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Episode 57 – Partial Transcript

March 20, 2014 4 comments

by Noah Lugeons and Heath Enwright

Link to Episode

(Note: Transcript contains elements that were edited out to fill the time allotted)

Warning: This podcast contains adult language, and you better not tell.  And if you do, I will rip the heads off of all your stuffed animals.  I swear to god, I will!

Sponsor:

Today’s episode of the Scathing Atheist is brought to you by the new Muslim outreach program, “Million Man March Madness”.  Fill out your brackets and predict which faith will reign supreme in the coming Muslim inspired global religious war and you could win six dozen virgins of your choice.

And now, the Scathing Atheist.

Intro:

It’s Thursday!

It’s March 20th!

And I’m not a breast man, or an ass man … as much as a throat man.

I’m Noah Lugeons

And I’m Heath Enwright and from “Oral Sexy” New York, New York

And “Moral Sexy” Podunk, Georgia, this is the Scathing Atheist.

In this week’s episode,

  • We learn that explosions above 110th street in Manhattan don’t count as terrorism,

  • We’ll find a Jewish holiday that doesn’t suck,

  • And Noah will fuck up the George Hrab interview.

But first, the diatribe…

Diatribe:

It seems like me and Russell Crowe’s mom are the only people on the planet looking forward to the new Noah’s Ark movie.  And no, it’s not because they named the movie after me.

Look, this is Darren Aronofsky here.  We’re talking about a guy whose movies to this point have been about a mathematician, an old lady on diet pills, a grieving biologist, a professional wrestler and a ballerina.  And all of them have been epic.  I’m guessing he can do something with a antediluvian zookeeper, too.

But clearly I’m in the minority and it seems like hating this movie is one of the few things that religious people and atheists can do together.  Everybody seems to have a reason, and the atheist reason is the least stupid, but it’s still stupid.

Christians are mad because the movie isn’t “historically accurate”.  I haven’t seen it yet (and neither have they), but if you’re keeping up with the buzz, clearly Aronofsky’s taking plenty of artistic license with the story.  I mean… he kind of has to, since the Bible devotes about 2000 words to the Noah story.  You can read the whole thing out loud in six minutes.  If he’d stayed true to the bible it would’ve been less of a feature film and more of a Vine.

Muslims are pissed about it because Noah’s a prophet and you’re not supposed to depict a prophet because they want to avoid the whole “fuckable Jesus” thing that Son of God touched off.  And I should say that I’m being damn liberal with my description of what’s pissing the Muslims off here; since I could just as easily have said, “Muslims are pissed off about it because it’s a thing and they’re Muslims.”

Jews haven’t come out against the movie yet, but as Bill Maher points out, they will when they see the Box Office returns.

So what about atheists?  Well, from what I can gather, a bunch of us are pissed off because it’s a movie about Noah’s Ark.  I’ve gotten messages from a number of our listeners lamenting the release of this film as yet another hyper-religious cinematic debacle on par with “Passion of Christ”, “Son of God” or “Man of Steel”.  “Do we need yet another big-budget, CGI enhanced sermon on the silver screen?”

I’ve surprised a lot of those listeners by telling them that I’ll be watching it on opening night… though I’ll probably have to drive out of town to see it.  I’m fired up to see what a brilliant director with a stellar cast and a giant vat of money can do with this fairy tale.  And I’m no more bothered by the religiosity of this movie than I am with the religiosity of Wrath of the Titans.  Biblical stories should be fable-fodder for film makers.

Look, I have issues with the Judeo-Christian religions, but their mythology is cool.  When we can look at Jesus and Satan the same way we look at Odin and Chronos, we’re done.  We win.  Pop the champagne.  And I look at this movie as a step in that direction.

Clearly we’re not there.  The fact that Paramount caved to the demands of the blithering Christies and added a disclaimer to the movie against Aronofsky’s will pisses me off to no end.  There was no disclaimer apologizing to vikings for the historical inaccuracies in “Thor: The Dark World” and Jesus doesn’t deserve any better.

But when I hear atheists denounce this movie for its religiosity, that strikes me as petty.  There might be plenty of great reasons to denounce this flick and I fear I’ll know what they are on March 29th, but Darren Aronofsky, in addition to being one the most visionary directors in a generation, is an atheist.  He didn’t make this movie to preach the gospel.

In fact, knowing his penchant for dark, disturbing stories, I’m willing to bet that he made this movie because the source material is the most diabolical story known to humanity.

But I’ve got a guess here, and this is pure speculation so take it with a grain of salt, but I don’t think any Christians are really getting pissed about the (airquote) historical inaccuracies.  I think they’ll be okay with the fiery sword and the flaming angels and stuff.  What’s really gonna rile them up are the accuracies.  If you think about all the horror, destruction and waterlogged corpses that make up the flood myth, this thing could make Requiem for a Dream look like a Disney Movie with an ass to ass dildo scene.

Headlines:

Joining me for headlines tonight is “no longer suspected of racism” Heath Enwright.  Heath, how do you feel?

I love black people!!!

Must I now show you the money?

Podcasting is all about the Georges and Abes.  In our lead story tonight, from the “Mysterious Ways” file, God fire-bombed an East Harlem church, killing eight people (including five parishioners), yet local Christians remain faithful, because they found an old bible in the rubble.  Several Kindle copies were also recovered.  So luckily, the rare information isn’t lost forever.   

Yeah, New York god does that shit.  He’s like, “Yeah, whadda ya gonna do? Three thousand souls in a terrorist attack?  Sorry about that, but did you notice the little cross I made in the wreckage?”  So I’m just saying there’s precedent.

Let’s ignore – for the moment – the fact that religious people exhibit the psychoses of domestic abuse victims … I won’t even mention that … Instead, let’s try to figure out what it means that several large, glass dildos were also found in the wreckage, completely intact.  Could this be evidence that a second coming is imminent?!?  Finish times are near???

God kills 8 in NYC explosion, saves bible: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/uptown/decades-old-bible-east-harlem-church-survives-blast-article-1.1723125

And in “Edited to fill the Space Time Odyssey Allotted” news, an Oklahoma Fox affiliate is facing criticism over some impromptu local editing to the Cosmos remake.  In episode one of the new series, my second favorite living astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson took a minute to talk about evolution, but you wouldn’t know it if you were watching KOKH Fox 25, as the station chose to accidentally interrupt this moment of the show with a promo for a news story about a professional redneck killing things with a bow.

How do you censor a science program about evolution?!?  Blur out the beaks of the finches?!?

Oklahoma viewers say the second episode, which was all about evolution, was free of interruption, though many of them criticized the show for spending too little time on biological diversity and too much time on Shirley Temple hanging out with her curmudgeonly grandfather in the Swiss Alps.

