings of Jesus began to propagate.”
Well, people have also “in general” been nicer since the writings of Homer. I guess we should all go back to worshiping the Greek gods. What a completely stupid argument. Do they even think about these things before they say them?
Alex R. says
I love that August answers all their questions so well, but they constantly blew off all of his questions saying they didn’t have enough time or that they had discussed it before.
I disagree with Patricia (#43). The initial cognitive dissonance that eventually resulted in my atheism (or agnosticism or whatever) resulted from knowing that my favourite grandmother was an atheist. I think August’s approach is dead-on. Theists need to see living, breathing, caring, human counter-examples to all the silly bunk they’ve been fed about what atheists are like.
Also, no: I don’t think August speaks too slowly. The genuine calm in his voice is wonderful to hear. It’s the voice of reason itself. ;-)
Dr Benway says
Yeah, that’s the exact observation that did it for me. There was an English teacher I admired who was a Mormon*, and a friend’s father who was great to talk with who happened to be an agnostic. Both seemed so kind, smart, and honest, I couldn’t believe they’d spend eternity in hell. No way my brain could make fundagelicism work at that point.
The hellfire ‘n brimstone crowd may not be so moved, admittedly.
By “August speaks too slowly”, I was not referring to his measured demeanor, but his unfortunate inability to get more points in to the given time :-)
August, you did marvelously, but I was somewhat disappointed that you were unable to answer the woman’s question regarding the value (to you/us) of “converting” people to Atheism. I had that very point directed to me at a similar event (with a much more limited audience!) last week.
There were a number of opportunities to take some advantage of the agreement you were getting from the hosts as well.
In all, it is astounding to know without doubt that the huge majority of those listening locally will not have left the radio show wondering about their convictions.
And – which one of us was the one that called in? Just curious.
August Berkshire says
What none of you got to hear was that after the show the hosts said they wanted me back on a regular basis. Patience, my friends. We have the better message and we are prevailing.
Ray Ingles says
In the future, if asked about the “people in general are kinder since Jesus” thing, point out what Steven Pinker pointed out.
The murder rate in England – everywhere in Europe, really – has dropped by 4000% since the 1300s. Yet, not many people argue that England and Europe are more Christian now than in the Middle Ages. Quite the opposite, in fact…
Great to see (well, hear) August taking it to them in such a wonderfully executed manner. Good job!
Well done August! I reckon the atheist message is best spread by showing Christians that we too are (often) tolerant, caring, and wise. I’m reminded of a US episode of “Wife Swap” in which a trailer-living, religious woman was sent in as one half of a gay relationship – two NY professionals bringing up teenage daughters. The guy who went to the trailer was treated with fear and loathing by the dad (though he did manage to stop him hitting the kids with a paddle – kudos!) but the woman seemed really transformed by the experience – realising that the daughters were brilliantly looked after and saw nothing wrong with their gay dads (even to the point where she seemed to acknowledge this too).
If possible, people should be pleasantly surprised when confronted with their prejudices.
People are such slobs. I’ve had to wipe smudges off stranger’s foreheads all morning…
Bill Dauphin says
This sounds very similar to Harvey Milk’s argument re gay rights (at least as presented in the movie): If gays come out, straight people will realize that they already know… and already like… them; that gays really aren’t demons or monsters.
Similarly, when atheists “come out” to their friends, folks realize that atheists are normal, pleasant people, and not the immoral minions of evil they’ve been portrayed as. Good work!
I agree that hardcore snake-kissin’ fundies probably aren’t convertible by August’s methods… but it’s not the hardcore we really need to convert to bring about social change.
To continue my comparison above, it’s not radical homophobes upon whom social prejudice against gays rests; it’s the ordinary people who are willing to believe what the homophobes are preaching, not because they’re also filled with hatred, but just because they’ve always thought of heterosexuality as “normal” and they lack any experience to the contrary. Show those people that gays are normal, reasonable, likeable folks, and they can be converted.
Similarly, if we show the casual pew-warmers (who make up, I’m convinced, the vast majority of churchgoers, and of those who tell pollsters they “believe in God”) — those who go to church because their parents did, and because it’s just what people do — that atheists are actually the sort of people they already know and like, they can be converted.
And in both cases, if we can convert the vast, convertible middle, the extremists will become irrelevant, increasingly isolated with their fellow extremists and apart from the broader society.
Sort of like Republicans are these days in politics! ;^)
Patricia, OM @#43
Since others have already touched on the topic beautifully already I’m going to instead bring up my curiosity.
What is your suggestion for converting hard core snake kissers?
Patricia, OM says
You make a good point Bill, I’ll consider it, but I do rather enjoy being a human torch when it comes to christians. ;)
Bringing in some bigger snakes?
This is very true. You can’t reason people out of Christianity, because they weren’t reasoned into Christianity in the first place. Some sort of emotional attachment needs to happen first to allow them to listen to reason.
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
…with bad breath?
Patricia, OM says
Ouchimoo – I’m not sure it can be done with the really hardcore. There is no chance for me to speak to my former friends from church. They are forbidden to communicate with me.
Hi. I am Jeannie from Maple Grove, MN (the caller toward the end of the show), I read Pharyngula daily and am a 3rd generation atheist.
I think August is correct here. So many people who finally find out that I am an atheist (I don’t push) say things like:
“You’re an atheist? But, you are such a nice person!”
So, it is on atheists to go out there and do good things, be the nice neighbor, good parent, helpful co-worker, etc. I personally feel this is very important. Religion condones so much hate and intolerance and really has no place in the modern world.
Greg Peterson says
Yes, Jeannie16; thanks for that.
Janine, Ignorant Slut says
While running around, taking care of chores, I could not help but to be thinking about this. My conclusion, we need many different atheists. We need nice atheists like The Friendly Atheist and August Berkshire. We need those who held religion in contempt like PZ and Richard Dawkins. We need hairy thunderer like Hitchens (As much as I dislike his misogyny and most of his politics.) We need to show that atheists come from all walks of live, that we hardly fit into the believer’s stereotypes. We have to use the tactics of the GLBT community to show that we are everywhere.
Patricia, while I am sympathetic about your background, the good news is that not all believers are like that. Plus the fact that you were actually able to leave such a background behind is inspiring. I still want to know how this happened, perhaps it could shed some ideas on how the reach some of the snake kissers.
There is an other way to deal with the snake kissers, it is the same tactic that scientists use for those other scientists who cling to outmoded and disproved theories; move on and wait for them to die of old age.
Patricia, OM says
To me the program sounded like they were trying to steamroll August.
If I had a conversation with August I’m sure we would get along very well. I just don’t agree with his approach of providing a pleasant emotional experience for the christians. As a recognized atheist leader, he is representing me too. I’ve heard him before, he can do better. :)
The audio has been posted to their archive at http://www.kkmslive.com/MP3/17022409-AugustBerkshire.mp3