1. Hj Hornbeck says

    Wait wait wait, you didn’t settle your differences privately with a phone call, but instead chose to argue publicly so everyone could weigh the merits of your respective arguments? WHAT A TWIST!

  2. marko says

    I agree too, it did take me a while and a number of what turned out to be pretty horrible and bigoted Facebook groups to realise just how useless “atheist” was as a label, it is a pretty weak point to base a relationship on and is far too vague a subject to assume that you are talking to like minded individuals.

  3. Saad says

    Saying you shouldn’t publicly criticize Atheist Figure A for bigotry because it will hurt the atheist movement* is the same as saying the marginalization of atheists is more important than the marginalization of other oppressed groups. It’s saying to shut up about being mistreated by society for being a woman/LGBT+/POC/etc so that we can fight against the mistreatment for being atheists. Being mistreated by society isn’t so bad unless you’re being mistreated because you’re an atheist.

    It sounds pretty close to telling Catholics to keep the sexual abuse under wraps because the work the Church does is more important.

    * Wait, it’s a movement now? I thought it was just a lack of belief in gods.

  4. Saad says

    Wait, what about disagreements on how to promote a more secular government and society? I have a feeling Smalley has no issue whatsoever about discussing that publicly.

  5. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    *sighs meaningfully*
    Well, at least I already subscribe to his podcast, so that’s not a hassle, but… I’m not the sort of person who unsubscribes and refuses to listen because someone says something I don’t like, but I kinda did stop listening after his “regressive left” episode which, if I remember correctly, had him complaining about Black Lives Matter protests disrupting traffic (because what if sick kids) for an hour before closing on a recording of an anti-feminist ramble from YouTube, with the promise of the feminist response behind the paywall. Maybe I should get him on the phone and explain why that sort of thing irks me.
    Anyway… I’ll give it a listen when I get home.

  6. says

    Yeah, half of it is behind a paywall this time, too — including, I think, the part where I tried to argue that the humanity of women is not a subject for debate, and he tried to explain to me that he just wants to give everyone a chance to make their case.

    I think we both got frustrated with each other.

    At least I got someone on Twitter telling me that there must be something wrong with me because I don’t love Elon Musk…I didn’t talk about Elon Musk at all, but the fact that I’ve previously found some of his comments awful immediately discredits me. Muskians are just weird.

  7. tonyinbatavia says

    Breakdown of David Smalley’s interviewing approach…

    Step 1: Ask a 247-word leading question that attempts to make it obvious what the answer should be.

    Step 2: Allow the interviewee to respond with a single, very brief, preferably 16-words-or-less sentence and then cut them off before they can elaborate or provide any nuance.

    Step 3: Immediately act like you agree with the answer, but then talk for at least 523 more words to re-iterate the premise of the question posed in Step 1 — only this time with condescending, first-grade logic, voiced with disbelief — while not actually addressing anything said by the interviewee in Step 2.

    Step 4: Return to Step 1.


    Christ, what a joke. I wanted to vomit when Smalley did the whole “See, it’s working. This is why we talk!” thing, missing the ENTIRE fucking point that he keeps minimizing the differences while PZ’s talking about the massive rifts.

  8. Akira MacKenzie says

    Yeah, half of it is behind a paywall this time, too — including, I think, the part where I tried to argue that the humanity of women is not a subject for debate, and he tried to explain to me that he just wants to give everyone a chance to make their case.

    For me, this has always been the “Big But” (to quote Pee Wee Herman) of “free speech,” “freethought,” the “Marketplace of Ideas” and other progressive-sounding concepts. The idea behind free inquiry is that supposedly “no” idea is taboo, everything is up for scrutiny, and we can be wrong if new evidence show us to be incorrect.

    While that (mostly*) makes sense for the sciences, is it applicable to everything? Are we suddenly going to discover that non-whites really are inferior, inhuman, mud-people who don’t deserve equal treatment? Do we really have to entertain the possibility that woman are just ignorant human-incubators who can be used and abused as the penis-havers see fit? What possible bit of evidence could we have missed along the way to show that all the progress in human rights we’ve made over the last century is incorrect and that affairs should revert back to the “good old days” of white male cis-gendered heterosexual control?

    I’m sorry, but I say that there are some questions you DON’T get to ask and there ought to be dire consequences if you try.

    *How often do we have to show that gravity or germs exist before we take them as an absolute “gimmie?” Do we always have to assume the remote possibility that we are held to ground by invisible gnomes or that smallpox is caused by daemons?

  9. says

    We don’t ask the question because we’re afraid of the answer. We don’t waste time asking it because it has been answered 3.5 billion times.

  10. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    Finally got around to listening last night. That was frustrating as hell. To a highly specific, needle-point, I do think he has a point to make, but I don’t see how it’s a point for atheism. If you have a minor disagreement with someone, sure, chat it out and see where you’re coming from. But I don’t really see how his example counts as a minor disagreement. And how is suggesting that someone needs to engage in some self reflection an attack or insult? That’s skepticism! That’s what skepticism is built from! It’s not an insinuation that you’re broken – it’s pointing out that you’ve missed an important detail which would allow you to understand why people are upset about this thing! And how does Ellen being an LGBT activist mean she can’t be racist? Those are unrelated things, and it’s such simplistic thinking to act as if there’s a connection there. At some level, I envy him for being able to maintain that kind of naivete despite existing in this stew of people who managed to get one question right and use that one hit to argue that all their misses must also be hits, but ffs, it’s irritating when he’s a relatively prominent voice in atheism.
    And then it’s off to the post show in the middle of the discussion. -_-
    I don’t begrudge him having paid for content, not in the least, but surely the free content can be a standalone thing that actually finishes instead of just stopping? Blargle.