OK Fox affiliate cuts references to evolution from Cosmos Broadcast: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/13/oklahoma-station-cut-cosmos-evolution-video_n_4958024.html?&ir=Religion&ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000055

And in “Allah Carte Only” news, Saudi cleric Saleh al-Fawzan figured out why Muslims kept going to hell, so he declared a fatwa banning all-you-can-eat buffets.  Basically, everything that happens in Vegas … is illegal in Riyadh.  And it’s the gambling – not the gluttony – that makes the buffet unkosher.  Essentially, the restaurant is betting against the Cool Hand Luke-ability of each patron to eat crazy amounts of buffet food, like – for example – fifty hard-boiled eggs.

I can think of plenty of good reasons to avoid buffets, but the sinful failure to itemize the expenditure doesn’t make my list.  Must be nice to live in a country that has all the real problems fixed so they can focus on meaningless bullshit.

Right, it’s not like they’ll be a completely useless desert in 50 years.  Anyway, according to Musa Furber – another Muslim scholar who also possesses fatwa powers: (quote) “The Sheikh’s reasoning is that the value and quantity of what is sold should be pre-determined before it is purchased.” (end quote) … But that’s stupid, because “all-you-can-eat” is a pre-determined amount.  And … That’s an impossible standard for everyone, not just buffets.  How many dead crabs in each bowl of bisque?  What’s the milligram weight of a parsley dusting?  How many salt grains on a margarita glass?  

38,606.  Not sure on the parsley or the crabs, though.

One more question … When Saudi royalty hijacks the entire national oil industry to pay for their shitty sober yacht parties … And then makes billions on top of that from sales and trading in the oil market … And then tricks its citizens into being okay with not sharing the enormous profits by running a brain-crushing theocracy … Is that what the Koran intended in their commerce clause?

Saudi cleric declared anti-buffet Fatwa: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/15/buffet-ban-fatwa-saudi-cleric_n_4971190.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

And in “Sub-Zero Wins” news tonight, the followers of Indian Guru Ashutosh Maharaj insist that their leader is in deep meditation despite the fact that he’s both dead and frozen solid.  Despite medical confirmation of his death, his followers insist that he’s in a deep form of meditation that traditionally begins with three deep breaths and a massive coronary.

Well these men are nihilists, which is exhausting. Death? Infinite Ice Nap? Are we splitting hairs?  

It’s worth noting that there’s probably more to this than stupidity.  Apparently there have been accusations that the followers are claiming he’s still alive in an effort to maintain control of property owned by the guru.  Which is exactly the plot of Weekend at Bernie’s.

But these guys really thought it out pretty well.  If the dead guy just has to sit still inside an ice block and meditate, they don’t have to pull off all the whacky dancing antics.  Bad movie, but a good con.  It’s like an awful David Blaine trick as an entire movie.  It’s a David Blaine show.

Followers insist their dead, frozen guru is “just meditating”: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/03/14/dead-frozen-indian-guru-ashutosh-maharaj-is-just-meditating-followers-insist/

And in “Hanukkah of St. Patrick’s Day” news, Israelis get wasted for Purim, so the National Police carried out raids on kiosks, clubs, and parks last Saturday, to prevent the illegal sale of drugs and alcohol to all the young partygoers that somehow have vices, despite god.

And those Hassidic stoners are hard core.  Have you ever seen kosher cocaine?  Plus they can’t use fire on the Sabbath so they have to mainline most of their shit.  And their needles are curly.

Coincidentally, this holiday finds its Biblical origin in the book of Esther, and it’s therefore a mitzvah to read Esther this time of year.  So like it or not, Yahweh owes us one mitvah credit, because we’ll be talking about that very book on next week’s Holy Babble.  I’m hoping to save up mitzvah credits, and redeem them for the giant stuffed Moses.

If we pool ours together we might be able to get a plague of locusts… which would be awesome at a revival.

According to a genuine Jewish person, who learned this from a Rabbi … Another part of Purim tradition – beyond drunken debauchery – involves eating a vagina-inpsired cookie called hamentashen.  I’m a feminist … Let’s roll with it …

30 seconds on the clock for “Genital-Inspired Holidays and Their Related Foods”

The… what?  Alright, that’s hard… you go first.

Yeah it’s a weird one … The hamentashen works better as a tradition for Gash Wednesday …

PuRim Jobs, on the other hand, call for Felch’s Grape Jelly.

Tits-mas – Milk and coochies.

All Taints Day – Drizzlings of Warm Papal Syrup

St. Fat Dick’s Day – No food, of course; but the traditional drinks would be Cocke’s Single Malt or maybe a Pud-weiser.

Yanksgiving – Cans Full of Manberry Sauce

Which immediately precedes Hairy Palm Sunday – Jerked Chicken

Swalloween – And the tradition would be Twizzlers as a felching straw? Jizzlers. (…)

How about the Jewish celebration of Ass-over where they Harvest Pudding from Matzo Balls?

Twinko De Mayo – Cream Filled Hostesses

Vaginese New Year – Twat and Sour Soup

Girth Day – Gapin’ Egg and Cheese

Rama-dangly Bits – But there’s no food because you’re not supposed to swallow.

Israeli police raid drug and alcohol kiosks to curtail Purim partying: http://www.jpost.com/National-News/Police-mark-Purim-with-kiosk-drug-and-youth-drinking-raids-345522

And on that fatwa bait, we’ll close out the headlines for tonight.  Heath, thanks as always.

Jew-Manji!

And when we come back, George Hrab will cause me to go all unwittingly fanboy.

Outro:

Before we blow out the candles tonight I wanted to issue two apologies and a correction.  A few weeks ago I declared Dave our most generous donor of all time without realizing that David also donated on the same week which led to a bit of confusion, especially after I played a Farnsworth quote from David who mistakenly thought he was our most generous donor of all time.  So I want to apologize to both Dave and David for all the confusion.  I also want to apologize to everyone for the confusing apology.

I also wanted to update everyone on the status of the diatribe book.  It should still be available on the day this episode is released, though it might not be available until late in the day.  It’ll be on e-book retailers across the interwebs and we’ll have all the info on how to purchase your copy on the website so keep up with us there or look for it online “The Scathing Atheist Presents: Diatribes, Volume One; 50 Essays From a Godless Misanthrope”

Also, if you don’t subscribe to our YouTube channel you’re missing out.  We just posted the first illustrated version of Lucinda’s Bible Stories for Kids, complete with animated ass-hamster so I strongly encourage you to check us out there.  You can find a link on the shownotes to this episode, on our Facebook page, on our Twitter timeline and, of course, our YouTube channel.

Wanna wish a happy birthday to friend of the show Wesley from the Atheist Nomads podcast, who has grown quite adept at orbiting the sun over the years.  Happy birthday bro, here’s to many more.

