Sam explains the extended gaps between recording sessions and teeth. He and Becky discuss cognitive dissonance, Roman history, dogmatic thought, and data backups as they respond to listener feedback.
In the same way that Hitler is dishonestly labeled as a atheist, I know for a fact that modern Christians will also do the same mis-labeling when they decide to disown Trump. So, how do you godless weirdos generate income with the internet? This Coronavirus resulted in me losing my job as a valet driver.-Michael from The Internet
I and the rest of your audience were lucky to get what you so freely gave and shared with us.
It’s hard to reflect on the positives of your accomplishments when many times you can only see what still needs to be done while you’re on the inside.
You answered many of the questions both atheists and non-atheists struggle with in our personal struggles with religion, or at least addressed them so we could move forward to our own solutions from where we were stuck. You did it in an approachable format that had previously been unavailable to the general public.
I feel I’ve made a friend, even though we’ve never met. I’d never felt that way with other atheist leaders, though to be honest Madalyn Murray O’Hair and her family were not the highest bar to beat. But you were literally just another geeky, nerdy guy who happened to be an atheist and could intelligently speak to it. And your other discussions were fun, even when it went off on MLS or comic tangents that normally don’t interest me. But it’s also hard to relate to more modern leaders, intellectuals like Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens or entertainers like Bill Maher and Penn Gillette. They’re good, but I doubt any could be half as entertaining while being relatable like you and Becky and the rest of your eclectic group of friends and acquaintances.
You’ve helped spread not only information about atheism, but rational thinking and showing how much religion and other personal philosophies often violates people’s rights because of its followers dogmatic thinking.
I especially appreciate your discussions of LGBT issues within religions as a retired gay man who’s been an atheist since 15.
You also helped me improve my knowledge on how, from a rational thinker perspective, to defend a woman’s right to choose, the problems with anti-vaxxers, the difference between being a culture with largely Christian origins vs being a Christian nation, the background of our founding fathers in their understanding of the importance of the separation of church and state, and even that some evangelists like Harold Camping can be friends even if you’re vastly different people with vastly different viewpoints.
Your guests have probably educated me on more general science than any media educator not named Neil deGrasse Tyson or Bill Nye.
So thank you Sam for these last ten years. -Steve from The Internet
In lieu of new episodes, I had been listening back to the most recent batch. Some of the episodes get funnier when listening back to them. Like hearing about Becky getting Sam season tickets for his birthday. D’oh! On the topic of backups; for the love of IBM, backup your data! -Odd from Norway
May 18 2020
…or I might be full of shazbot.
On the precipice of a full decade of Ask an Atheist, Sam talks about the show and his increasing disillusionment with being a public atheist. Then, we talk about real-life Scooby Doo ghosts.
It’s getting increasingly difficult to talk about atheism these days, and I’ll explore some of the reasons over the next few weeks. But I’ll mention one now: The problem is no longer “Salvation,” but “Liberty.” Obviously.
Ever since this nation turned to marketing as it’s instrument of national consensus, all political power has pointed to a mythical, trans-cultural and poorly-educated Bud the Chud who swills natty ice; owns a pickup truck he destroyed to roll coal on; eight rattle-canned AR-15s he can’t shoot, can’t maintain, and can’t handle with any degree of safety; all bought on credit he can’t afford.
Anyone with a clear eye and the philosophical equivalent a drink in their belly can tell you that all political entities in America tilt to Bud. Even the good ones and sometimes, especially the good ones. Again, obviously.
In the last couple weeks, “Live Free or Die” has transmogrified into “Live free and Die” as Bud’s aspirants gather ’round and huff each other’s bodily fluids. All of this in the name of a “Liberty” defined before modern medicine, before genetics, before even germ theory, at a time when “fornicating with livestock” wasn’t as much of an insult as it was a tempting career opportunity.
These people are not Bud. They have morality, they care about others, they pay attention to the news enough to be scared. We live with them , we trade with them, we lend each other power tools. But it’s getting harder and harder to get through to them, thanks to the instruments of national consensus and mob psychology– and we have to, one way or another. Time is running out. People are dying.
I’m American enough to believe in Liberty. This is why, in the past, I’ve stood up for people who believe in it even when I think their notions of liberty are at best childish. For Liberty to be true, it must not be a spiritual concept but a mundane one that contends with physics and biology, with desire and need. We need to engineer it, just as the framers did, but more cogently and with more nuance, for our morality is superior and our world much larger than theirs.
I am aware that the similarities between Bud’s Liberty and Bud’s Salvation are profound. On Sundays, Bud can be found in Church, praying for an eternal subservience to a celesital Authority, disguised as Salvation. His prayer is presided over by a Micro-Torquemada who fancies himself a mere shepherd. He has sex with Bud’s children. During the week, Bud can be found at a rally, rooting for an eternal subservience to a corporeal Authority disguised as Liberty. His rally is presided over by a Micro-Hitler with good teeth or bad hair and a lack of moral conscience. He has sex with everything else Bud has.
But I must face the mein as well as the method, and here I find the atheism stance falls short. But what does that mean? Like, in reality, not on Junior High Civics Planet.
