Home > Show Transcripts > Episode 59 – Partial Transcript

Episode 59 – Partial Transcript

by Heath Enwright and Noah Lugeons

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(note: transcript contains elements that were removed from the final edit due to time constraints)

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And now, the Scathing Atheist.

 

Intro:

It’s Thursday,

It’s April 3rd,

And yogurt companies still can’t get rid of that jizz puddle on top.

I’m Noah Lugeons,

I’m Heath Enwright, and from “coldhearted” New York, New York

And “uncharted” Podunk, Georgia, this is the Scathing Atheist

In this week’s episode,

  • Studies show you don’t have the right to your wrong opinion,

  • We’ll declare South Carolina state senator Kevin Bryant the show’s official fossil,

  • And Eli Bosnick will join us to review “God’s Not Dead”.

But first, the diatribe…

Diatribe:

I love me some Neil DeGrasse Tyson.  That’s dude’s awesome.  When he talks about the universe, it makes me want to grab my telescope.  When he talks about evolution, it makes me one to thank a bacterium.  And when he talks about atheism, it makes me want to microwave my dick.

This is actually a really hard diatribe for me, because I’m gonna be bitching about somebody that I admire.  And odds are, he’s somebody that you admire too.  How could you not?  He’s brilliant, funny, engaging, witty and he’s done more to inspire reverence for science than I could do if you gave me six lifetimes.  And he also pulls off the sexy-ass mustache like nobody’s business.

And if you’ve never heard him directly confront the atheism question, you’re probably wondering how the hell I could possibly have an issue with this dude.  He’s one of the most effective voices in the country fighting against the encroachment of creationism into our schools; his entire life is dedicated to spreading critical thinking and he hasn’t passed up on a single chance to bitch slap young earthers in the new Cosmos series.

In light of all the positive shit he’s done, my complaint seems a bit like a nitpick.  But I also think it’s an important one.  So Neil, if you’re listening to this, and let’s face it, you’re not; just admit it.  You’re an atheist, bro.  The religious folks already hate you regardless so you might as well join the club.

For the record, I should note that if you ask Tyson, he’ll tell you he’s not an atheist.  But if you ask a dictionary, it’ll tell you that he is.

To be fair to Neil, I understand completely… and I also concede that he’s way smarter than me so there’s a good chance I just have my head up my ass on this one.  After all, if you look at the backlash against Cosmos, it wouldn’t help at all if the creationists could trudge up a bunch of video of him saying he was an atheist.  He made the decision that, for purposes of being an effective science communicator, he wasn’t gonna wear the label of atheism.  He’ll tell you that the only “ist” he is, is a scientist.

And when he explains why, it’s damn convincing.  Why claim some kind of knowledge that he can’t really have?  Why claim to know something that can’t be known?  And why wear a label that’s going to cause a lot of people to simply shut down and stop listening?  If he says, “I’m Neil DeGrasse Tyson and I’m an atheist”, it’s gonna make it a lot harder to communicate effectively with believers, right?

Now, clearly, some of the reason this approach pisses me off is that I really, really want him in our club.  He’s fucking awesome.  I’d be proud as hell to claim him.  But there’s another element here and I think it’s an important one… at least four minutes of the show worth of important, anyway.

When people like Tyson refuse the label of “atheism”, they’re perpetuating a stereotype.  I’m sure that Neil Degrasse Tyson is well aware that atheists don’t claim to have knowledge of god’s non-existence.  I’m sure he understands completely that the dividing line between a theist and an atheist is a matter of belief, not certainty.  And I imagine he knows good and damn well that any reasonable definition of atheism includes him.  But instead of embracing it, he’s bowing to the social pressure that says, “saying you’re an atheist is mean to religious people.”

What’s more, he’s helping to create this caricature of the atheist position that says we’re taking an intellectually untenable stance.  After all, if he’s smart and he’s a scientist and he says he’s not an atheist, how can we hold that atheism is the “scientific” position?