Of course I have to thank Heath for his Occam’s Razor sharp wit, I need to thank Lucinda for opening the show and I need to toss out one more big thanks to the funkiest caucasian from the Caucasus, George Hrab.  Once again, you’ll find links to his music, his podcast and more on the shownotes for this episode at Scathing Atheist (dot) com.

http://www.geologicpodcast.com/

Also need to thank Tanner Campbell of the No God Cast Podcast for providing this week’s Farnsworth Quote.  He’s doing some really innovative stuff with fundraisers, secular partnerships and community building so I’d strongly encourage you to check out his show, which you’ll also find linked on the shownotes for this episode.

http://nogodcast.com/

But most of all, of course, we need to thank this week’s best people; Tim, Wesley, April, Kenny, Howard, Steve, David, Shelby, Vinne, Geoff, Cliff, Liam, Jeffrey and Aiden.  Tim and Wesley, whose erections are measured on the Mohs Scale; April and Kenny, whose very proximity is considered a performance enhancing drug; Howard and Steve, who kill up to 99.9% of harmful bacteria on contact; David and Shelby, who are so intriguing Waldo looks for them; Vinnie and Geoff, whose orgasms register on seismometers; Cliff and Liam, whose swordsmanship continue to keep the interdimensional invaders at bay; and Jeffrey and Aiden, who are so sexy the very mention of their surnames just made 8% of our audience come.

These fourteen noble and valiant souls have earned their way into both my heart and my outro this week by giving us money.  Not everyone has the combination of generosity, sophistication and raw sexual magnetism required to give us money, but if you think you have what it takes, you’ll find the donate button on the right side of the homepage at Scathing Atheist (dot) com.

A number of people have also contacted us to see if they can support us through Patreon (dot) com.  We’re setting up an account there this week so we’ll have more details on episode 58, along with more details on where and how you can buy the book.

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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It Was Bound to Happen Eventually

February 21, 2014 14 comments

by Noah Lugeons

I got an email yesterday that’s had me a little in the dumps.  It’s something that was bound to happen at some point, but that doesn’t take much of the sting out of it.  I won’t name any names or anything, but a guest I was really hoping to interview on the show just turned me down.  By itself, this is not new.  It’s happened a number of times before.  But this particular guest declined based solely on how raunchy our show gets.

To her credit, she sent a really nice and non-judgmental email in reply to my request, told me she was flattered by the invitation and explained precisely why she was turning it down.  And it wasn’t because we swear too much or make too many dick jokes, but rather because we have no filter when it comes to who or what we joke around about.

In her words;

… [T]he jokes about whores and junkies and Chinese midgets crossed a line for me.  I enjoy and appreciate edgy, scathing humor — but not when it punches down. I’m just not willing to be part of that.

Like I said, it was bound to happen eventually.  It’s a risk that we know we’re taking when we record the really cringe-worthy jokes.  We know that we sacrifice some listeners and inevitably sacrifice some really interesting guests.

I was asked about this in a round-about way on a recent interview on “Rational Talk“.  We were discussing the out-of-whack moral compass of the show and how it’s grown edgier as time went on.  We were specifically discussing Heath’s penchant for political incorrectness, but everything I said of him has become true of me as well.

When we first started the show, I was a lot pickier about what I would and wouldn’t let in.  I never shied away from an opinion, but some of Heath’s more over-the-top racist, sexist, Chinese midgetist jokes wound up on the cutting room floor.  I would talk to him about it afterword and I would offer in defense the excuse that it “went too far.”

But how far is too far?  It’s an arbitrary cultural line and, of course, it’s one that we wanted to cross.  But I wanted to dip my toe in the water of “too far” and Heath wanted to dive in.   And his justification makes perfect sense to me.  If we allow a joke that is “a little” racist but not “really” racist, it’s as though we’re endorsing a certain amount of racism.  It’s as though we’re saying “this much racism is okay.”  But if we allow the joke to live all the way on the other side, it’s impossible to ignore the sarcasm.  It’s impossible not to see how tongue-in-cheek the act is.

Let me be clear, we use our platform to denounce racism, sexism, homophobia and child abuse.  But along the way we joke about racism, sexism, homophobia and child abuse.  And since any joke on any of those subjects “crosses the line”, we cross the line.  And we’ve rejected the notion that it’s okay as long as you swim in the shallow end.

All that being said, I don’t begrudge my would-be guest her decision.  She didn’t say that she we shouldn’t be doing the show, she didn’t say she thought we should tone it down.  She simply didn’t want to lend her name to it.  I admire the principle even if I disagree with it.

Still, would have been a really cool interview though.

Categories: Podcast Updates

Join Noah Live on Atheists on Air Tonight!

January 20, 2014 Leave a comment

by Noah Lugeons

In the year and 3 days that we’ve been doing this, I’ve done a number of guest spots on other podcasts.  I’ve been interviewed solo, I’ve been interviewed with Heath, I’ve been a panelist, I’ve been a contestant, but tonight I’ll be trying something I haven’t done before; I’ll be appearing on a live call-in show.

First, the show.  It’s called Atheists on Air and I first became aware of it when Cecil from Cognitive Dissonance tossed out a plug for the show a few episodes back.  He’s got pretty discriminating taste in podcasts so I dutifully checked it out and I was impressed.  It’s well thought out, the hosts are engaging, witty and stellar examples of secularism in action.  The show is well edited (and not over-edited) and takes your time seriously.  They do mammoth shows once a week and smaller shows daily so they’re certainly not slacking on the grunt work.

I got a request to appear on the show a few days back and it was one of the funniest and most clever pieces of email I’ve ever received.  Even if I hadn’t heard the show, I think I’d have agreed to the appearance based solely on the strength of the invitation.

The episode will be available in archive soon, but if you’d like to get it fresh off the presses (or if you’d like to call in with a question or comment), you’ll find all the requisite information here.  Tonight’s topic is circumcision, which I’ve found to be a surprisingly  polemical issue within the secular community, so it should make for a great conversation.

We’re starting at 7 but if you miss the start, don’t hesitate to make a rockstar entrance and join us later.  I believe we’ll be recording until 10 so we should have plenty of time to get to everyone’s questions.

 

Dusting Off my Old Tarot Cards

January 15, 2014 6 comments

by Noah Lugeons

As many of you know, I spent a number of years drowning in spiritual woo before finally admitting to myself that it was all bullshit.  And when I look back on those years it occurs to me that my conversion to reason probably would have happened a lot sooner if it wasn’t for those damned Tarot Cards.

I got my first set at the ripe and impressionable age of 14 from a friend.  He’d bought them a year or two earlier along with a little book on how to read them.  He never used them and I was fascinated so he told me to keep them.