First, the presidential election. 2016 was a weird year, and I found myself feeling like a Cassandra and ultimately treated like one. I have no desire to repeat that experience. Even if I could, my crystal ball is cracked and only plays reruns of McHale’s Navy and I don’t even know what auspices are let alone how to read them. The political waters are turbid and rough with this present crisis, and I have no idea how it’s going to turn out. The best thing I have is silence, and I shall provide it.
Second is how we’re going to deal with the political and religious hucksters and jackasses who are using the pandemic for personal gain. We’re collecting those stories and we’ll deal with them in-depth, but I’m going to wait until we know what the death toll is. That way, I know what tone to take.
To Whom It May Concern;
I see where this is going, and before you ask: no. Holy cats, no. Absolutely not. Please register my official protest in the log. I love you dearly and I also prefer being alive, therefore I must respectfully decline.
The last time I had any input on your hair was such a “success” that I’d sooner sign on to issue you three high colonics and an appendectomy before I would have any responsibility– and therefore potential blame– for your hair.
Issue the first: I do not manage my own hair in any reasonable capacity. Also, I have nearly zero experience with any sort of hair care. The last time I even got a haircut was only because a powered drill got caught in it. I have less hair experience with hair styling than a four year old with a pair of crinkle-cut scissors and a bad idea.
Issue the second: We are completely at odds when it comes to the philosophy of hair. To you, it appears to be a primary form of self-expression and identity, tied not only to personality but also to professionalism. To me, hair is a tertiary sexual expression substance that exists mostly for the enjoyment of others, expressly yourself.
This is not a criticism. It makes sense. Professionally, you’re a literal figurehead: you exist at the front of the classroom and must be meaningfully interfaced with in order for the ship of education to progress. On the other hand, I’m more akin to engine oil: I have no fixed position, when I’m functioning properly I’m essentially invisible, and under no circumstances does anyone really want to look that closely at me.
Sam and Becky talk with Robert Ray, a frequent guest on Ask An Atheist over the years. He’s a Humanist Celebrant, podcaster, father, and electrician who is recently back to the US after spending a year in Antarctica. Then we talk about A Car Tunnel of Not Fire.
Thoughts on if there will be a religious resurgence post-pandemic or an exodus? There’s a joke in there somewhere…[Also], why do some people feel that doctors and science can be so wrong that they lick doorknobs? -Daniel from Tacoma
I see many folks wearing gloves to protect themselves. COVID13 gets into you via mucus membranes. You touch an infected item, then touch your eyes, nose, mouth with or without these gloves, you’ve introduced the virus to yourself. Like writing the combination down on a locked combo lock, false security.. -Paul from Ashford
In response to how our listeners are doing: We’re fine. My lovely and talented wife is sewing masks at the moment. I’m starting work on a technician class training course. Social distancing makes classroom training unworkable, so I guess it’ll have to be online. -John from Idaho
Wipes and Sprayers… -Shawn from the Internet
The reason for [why hotdogs com in 10-packs but bun are 8 to a pack] is obvious: The other two sausages are for the non-human weenie-roast participants. For those unfortunate individuals without furry housemates, may I suggest slicing them up and pan-frying them? -Jennifer from the Internet
I’ll have to remember the hot dog and bun thing for the next time someone tells me the universe is finely tuned. -Victor from the Internet
Mar 30 2020
Sam & Becky, from the safety of their home, welcome remote guest host Shujin Tribble as they contemplate parody ceremonies for cats, criticize craft store antics, and say bye (finally?) to the saga of Coach Joe Kennedy. Also: hotdogs.
Why do hot dogs come in packages of ten, but hot dog buns only come in packages of just eight? -Owen from The Internet
Covid-19 has largely shut down our work, and we’re looking for ways of being upbeat, silly, and have some minimal time with a few friends–a total of 6, including ourselves. Just so people don’t take my head off: everyone who is invited to this has been isolating for the past week. We’re not seeking fun at the expense of social responsibility. What we are celebrating: our cats become “mature/adult” cats. So we decided to throw a Catceanera party for one, and a Cat Mitzvah for the other. Any suggestions for activities/ceremony/gifts for our fun loving, irreverent cat celebration? Ever a fan (and happily a patron), Colin -Colin from Seattle
How [do I] kindly respond (or not?) to loved ones who post religious faith statements and images? Do you just ignore? And how [should I] respond to prayer requests for loved ones of loved ones. Hoping for creative, kind yet honest suggestions.-Mary from Pierce County
I was listening to your Of Faeries and Fish episode, and wanted some clarification. In the episode, you guys mention a part of the Bible in which Jesus whips people selling stuff in the temple. Can you clarify which part of the Bible that is?-E. Nix from The Internet
What is an atheist?-Arrbey from Facebook
Mar 12 2020
Becky returns from Camp Quest NW’s inaugural teen leadership retreat, Dan previews his tour of summer camp biomes, Justin fills us in on Russian election interference developments, and we all take a look at political perceptions.
Dave and Josh help Command-line Deity Sam celebrate a numerically interesting birthday. They talk sports, booze, virulence, and Christian lawmakers, and mourn the untimely passing of a stunt-obsessed flat-earther.