Sure, it’s a semantic issue, but it’s an important one and not just in terms of atheism.  The very concept of the “null hypothesis” is at stake here.  When well known popularizers of science carve out this special exception for theism, they’re muddying the waters of what it means to think scientifically; to think critically.  Do you think Tyson would go out of his way to admit that he doesn’t have special knowledge that Bigfoot doesn’t exist?  Or that my aunt Martha wasn’t abducted by aliens?

The popular concept of what an “atheist” is will ultimately be determined by who chooses to wear that label.  When Tyson backs away from it, he’s reinforcing the notion that to call oneself an “atheist” is to declare war on religion.  And for all the listeners out there who are mentally defending Tyson by saying, “but he’s trying to be the most effective communicator of science he can be”, consider this:

Every time Tyson is asked if he’s an atheist (which happens quite often), he’s passing up on an opportunity to explain the scientific method.  He could very easily reply with a succinct explanation of Occam’s razor along with a quick explanation of what “atheism” means.  Instead he knowingly redefines atheism in an effort to exclude himself.  And I just don’t see how you can say that confusing the definition of a word makes one a more effective communicator.

 

Headlines:

Joining me for headlines tonight is master masturbater baiter Heath Enwright.  Heath, are you ready to put some porn on a string?

It’s easier than tying the flies.

You know, this reminds me of the day we met.

In our lead story tonight, from the massive “Christian Tax Embezzlement” file: Carroll County Maryland commissioner Robin Frazier opened up another government meeting with an illegal prayer.  And because being righteous involves constant bouts of verbal diarrhea, she can’t freely practice Christianity without regularly forcing everyone else at work to waste time and tax dollars listening to her to talk about Jesus.

Yeah, not only are their churches tax exempt, but they also have to take things that are tax funded and do church in them.  But at least she was ecumenical, right?  Gave a nice measured, inclusive and non-judgemental speech with it and stuff?

Here’s an actual statement from Frazier, from last week’s meeting: (quote) “If we cease to believe that our rights come from God, we cease to be America … We’ve been told to be careful. But we’re going to be careful all the way to Communism…” (end quote) …

…Well that’s not hyperbolic…

She then read a deftly selected Christian prayer that was NOT written by George Washington.  So she’s obviously got a lot of brain confusion going on, but somehow she knows about our plan to replace capitalism with atheism.

Pounding a nail right through the invisible palm of the market, yes sir.

Despite warnings of civil action by the American Humanist Association, they did the same thing again this week, and could now face penalties of approximately $10,000 per prayer.   Seems like a fine that small should mean nothing to Christians, considering they can just pray for $11,000, or something even bigger … like eternal bliss.  This should give us a nice quantifiable look at the real-life Pascal’s wagering behavior among purported ‘true believers’.

God mysteriously allows $10,000 prayer penalty: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/04/02/10000-a-prayer-if-humanist-group-prevails-in-court-these-elected-officials-may-owe-hefty-fine-for-violating-law

And in “Pleistocene Morality” news tonight, two Christian tit-nibblers in South Carolina have used actual taxpayer funded time to shit all over a little girl’s attempt to make the Wooly Mammoth her state’s official fossil.  The story begins when young Olivia McConnell wrote to her state representative to point out that her state doesn’t have an official fossil and if they didn’t act quickly to appoint the wooly mammoth, they might end up with something shitty like Maryland’s fossilized snail or Maine’s petrified wood.

Are these guys suggesting the savior’s fossilized foreskin instead?  That’s pretty close to petrified wood.  And who doesn’t – once in a while – refer to their junk as “The Wooly Mammoth”???

That’s cross gender, yeah.  Now, what should have been a cute and perfunctory educational experience that little Olivia could brag to her grandchildren about instead turned into a proxy war over creationism when state senator and Nickelodeon villain Kevin Bryant proposed an amendment that would insert a passage of Genesis into the bill just so nobody forgets who fashioned those fossils and fjords.