It’s important to note that I never read a book about cold reading.  I never read a book along the lines of “How to Trick People into Thinking You’re Psychic” or “How to Bullshit Your Way Through a Tarot Reading”.  I read books that claimed that Tarot cards were magical incarnations of universal symbology that would act as a window to the spirit world.  By and large the books would just give you horoscope-style platitudes you could associate with each card and left it to the reader to figure out cold-reading on their own.

And as it turns out, that’s not hard to do.  In fact, it’s so easy that one can reasonably learn cold-reading without ever realizing that they were doing it.  This is certainly facilitated by the fact that virtually everyone I ever had the occasion to read Tarot for really, really wanted them to be magical.  They were always quite accommodating in my unconscious  desire to trick them.  And even when I walked away from a reading saying “well, I guess the magic just wasn’t there this time”, my querent was quick to dissuade me by telling me how amazing the experience was.  And instead of responding with an incredulous “really?” I’d smile and nod and tell myself that I must have been wrong.

Of course, the subject of the reading wasn’t the only one desperate to be fooled.  I wanted to wield magical powers at least as much as the people I was reading them for so I was willing to seize on just about any shred of dubious evidence that confirmed that.  It was a mutual feedback loop of horseshit and it kept me satisfied for a decade.

To be perfectly honest, I kept reading the cards long after I’d admitted to myself that they were nonsense and I did so with the paper-thin justification that I was still giving good advice.  Somehow I decided that misleading people about the very nature of the universe was okay as long as it came with a generically positive message.

I can’t pinpoint when that stopped being enough for me, but it was at least a decade ago.  And while I haven’t had occasion to use them in ten years the memories and the beautiful artwork of my favorite deck has made them impossible to part with.

So fast-forward to about a month ago.  I was listening to Cognitive Dissonance and Cecil was talking about having never been to a psychic.  He said he’d love to have the experience to draw on, but he’d be damned if he was ever going to financially support those charlatans.  So I sent along a message letting him know that I’d be happy to give him a Tarot reading over Skype sometime if he was serious about it.

Well, after a bit of back and forth, he invited me on his show to give a simultaneous reading to both him and his co-host.  We’ll be recording it this Thursday, so over the last few days I’ve knocked the dust off of my old cards, brushed up on a few of the zodiacal associations and did a few practice readings.  And much like rewatching a film I loved as a child, I was overwhelmed the entire time by just how mind-numbingly stupid the whole practice is.  How could I ever have enjoyed this?  How could I ever have bought into this?  And how could I have ever fooled anyone else in to buying it?

I suppose that it’s possible I’m just not as sharp with them as I once was.  Maybe I’ve just lost the magic.  And, far more likely, maybe I was embarrassingly stupid ten years ago.  Whichever is the case, I have to admit that I’m happy about it.  After all, the worst thing I could be when doing a Tarot reading on a skeptical show is convincing.

No word yet on when the episode will be available, but as soon as I’ve got a link in hand I’ll be posting it here, Facebook and Twitter.

Hour Long Special in the Making

August 2, 2013 2 comments

by Noah Lugeons

With Episode 24 still warm from the presses, Heath, Lucinda and I are already hard at work putting together episode 25.  And if we can pull off all the stuff we’re trying to do, it’s gonna be a big one.

We’re commemorating the end of the Pentateuch with an hour long review episode and it looks like we might be bringing a couple of different special guests in to help us celebrate this milestone.  If all goes as planned we’ll be joined by a literary scholar who can help us answer some of the burning questions about what the fuck is going on with the bible.  We’re also trying to secure a special guest to join Lucinda, Heath and I for the Holy Babble segment, an insanely funny and knowledgeable atheist that you might recall from his papal bid in episode 4.

We’ve got a few other things in the works as well, of course, but if I’ve learned anything in 7 months of podcasting is that you can never count on things going as planned.  What you can count on is us doing everything we can to make sure that you feel like the 60 minutes you spend with us next week will be worth your hour.

Categories: Podcast Updates

Episode 22: Partial Transcript

July 18, 2013 2 comments

by Heath Enwright, Lucinda Lugeons and Noah Lugeons

Sponsor:

Today’s episode of the Scathing Atheist is brought to you by Deuteromino’s Pizza.  Try some of our angelic wings, our cheese’s crust,  or a delicious salad with all the cruci-fixins.  Every pie is sliced by Christ, just for you.

Deuteromino’s: Delivering you from evil in 30 generations or less.

And now, the Scathing Atheist…

Intro:

It’s Thursday, it’s July 18th and during Ramadan, Muslims are like Mogwais in reverse.

I’m your host Noah Lugeons and from sweltering New York, New York, this is the Scathing Atheist.

In this week’s episode;

  • We’ll learn that Deuteronomy is really repetitive,

  • We’ll learn that Deuteronomy is really repetitive,

  • And we’ll have to turn off the window unit while we record

But first, the Diatribe…

Diatribe:

This past Saturday, Heath and I were invited to emcee a roast for a mutual friend that was moving out of town.

We were delighted to do it, but the guy we were roasting is exactly the kind of guy you hate to roast: He has no flaws.  He’s in good shape, he’s good looking, he’s confident, he’s talented, he’s intelligent and he seems to have a new woman on his arm every weekend.  Not exactly the cornucopia of personal defects that you hope for in a roast victim.  So most of us were forced to make jokes about the number of different women he’d slept with in the time we knew him.

Now,  it’s a roast and in a roast the guest of honor isn’t the only one that gets ripped on.  Everybody rips on everybody and that’s the fun of it.  We make fat jokes about the fat guy, we make bald jokes about the bald guy, we make timid jokes about the black guy.  And I’m the atheist guy so they make atheist jokes about me.

It’s a roast.  I’m a good sport about this stuff so I smile and I laugh along.  Hell, I started making jokes about god early on so I wasn’t about to take anything said about me or my beliefs personally.  But there was one brief exchange in the roast that I thought was worth reflecting on.

Before we get to the exchange, I need to play a clip to set it up.  It’s a skit I wrote that revolved around a mock-scrapbook of memorabilia that I was leafing through:

(First Sound Clip)

A little later, the dude that we all knew was gonna bomb was up.  It was an awkward four minutes of him trying to figure out why he’d volunteered for this and as he wrapped up, he closed by turning to me and making corrections regarding two things I’d said that evening:

(Second Sound Clip)

Like I said, it’s a roast.  I definitely didn’t take his little “believe in god” aside personally.  Earlier in the night one guy did a mock dialogue where I tried to explain the intellectual justification for my atheism to Saint Peter (which was actually fucking hilarious) and another guy thanked me for providing an example of atheism that would lead so many people to Christ.  It’s a roast.  That’s the point.

And if the only time a Christian had ever said to me “You should try believing in god” was during a roast, I wouldn’t have bothered to reflect on it at all.  But I think we’ve all heard this or the equivalent of this plenty of times before.  You say “I’m an atheist” and somebody just stares at you wide-eyed and jaw agape and offers an incredulous, “Really!?”

It’s hard to imagine this kind of reaction to other groups.  It’s hard to imagine a person saying, “Have you tried not being a Jew?” or, “Muslim, huh?  How the fuck did that happen?” or “Did you become a Christian because Buddha disappointed you?” but in at least most of this country, when you meet an atheist it’s socially acceptable to throw holy water at them and yell “The power of Christ compels you!”

In the interest of fairness, there are also plenty of places in this country where you’d get the same blank-faced stare if you said you were Christian.  Places like institutions of higher learning, science labs and the East Village.  And in the parts of this country where I grew up you could earn such a stare for any answer to the faith question other than “Baptist”, so we’re not the only ones who face this kind of shit.

That being said, I think it’s fair to say that through most of America, atheist is the only religious choice that people feel no social qualms about trying to talk you out of.  And I think it says a lot about religious people that they’re more comfortable with you having a religion that is irreconcilable with their own than they are with you having no religion at all.

Headlines:

Joining me for headlines tonight is a man who needs an introduction, Heath Enwright.  Heath, you’ve been introduced.  Say something to all the listeners.

I’d like to apologize for a Sarah Palin joke last week that mentioned her son Trig, who happens to have Down’s Syndrome.  He’s actually a lot brighter than you might think.  He’s only 5 years old, and he’s already reading as many newspapers as his mother.

All of them?

In our lead story tonight, it turns out that despite rumors to the contrary, atheists are normal humans.  And apparently a lot of people were waiting for some hard data before they were willing to make this call.

Well, not quite normal.  Apparently we do have a normal ‘personality distribution’ . . .

But our atheist group has statistically better IQ test-taking ability, or IQ.  

We’re also – by definition – better at ontology, and that’s really the crux of the whole argument, isn’t it?

Yes, but the study was not without its flaws.  It sloppily categorized nonbelievers into 6 groups and the divisions prejudiced the fuck out of their conclusions.  Some of the categories made sense; they separate out “Seeker Agnostic” and “Non-Theist”, which they define as a person who is completely apathetic to religion.  But after that shit gets pretty wonky.

Like Gene-Wilder-as-Willy Wonky . . .  

The whole study seems like a confused attempt at examining a superior race of aliens.  

Were they hoping to use atheist stem cells to help cure faith cancer?  Like real faith healing?  

Not sure where they were going, but I don’t think they got there.  Here are three separate categories of non-believer, according to University of Tennessee researchers: “The kind of atheist that reads books and learns stuff”, “the kind of atheist who is an activist” and “The kind of atheist who thinks religion is harmful to society”.  They actually treat those three characteristics as though they were mutually exclusive.

Doesn’t it seem like the study was conceived by the characters from Lord of the Flies?  

One of the kids says “Hey I think I should explain what a Venn Diagram is.”

“Put that nerd’s head on a stick!!!”  

Right, and because they ignored Piggy,they were able to make some insanely stupid statements like “activist atheists are the least narcissistic” and “anti-theists are the most angry and dogmatic”, without bothering to point out that since these two qualities almost always co-exist in a single human, they’re using shit like dogmatism and narcissism to define the fucking categories in the first place.

These guys love them some Juicy Juice logic.  

“But it says what I’m saying on the tele-prompter, and in the fictional book about which we’re arguing.”

In all, I suppose I have to be happy that they’re not treating “thinks god is bullshit” as an abhorrent monolith.

Study shows that nonbelievers are as diverse in personality as any other group: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/07/02/atheism-study-authors-congratulations-non-believers-youre-just-like-everybody-else/

And in a transparent attempt to force Heath and I to make testicle jokes tonight, Ball State made waves this week by hiring one Guillermo Gonzalez as a new professor of astronomy despite his 2004 authorship of a book that pretends that intelligent design is valid science.

When he gets fired for lying on his resume about being a scientist, the headline will surely read: “Ball Sacks Nutty Professor”  

Heath Enwright, king of the ball joke.

Apparently “The Privileged Planet” was bad enough to prompt 120 faculty members at Iowa State to sign a petition renouncing it when it was rumored he would be working there.  Gonzalez claims this was a political move and that a single blogger who isn’t even an astronomer was responsible for it.  So yeah, not only does he believe god made shingles on purpose, but he also believes that one blogger can be responsible for a petition of 120 people.

And why would the blogger (or anyone else) need to be an astronomer to know that intelligent design is complete nonsense?  

Is he suggesting we should go check with the astronomy community, and they’ll back him up on the intelligent design thing?!?  

What’s worse, this news comes on the heels of another non-testicular reason to make fun of Ball State.  There’s also an ongoing investigation into Ball State assistant professor of physics Eric Hedin who is accused of essentially teaching a Creationism class in the science department.

Shouldn’t teaching wrong things – in any class anywhere – be considered a bad thing?

Also, gotta squeeze more testicle headline jokes in here while we can . . .

It’d be a slap in the face not to.  There’s plenty of low hanging fruit.

Facing Hairy Situation, Ball Trims Staff.

More of a sticky situation.

There’s a new wrinkle everywhere you look.

Now Ball clearly has two dicks.

Feeling His Taint, Ball Gives Hedin Shaft.

What can I say, you’re the king.

Ball State hires creationist professor: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/07/09/ball-state-comes-under-scrutiny-for-hiring-professor-who-wrote-book-on/

And in this week’s child-fucking report, the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child has posed a list of tough questions to the Vatican in preparation for the stern talking to they’ll be giving them next January over the systematic child rape, child torture and consequent global cover up that has come to define the papacy in recent years.

Define is a strong word . . .

But “Rape Scandal Blues” is definitely track 1 side 1 of the Vatican’s greatest hits.  

I like the older stuff, but they seem to prefer the younger stuff, and that’s illegal.  

As insubstantial as a voluntary meeting with a group that has no enforcement powers may seem, this will actually represent the first time that any international panel has had the chance to publicly question the Holy See about the scandal.

“Did you guys rape those kids?”

“No, no, no,  . . . a bit . . . we did do the nose . . .”   —  “Many of them had headaches!”

The Vatican, for its part, is quick to ensure the UN that they are doing everything necessary to keep pedophiles away from kids, they’ve weeded out the bad seeds, they’ve definitely stopped running slave-laundries in Ireland and they can totally prove it.  But they can also totally pull out of the treaty on the Rights of the Child, so they’re gonna definitely do one or the other.

Too bad they didn’t pull out of those kids assholes when asked nicely the first time.  

I think I understand part of the confusion though.  

In the Bible, know means begat, but in the real world, No means No.  

So these weren’t rapes as much as homo-phone issues.  Just a little case of consent getting lost in translation.    