Which passage of Genesis was that?  The part when God buried a bunch of fake animal remains that reconcile everything, right before he created Satan and archaeology?  That part was redacted in my King James version.

Book of Prefect, I believe.  Proving once again that there’s nothing too insignificant or petty for a creationist, Bryant and his henchman Senator Mike Fair spent about a week blocking this symbolic gesture in hopes of getting somebody to agree that Jesus, but when it became clear that everyone knew they were being assholes, the objection was withdrawn and the battle between South Carolina and Washington state over who has the legitimate claim to the Columbian Mammoth can begin.

SC lawmakers block 3rd Graders proposed state fossil because it would make Jesus cry: http://crooksandliars.com/2014/03/two-christian-sc-senators-block-third

And in “Double Standardized Testing” news, fact-denier schools in the UK were recently caught censoring out certain items from a nationally required science exam, because questions about things that happened before the fake universe began, are impossible to answer.  

“Excuse me, Sister Mary Bumpuncher, which of the ovals stands for ‘were you there’?”

And if it were just a few priests and rabbis blacking out the evolution questions, and having the kids skip those, it would be stupid, but still representative of the knowledge being tested.  Instead, these schools colluded with the exam agencies, which I would imagine means that being ignorant of basic science wouldn’t count against you, as long as your school administrators are followers of crazy old desert people.  If you can’t – or won’t – learn science, then you should score badly on standardized science tests!!!

Yeah, “Civil Disobedience” would have been a hell of a lot less impressive if Thoreau was on the lam when he wrote it.

And just to weaken their absurd stance even more, the schools in question choose to be funded primarily by the state, despite being parochial in nature.  Unbelievable!!!  If you really insist on brainwashing your kids from birth, and intentionally feeding them a counter-factual education, then you have to pay for all of that yourself.  Just be happy it’s not considered light-to-medium child abuse, as it probably should be.

UK Religious schools censor evolution questions on standardized tests: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/04/01/after-religious-schools-censor-questions-about-evolution-on-standardized-tests-uk-regulatory-group-bans-the-practice/

And in “Muster the brusquer buskers” news tonight, a group of spurned London street performers have taken a page out of Hobby Lobby’s playbook to avenge the demise of their profession.  When the laws turn against you; make up some bullshit religious beliefs and use them to annoy the hell out of everyone.

What do these guys do?  Couldn’t be any more annoying than subway preachers, who – by the way – can be quickly foiled in you loudly echo everything they say from the other side of the car.

“Ladies and gentleman, I’d like to talk to you about Jesus!”

“Ladies and gentleman, I’D like to talk to you about Jesus!”

Well that exchange is probably no less annoying than their idea; The buskers in question have formed “The Church of the Holy Kazoo” in response to a recent law that barred street performers from using amplifiers or playing certain instruments without a license.  Their church considers all songs to be hymns and busking as a form of worship and thus any attempts to curtail their performance is considered an impingement on their religious freedom.

Kazoo is great, but why not go full logical extreme?  Maybe bagpipes? Portable fingernail blackboards? Yoko Ono???

Now, as a long time busker I want to sympathize with these guys, but the law is so innocuous I can’t get behind it.  I’ve seen too many talentless assholes whacking on buckets and amplified beggars to dismiss the regulation, but I love the protest nonetheless.  If enough people are willing to take up the kazoo in protest, perhaps we can at least get a law passed that bans street preachers.

Spurned buskers form “Church of the Holy Kazoo” http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/03/29/these-musicians-got-around-their-towns-anti-street-performance-law-by-forming-the-church-of-the-holy-kazoo/

And in “Preemptive Dyke” news, 8-year-old Virginia girl Sunnie Kahle was pressured to end her enrollment at Timberlake Christian School for being too boyish, and therefore pre-pubescently homosexual.

What the hell does that even mean?  You say “Ew… girls” instead of “Ew… boys”?

Unfortunately for the precocious carpentress, 8-year-old alleged homosexuals in Virginia are very similar to convicted felons, so her options going forward are limited.  However, 18-year-old alleged homosexuals are actually at quite an advantage when applying to colleges, so let’s give her some ideas.  30 seconds on the clock: “LGBT Schools of Higher Education” … GO!!!