UN probes Vatican child abuse scandal: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/07/10/uk-vatican-abuse-un-idUKBRE9690LK20130710

And in “How the fuck are we even discussing this?” news, the Senate may soon consider a revision to FEMA policy that would allow untaxed houses of worship to collect federal disaster relief money.

FEMA doesn’t have time for this.    

They’re just barely started with fishing te black people out of New Orleans harbor.  

Also, I thought those houses of worship were designed more intelligently, to withstand even the most catastrophic acts of intelligent design.      

Under current law, federal disaster relief can only be used to rebuild and repair homes, businesses and infrastructure.  And since churches aren’t necessary, should be insured and can go fuck themselves, they’re left to fend for themselves with hopes that the combination of not being taxed and selling a product that doesn’t exist for money that does will be enough to keep them through hard times.

Yeah what’s the overhead on selling indulgences?  Not getting a good enough markup on those lies?  They manage to get people to pay today for an impossible hamburger they won’t get until after they die on Tuesday.  How fucking dumb do you have to be?!   

But thanks to the bi-partisan pandering of Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri and Democratic bitch that I actually voted for Kirsten Gillibrand, all of that could change.  Both our tax dollars and our potential future disaster relief might be diverted to characters from Jew-sop’s fables.

How are churches going to learn to compete in the free market economy?  

You know the competitive marketplace loved so dearly by the political party they hijacked?  

But don’t worry, the bill does stipulate that the federal money could only be used to cover the costs of the building itself, the doors, the windows, the building envelope, physical plant support spaces, electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, sprinkler systems and related site improvements.  So apparently they’re not allowed to use federal money to buy bibles or pay off sex abuse victims but everything else would be okay.

Didn’t think this would need mentioning or repeating, but money is fungible.  The $10,000 FEMA check stolen from secular taxpayers, is very similar in value to 10,000 different dollars.  

By the same token, giving the church 40,000 taxpayer quarters, or 100,000 taxpayer dimes would also clearly violate the First Amendment.

Senate may lift House of Worship ban on FEMA: http://www.christianpost.com/news/us-senate-may-take-up-bill-to-lift-fema-ban-on-aid-to-churches-100094/

And finally tonight, we bring you the story of the this month’s greatest sleight against god.  Montage of crazy YouTube preachers, would you care to guess what it was?

(Soundclip)

No, I’m sorry, while I’m sure that all those things pissed him off, he also got snubbed from a Sam Adams commercial this month.

Snubbing God in your beer commercial  . . . Always a good decision.

This might be the best God snubbing decision since Roe v. Wade.

The ad in question uses a brief appended quote from the Declaration of Independence, with the spokesman saying that people were (quote) “endowed with certain unalienable rights” while conspicuously leaving out the part about those certain unalienable rights coming from a magical man-fairy.

You said “coming from a magical man-fairy” . . .

Sounds like a Joseph on Joseph version of the immaculate conception.  

Those type of conceptions do tend to be immaculate.

Imagine how much better the world would be if abortion had been legal when God went all Roethlisberger on Mary?

Yeah, even the conservatives tend to make exceptions in the case of incest and rape and that was both.

Was that God’s first time too, by the way?  Did God lose his virginity during a magical rape when he was over 1000 years old?    

And proving once more that there is no rung of pettiness under which religious people can’t limbo, the Sam Adams facebook page was bombarded by Christian jizz-rinsers demanding that the company love and fear the lord, our god, and threatening to boycott the brand if they don’t issue an apology to Jesus.

The beer is named after Sam Adams so why didn’t they just use the founding father’s actual, documented opinions on religion?  

Tell me this wouldn’t move some brew:  “Sam Adams’ Beer; because Catholicism ‘leads directly to the worst anarchy and confusion, civil discord, war and bloodshed’.  Please drink responsibly.”

Idiots pissed about beer commercial not paying homage to god: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2013/07/samuel-adams-defends-ad-omitting-god-reference/

Poem:

“Deuteronomy in Rhyme”

by Noah Lugeons

Deuteronomy’s on to me, I’ve got say, honestly;

I’m not paying the bible the attention I wanna be.

It’s long and it’s dull and it’s so full of bull,

that the stress of the process is hurting my skull.

I’m plodding through and I’m human; I’ve got shit to do, man.

I can’t study each verse like a Hassidic Jew can,

So I skim and I skip, and I flip through and scan,

I glance at the footnotes here and there when I can.

But I’ll admit I hit bits I don’t get and I’m split,

Should I study it further or not give a shit?

After all, we’re not scholars and I got no white collar;

I’d trade biblical knowledge for Liberian dollars.

Besides, most verses are worthless like the begats and the curses,

That god intersperses with no discernable purpose.

What’s worse is the verses they don’t read in the churches

I’m not sure why they skip ‘em, though, it be a hell of a service.

But I digress.  And I guess what I mean to express,

Is that no one who reads this thing knows what it says.

How could you?  Why would you?  It’d do you no good, you’d

be mem’rizing words that no one understood.  True,

I guess there’s a few who have nothing to do,

that obsess over passages and pretend that they’re true.

But what about the incredulous rest of us who stopped listening at Exodus

We’re bored and it’s nebulous and among the effects of this,

Are low comprehension and even lower retention

So in hopes of prevention and to hold your attention.

Moses proposes verboseness, he know us;

He rightly supposes we’ll be losing our focus.

So Deuteronomy’s a colloquy that repeats all the policies,

God laid down earlier about sex and idolatry,

A dishonest anthology that restates the chronology,

And explains the pathology of Jewish theology.

So the gist, if you missed it, is that when god gets pissed

It’ll likely consist of him swinging his fist.

He insists he exists and if his laws are dismissed,

You’ll be reaping his vengeance and he offers a list:

And it goes like this…

He’ll curse your cities and your countries and your basket and your bowl,

He’ll curse your womb and curse your vineyard and your cattle and your soul.

He’ll cause your enemies to rise before you, sword in bloody hand,

He’ll curse you coming, curse you going, drive you screaming from your land.

The lord will send to you disaster, and frustrate your every whim,

He’ll cover you in leprosy from limb to fucking limb.

He’ll inflict you with consumption, inflammation, heat and drought,

He’ll turn the ground below to iron so no sustenance can sprout.

Your corpse will be a meal for every creature on the earth,

And your wife will eat your children and her bloody afterbirth.

The lord will give you boils, ulcers, scurvy and the itch,

You’ll be abused and robbed and helpless and your home will be a ditch.

Begrudging food to your own brother and to the wife that you embrace,

You’ll be a pariah to your people and he’ll remove you from his grace.

You’ll starve and want for water and screw up everything you touch.

Because the lord is wonderful and he loves you very much.

The Holy Babble:

Ah, Deuteronomy, the rewrite notes of the Pentateuch.  It’s repetitive, immoral, disgusting and verbose, but beyond that, it manages to simultaneously shock and bore you in a way the other books could only dream of.  So joining me to discuss this chore of a book is my lovely wife Lucinda.  Lucinda, welcome to the show.

And of course, triangling out this trifecta is Heath Enwright who you’ll remember from 3 and a half minutes ago.  Heath, welcome back, it’s been a lonely few minutes.

So where does Deuteronomy rank so far in terms of boring?

You get Moses telling us what god told him that he already told us that we already read.  So pretty fucking boring.

It was like reading about somebody being bored by the book they’re reading.

Yeah, the word Deuteronomy literally means “second law”.  It consists of three speeches that Moses gives before he dies and almost no new information comes out.  Sure, there’s an odd testicle-grabbing rule here and a revision to meat slaughtering custom there, but basically he’s just repeating shit.  It’s like getting to the first big battle scene in Braveheart and then listening to Mel Gibson deliver the “They’ll never take our freedom” speech over and over again for an hour and a half.

Except it comes off less like William Wallace, and more like Woody Allen complaining.  It seems like they got Ridley Scott to direct Genesis and Exodus, but by the time they get around to producing Deuteronomy, they’re stuck hiring his suicidal brother.  

  1. We spend the first three chapter listening to Moses brag about his greatest hits.  It basically recaps the bloodiest highlights of Exodus through Numbers.

  2. Then we spend chapter 4 rehashing all the crap that just happened in the first three.  We rehash the rehash.

    1. And reinforce the message that only god is god, god damn it.

  3. And since we’re clearly dealing with Moses’ farewell concert here, you knew he was gonna do “The Ten Commandments”, and he gives us the long version with the full blown sax solo and everything.

  • “Play Exodus: 20!”  “No – Play Exodus: 34!”

  • And of course the asshole musician has to do it all new and different, so nobody really likes it.  “It’s called Deuteronomy: 5 now, man! No more of that tired Exodus crap!”  Wouldn’t want to play it like it sounds on the fucking album that brought everyone to the concert in the first place.

  1. Then in chapter 7 God spells out the importance of a good, thorough genocide.

  • If you’re a Jew, you gotta be worried about running into some sort of genocidal backlash one day.  Although their strategy of concentrating themselves all in a safe place like Israel seems to be working.      

  1. By chapter 9 Moses has completed his transformation to Chris Farley; “You remember that time when I went up on that mountain and talked to god for a month?  That was awesome.”

  2. More rehashing, but an interesting phrase in my translation at 10:16 “Circumcise, then, the foreskin of your heart, and do not be stubborn any longer.”  So let’s hope the biblical literalists never make it this far…

  • We don’t want those dicks or hearts getting hard, now do we?

  1. By chapter 12, Moses’ Alzheimer’s has turned into full blown dementia.  Now he’s telling the Jews they can eat meat in the same way you would eat gazelle or deer, which are, of course, vegetables.

  • And we’re reminded that you can only be Jewish with the help of union rabbis at the union temple.

  1. Then we learn that if you should ever have tangible evidence that god is bullshit, it’s just god testing you.  

    1. Oh, and kill the person with the evidence.

  2. We rehash the rules about diet then slavery, then holidays, then judges.  I swear this fucking book reads like a filibuster.

    1. Reads like a James Joyce filibuster

    2. Reads like a Dan Dennett analysis of a James Joyce filibuster.

  3. Give your shit to the priests when they tell you to, kill sorcerers and if anything in this book later proves to be untrue, we know it isn’t the word of god.  Because it says so.

  4. Moses repeats himself some more and throws out the “eye for an eye” line.

  5. And then in 20, Moses spells out the rules of engagement:

    1. Before making war with a city, at least offer to enslave all the citizens.

  • So you start by offering them a Billy Martin.  “Listen, we’re willing to overlook the whole thing where you stole our land while we spent 40 years over there in the woods . . . Just submit to slavery, we takes the women you have on you, and we calls it even.”

      1. Yeah, we’re awesome slaveowners.  Tell you what, I poke out your eye, I’ll let you go.  Promise.

    1. Be sure to kill all the men.

    2. Steal the women, children, livestock and riches.

    3. Unless the women and children are Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites or Jebusites.  In that case, kill them, too.

    4. And whatever you do, don’t cut down the fruit trees like a barbarian.

  1. In chapter 21 we get CSI: Promised Land.  If you find a dead body in the street, just break a cow’s neck, wash your hands over it… you know, the usual stuff.

    1. Also, marrying captive women is okay if they’re bald and naked.

  • Slave harem etiquette is important.  We’re not savages.  

    1. And if you’re into government sponsored murder, don’t hang the victim on a pole for more than a day.  In the sequel, we’ll get into using 2 poles to form a T-shape that’s useful for public murder of Jew-traitors.

  1. Then we get the chapter where Glenn Beck gets his morality from:

    1. Here we finally learn that god hates trannies, though we were suspecting it the whole time.

  • “Bitches shalt not steal my boxers and favorite T-shirts after sex, and then wear them home.”

  1. We learn the etiquette of when you can and can’t stone someone to death for having a vagina.

  • Oh I missed something – when can’t you do that?

    • The Sabbath?

  • And don’t forget to bleed profusely when your husband fucks you.

  1. We learn that if a woman is raped in town she gets killed along with her rapist, but if she’s raped in the country, she gets to just be a rape victim.

  • Being female, in a town, and out of earshot – that’s basically asking for it.

    1. And again with the fucking tassels…

  1. Chapter 23 starts with the words, “No one whose testicles are crushed or whose penis is cut off shall be admitted to the assembly of the lord.”

    1. More on nocturnal emissions

    2. God actually gives proper instructions for taking a shit.

  • No shit, cum, or atheists allowed in a foxhole.  

  1. There’s a chapter that’s almost moral…

  2. And then we’re back to crazy, random shit.  This is the chapter where we get gems like:

    1. If your brother dies you have to fuck his wife and if you refuse, she gets one of your sandals and she spits in your face.

    2. If a woman grabs a guy’s nut-sack when he’s fighting her husband, you should cut off her hand.

    3. Kill every Amalekite on the fucking planet.

  3. This book is a sign that says “Read this sign”.  I swear, half the book is spent saying “obey this book or I’ll fuck your skull”.

  4. And I think it’s worth mentioning that In three chapters of curses, there’s no mention of an afterlife, no mention of postmortem retribution, no concept of heaven or hell.

  5. Now, follow me on this one.  This book tells the story of the writing of this book.  And then in chapter 31 it starts talking about shit that happened once the book that I’m reading was done being written.  So the Deuteronomy explains the aftermath of the writing of Deuteronomy… and the death of it’s author, but that’s later.