Pepper-dyke University

Double Oral Roberts

Gay-lor is too easy so… Clam-Slamherst.

Shemanhattan College

MI Teabaggers?

Brown Eye University … Part of the H-Ivy League.

Cornhole up in Ithaca is H-Ivy league, too, isn’t it?

Known for going Corn-Elbow Deep … Maybe something right there in Virginia … William and Fairy?

I was gonna say “William and Marty”…

Sounds like one of those Sharter Schools … What about: “Civil Union Theological Seminary”???

How about “The University of No-to Dames”?

Home of the Sword Fighting Irish … What about “The University Formerly Known As Princeton”?

There’s already a “Queen’s University” in Canada, but it still counts if I say that it’s in “Strap-Ontario”, I think.

The SoreBun’s in Paris, right?  And as if France wasn’t gay enough already: Their famous university is a homo-phone for a gay pun in English.

8 year old girl pressured to transfer from Christian school for seeming dykey: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/03/28/family-removes-8-year-old-tomboy-from-christian-school-in-virginia-after/

And before we close the headlines out tonight, I wanted to make the most awkward transition ever and take a rare serious moment to recognize a powerful force in the atheist movement who we lost last week.  Edwin Kagin spent almost a decade as the Legal Director for American Atheists and played a vital role in the World Trade Center cross lawsuit, the atheist bench in Florida, the Kentucky Homeland Security Lawsuit and countless others.

But even long before that he’d made a name for himself as a powerful legal force for freethought and civil liberties.  He was an author, a sought after secular speaker and a funny motherfucker, as evidenced by his proclivity for “de-baptizing” atheists with a hairdryer.

Perhaps the most important piece of his legacy is Camp Quest, the nation’s first strictly secular summer camp, which he co-founded with his late wife in 1996.  This program has grown to include more than a dozen sites and serves hundreds of kids every summer.  He was a dedicated, passionate and invaluable member of the humanist movement and will be missed.

If you’d like to support his legacy, we’ll be including a link to donate to Camp Quest on the shownotes for this episode.

Edwin Kagin obituary: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/03/29/edwin-kagin-the-legal-heart-of-american-atheists-and-co-founder-of-camp-quest-is-dead/

And on that unusually somber note, we’ll close out the headlines for the night.  Heath, thanks as always.

Messiah-nara, bitches.

And when we come back, Eli Bosnick will join us to beat God’s Not Dead to death.

 

Poem – Esther

 

King Xerxes was a child molester; and if you don’t believe me, just ask Esther.

She was virginal at age fifteen, until that pervert made her queen.

He fucked her young and fucked her often, and when his royal dick would soften,

He’d sent her out to live her life, and maybe fuck a different wife.

 

Now Esther might have been a temptress, but she was better than the prior empress,

Who King Xerxes deemed a twat, for expressing independent thought.

So when he finished with his Vashti purging, he sent a group to bring back virgins.

They bathed and dressed and spent a year, doing makeup and their hair.

 

And then he boned them one by one, taking notes each time he’d come.

And when all the virgins took the test, it turned out Esther was the best.

Historically, it’s not reliable, like many stories in the bible.

It’s another contradictory instance… C’mon, A great fuck and a Jewish princess?

 

But irrespective, I digress; there’s two more people to address;

First Haman, who’s a nasty brute; that hates the Jews who won’t salute.

So in a crowd Haman walks by, and each one bows but Mordecai.

So Haman says, “I’ve lost my patience! I’m with the king, now give obeisance!”

 

But flatly, Mordecai refused; So Haman walks off, his ego bruised.

He tells the king “My Lord, I do wish; I could murder everyone who’s Jewish”

So the king considers Haman’s plot; and says, “A holocaust? Well sure, why not?”

So quickly Xerxes pens a letter; that makes the plot a public record.