  6. Even back then they had to know that they weren’t gonna get away with having Moses say the exact same fucking things he’s repeated half a dozen times again.

    1. Yeah, so in chapter 32 he sings them!  He actually sings about how skull-raped you’ll be if you piss god off.

  7. And apparently the Israelites were holding up their lighters, so he breaks into another song in chapter 33.  One for each tribe for fuck’s sake.

    1. By now it’s clear that God said, “Go say your last words and then I’m gonna kill you, Moe” and Moses is obviously just milking it at this point.

  8. And then Moses dies on a mountain and according to the book it’s a pretty spectacular death, but you know how it is when people tell you about their own deaths; they always exaggerate.

It was frustrating to learn that we could have just skipped from Genesis to Deuteronomy and not missed anything but Moses’ origin story and some Tabernacle details.

In all honesty, though, I’m actually kind of looking forward to Joshua now… it’s like I’m done jerking off but I’m still watching for the money shot.  You know, like, I don’t care about anything that’s going on in the story, but I’ve made it so far I want to see these bitchy jews inherit the holy land already.

Or at the very least, see some jizz on somebody’s face, so I can get up and wipe my hands on the cat already.  

Seems like exactly the right note to close on, so Heath, Lucinda, thanks again for joining me.

We’re gonna take a few weeks off of this book, but the Holy Babble will be back in three weeks to wrap up the Pentateuch in an hour long “5 down, 61 to go” special.

Outro:

Before we shut down the oven for the night, I wanted to take a minute to thank this week’s most unabashedly, flagrantly, shamelessly awesome humans, Rob, Richard, Andrew and Ann, who affirmed their high-minded beneficence this week by giving us money.  In addition to providing all the stuff that makes this show possible, giving us money has been clinically tested to improve lung function or something.  Seriously, because advertisers now say shit has been “clinically tested” for stuff and hope you hear “clinically proven”.

Remember, if you’d like to be slathered in praise by someone who knows nothing about your discriminating taste if podcast financing, you’ll find the donate button on the right side of our homepage at Scathing Atheist (dot) com.

I also need to throw a big thanks and a big shout out to President of the Atheist Alliance of America, Chuck Vonderahe for providing this week’s Farnsworth quote.  It’s a great organization, they do great work and they also have a great convention coming up next month in Boston.

The Atheist Alliance of America’s 2013 National Convention is stacked.  Host of the Thinking Atheist Seth Andrews will Emcee and the speaker list includes Dr. Steven Pinker, Ed Buckner, Aron Ra and the keynote speaker Paula Apsell, Senior Executive Producer of NOVA.  They’ve got early-bird pricing still going so check out the link on our shownotes for the complete list of speakers and events and do it with great haste.

http://www.aaaboston2013.com/

Oh yeah, and follow us on FaceTube and subscribe to us Twicher Plus and don’t forget to leave us a review on iTunes or wherever you found us in the first place.

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.

Defending Acerbic Atheism

June 28, 2013 1 comment

by Noah Lugeons

A few people have asked me what atheist podcasts I listen to and there are only a handful I always recommend:

  • Atheist Experience
  • Cognitive Dissonance
  • The Imaginary Friends Show
  • Reasonable Doubts
  • Thank God I’m Atheist
  • The Thinking Atheist

There are a number of others that I listen to regularly, but those are the six that I make sure to listen to every week.  Those are the six that never seem to back up at all on my iPod.  Sure, I listen to An American Atheist, C-Webb’s Sunday School, Atheist Nomads, BarRoom Atheists, Irreligiosophy, Godless Bitches, Post Rapture Looting, Thomas and the Bible… I’ve constantly got plenty of shows to catch up on.  But the six on that list up top are my “the day they come out” podcasts.

If you listen to the show, you know that nobody in the atheist podcasting world thinks of one another as “competition”, but rather we see ourselves as allies in a social movement, each providing a different perspective on a complex series of issues.  I’d never be able to offer the carefully weighed counter-apologetics the guys from Reasonable Doubts can give you; I’d scream “fuck you” repeatedly at half the asswipes that call Atheist Experience; I could never offer the rational, ecumenical voice that Frank and Dan on Thank God I’m Atheist provide; and I could never make the kind of snorts and hacking laugh sounds that Cecil manages on Cognitive Dissonance.  Everyone brings something unique to the table.

That’s why I was so excited the other day when Dan (that’s Thank God I’m Atheist Dan) invited me to join him and Frank on their show to speak for the “acerbic” wing of atheism.  Before we delve into spoiler territory, I should give you a bit of the back story.

On episode 82 of their show, they discussed the new Atheist Monument about to be unveiled in Starke, Florida.  They were excited to see a monument to atheism being erected, but they weren’t happy with the message it sent.  Without going into a ton of details, I can summarize their objection by saying they felt the choice of quotes for the monument were unnecessarily antagonistic.

A week later, one of their listeners wrote in to politely disagree and when they read his email on the air, it turned into a rather comprehensive discussion on how “acerbic” atheists should be.  Is there ever an appropriate time to be downright insulting when delivering an atheist message?  Does it do the movement more harm than good if atheists are seen as arrogant jerks?  Are we turning off the moderate middle?

I felt they did a great job hitting all the major points on the issue, but I ultimately disagreed with their conclusions.  As our listeners are well aware, we’re very fond of the “insult first” approach, but I also think it’s intellectually justifiable in many circumstances.  I sent a quick email to Dan, he responded, I responded, he responded and before long it turned into an invite to continue the conversation on the air.

It turned out I wasn’t the only person who felt moved to send an email about that particular discussion and they wanted to continue talking about the subject.  After all, it’s a damned important one.  But since they both fell more on the “copacetic” end of the spectrum and wanted to make sure they were fairly representing both sides, they reached out to me to speak for the more antagonistic side of the fence.

I was flattered and I accepted without hesitation.  I think it’s an important topic and I think it’s important that we discuss it openly within the movement.  As the movement grows it becomes harder and harder for any one voice to reasonably speak for all of it so we need all the myriad voices speaking together.  We all want to send the same message and we all have the same goal, so as long as we don’t polarize over something as simple as how many naughty words to use, we can all come out the better for the disagreement.

And what I found during the interview was damned encouraging if that’s the goal.  We had an open and frank disagreement and, as the discussion went along, we each conceded points to one another and we all came closer to seeing things from each other’s perspective.  While we all walk away with our preferred approach intact, we also walked away with a better appreciation for what motivates the other (for lack of a better term) wing of the party.

I don’t want to give too much away, but in the end we solve the energy crisis and prove that Jesus was a Sasquatch so you’ll definitely want to listen to it.  I believe it’ll be available on their feed on Saturday, and, of course, I’ll have a link to it here as soon as the episode’s available.

 

Categories: Podcast Updates