 

Of course, the king was unaware; that his lovely queen, so sweet and fair

Was actually a Jew, then add; that’s Mordecai is pretty much her dad.

What’s more, before the Haman thing; He’d stopped a coup against the king.

So Haman thinks this jews a goner, instead a parade’s held in his honor.

 

He then sees his adoptive daughter; says, “Have you heard about this pending slaughter?

So if you see the king, and get a chance; think maybe you could change his stance?”

So she invites her hubby and Haman; to a lovely banquet whereupon,

She says “Hey, those Jews you wanted dead?  You mind murdering Haman instead?”

 

And the king says, “Sure, that all you want?  Kill my trusted Commandant?”

She says, “Well, those Jewish killers you’ve amassed? Could you kill them too and do it fast?”

So he grants her wish and many die; then the king promotes ol’ Mordecai,

And the three of them have joy and laughter; while the rest die happily ever after.

 

Outro:

Before we drain the bottle tonight, I want to let everybody know that there’s way more to the interview I did with Eli than what you just heard.  Our Patreon Patrons heard about 50% more than everybody else, but even then there’s another ten or twelve minutes I didn’t have room for.  If you want to hear the whole 26 minute interview, check out the extras page on our website for that.  It’s free for everybody, patron or no.

That’s all we’ve got for tonight, but if you want more, there’s more.  Thomas invited me on his new show “Atheistically Speaking” the other night to discuss the Hobby Lobby case; really interesting subject and we got pretty deep into it so I’d recommend that.  I’ll also be on the upcoming episode of The Imaginary Friends Show plugging the hell out of my book this week so be sure to look for that coming soon.

Atheistically Speaking Link

Imaginary Friends Show Link

Buy the Book Link

Speaking of plugging the hell out of the book, it’s available as an e-book at the Kindle Store; if you use a different ebook service, let me know and I’ll see if we can get it listed there as well.  And if you’re holding out for the paperback, you shouldn’t have to wait long.  Hoping to have those available for order in the next couple of weeks; beginning of May at the latest.

You’ll find links to the book, as well as Atheistically Speaking and the Imaginary Friends Show on the shownotes for this episode.

A lot of thanks to squeeze into this outro so I’m gonna have to go super quick.  I want to thank Elyse for providing this week’s Farnsworth quote and on her behalf I want to say fuck that evolution denialist professor; need to thank Heath because he’s awesome; need to thank Lucinda because she’s also awesome but most of all, I need to thank this week’s most awesome people and holy shit is this week filled with “most awesome” people.  So here it goes… all in one breath:

Joe, Konrad, Richard, Terry, Tommy, Paul, Michelle, Alana, David, Dana, Benjamin, Neil, Scott, Shane, Brian, Lauren, William, Brook, other David, Kevin, Jordan, Robin, John, Danni, Ivy, Paul, Geoff, Stephen with a “P”, Jay, Michael, Glenn, “B”, Chris, Drew, Sean, Debbie, Howard, Sabrina, Mike, Susan, Zach, Matt, Tom, Damian, Sakura, other other David, Tyler, Tim, Mary, Steven with a “V”, Soren, Allen, PK, Joe, Dee, Brandon, Kelvin, Christopher, Brian, Joel, Thomas, James, other Michael, Vinnie, Dave and Matthew.

Joe, Konrad, Richard, Terry, Tommy, Paul, Michelle, Alana, David, Dana, and Benjamin, whose neuronal activity could jumpstart a flux capacitor; Neil, Scott, Shane, Brian, Lauren, William, Brook, other David, Kevin, Jordan and Robin, whose IQs are so high most people assume they’re being expressed in binary; John, Danni, Ivy, Paul, Geoff, Stephen with a “P”, Jay, Michael, Glenn, “B” and Chris who are so sexy they make Diogo Morgado look like a crucified Jew; Drew, Sean, Debbie, Howard, Sabrina, Mike, Susan, Zach, Matt, Tom and Damian, who make Captain America seem like a pansy for needing the shield; Sakura, other other David, Tyler, Tim, Mary, Steven with a “V”, Brandon, Allen, PK, Soren and Dee, whose adventures are so epic that even Peter Jackson couldn’t make them boring; and Joe, Kelvin, Christopher, Brian, Joel, Thomas, James, other Michael, Vinnie, Dave and Matthew, whose cock rings are mostly comprised of icy bodies and small meteors.

These sixty-six brave and noble… holy shit, 66?  Really!?  Wow… holy fuck you guys are awesome.  Seriously.  Anyway, these sixty-six noble and valiant listeners have proved themselves paragons of humanity this week by giving us money, many of them by signing up for recurring payments through our new, easy to use, bonus content laden Patreon Page at Patreon (dot) com (slash) Scathing Atheist, others by clicking on the donate button on the right side of our homepage.

And I don’t have time to remind you to give us a glowing review on iTunes or to check us out on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube because I had too many people to thank.

If you have questions comments or death threats, you’ll find all the contact info on the contact page at Scathing Atheist (dot) com.  All the music used in this episode was written and performed by yours truly and yes, I did have my permission.

 

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  1. Rob
    April 5, 2014 at 4:50 PM

    Long time listener – or at least I’ve heard all 50-odd episodes, and I’m a huge fan. Huge enough that this is probably the first time I’ve written/called/emailed/mailbombed an entertainer that affected me. Anyway…well done.

    This week’s show was my favorite, and that’s saying something. I especially appreciated the not one but two references to my most favoritest of schools (and employer), Cornell. I wanted so much to interject that not only do I owe my livelihood to Cornhole, but I specifically work for the Johnson school. No pun required. Sorry Heath.

    Oh, and Eli is a genius. Great interview. I’ll be Patroning as soon as I find my wallet. It’s like, in the other room.

    Cheers,
    Rob

  2. bob
    April 10, 2014 at 10:14 AM

    Another great episode! A couple of things keep bugging me about this weeks episode.. The Neil Degrass Tyson thing, is really bugging me. It is just plain apples and oranges to try to compare someone like Tyson’s tiptoeing around and hedging the issue, with Noah, and by the way with probably most of us. At least any of us who live and work in the depths of the red states. I’d wager that many, if not most of us use pseudonyms online for our atheist persona’s and keep our other Facebook pages etc. so grandma can see the kids photos without being exposed to the evil atheists. Rather than take a chance on losing a job, promotion, or sale because we are “out” we find it necessary to hide that aspect of our lives from most of our friends and relatives and potential customers. And that’s the REAL key to this issue. We little people, like it or not, admit it or not, weasel and hedge and remain at least to some degree “in the closet” out of fear, concern, or just good sense depending on your situation, location and degree of independence. But, the fact that someone of the stature of Tyson is compelled to weasel, duck and weave and play games about it should concern us. That situation tells us, in spite of all the cheer leading, atheist books, reason podcasts, hopeful numbers, the nones, the rise of secular movements, its still not REALLY safe for Neil Degrass Tyson to be honest and open in his public persona. If Tyson still has to dance the dance, then are we really making any progress. AND, the only way we ARE going to make progress is EXACTLY for people of the stature of Tyson to “come out” without fear and without pussyfooting. Only when people like him begin to boldly stand up and tell the theocrats to go to hell, will the rest of us be able to do so. Tyson could stand up to the theocrats, he could make a statement, but he won’t and that act makes the statement that we are weak and they still run the show.

  3. April 10, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    oh, yeah, the other thing that bugged me.. people who have boundaries beyond which nobody is allowed to cross… you can have boundaries beyond which YOU choose not to cross, but you have no right to complain and no right to any expectation that anybody else should “respect” YOUR boundaries. Sure, if you’re in a group and somebody says something that offends you, say “hey that offended me.” They might change the topic depending on the circumstances, but it should never be assumed that they MUST bend to your personal sensibilities. If you don’t like it, and they still want to talk about it, then you have the final say so when you walk away.

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