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Posts from the ‘Atheism’ Category

TAM 2013 recap episode of the ‘Atheists Today’ show

(Mes amis: yes, I know, this post is a little odd/out of order, as I haven’t yet had an opportunity to write about my (wonderful) experience at TAM 2013, but, considering that the topic of this post is somewhat time-sensitive, I wanted to get it up here as soon as possible. I’ll start working on a TAM recap, soon, though. Anyway, onward!)

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Last night, a few fellow TAM-ers/friends and myself were on a TAM 2013-recap-themed episode of the Atheists Today show, hosted by DW Adams. If you weren’t able to listen live, head over to the episode’s webpage, where you can listen to it on your own time (via the embedded player), or download it directly (.mp3 file), or download it from the iTunes store.

Throughout the show, we had a lot of fun chatting and telling stories, and we also discussed some of the excellent talks and presentations that we saw and how they inspired us and motivated us to do something good, useful, positive, important, real, etc. It’s so important to do something, to use our skills (whatever they may be) in some way and in some context in order to make things happen. We also discussed some of the tools (mostly internet-based) that were brought up in various TAM sessions, many of which “work behind the scenes” (so to speak), providing, in one way or another, subtle but necessary support as we engage in whatever form of skepticism/skeptical activism fulfills our passions and fits us best.

During the show, whenever any of us thought of a talk or a tool that we wanted to make note of, I added the relevant url to the show’s chat box. Later, DW posted them in the episode’s show notes. I’ll add some of them to this post, too, along with a couple of others (these aren’t necessarily in any particular order- they’re just links to/information about *some* of the things that the three of us were most excited by/inspired by/motivated by at TAM this year. I’ll probably write more about a few of these in my upcoming TAM recap, but, for now, here goes):

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Many thanks to DW for having us on. He did a great job and I’m looking forward to listening to future episodes of his podcast. Be sure to visit the Atheists Today website (they have a lot of interesting and useful content/resources there) and also find them on Facebook and on Twitter.

(And I’ll start working on that TAM 2013 recap post soon… (^‿^) ) Thanks!

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My episode of the Skeptic Canary Show

I had a fantastic time on the Skeptic Canary Show today. The hosts, Tom Williamson (blog/Twitter), David James (blog/Twitter), and Paul Hopwood (blog/Twitter), are lovely and intelligent gents who do a great deal of much-needed and important work for the skeptic community, both in the U.K. and online. We had an interesting, fun, and thought-provoking discussion about a variety of topics, including:

  1. Skepticism and skeptical activism
  2. The scope of the skeptic movement (and the difference between skepticism as a movement and skepticism as a methodology)
  3. Applying skepticism to the testable claims made by religions
  4. The crucially important role that rhetoric and effective communication play in skepticism/skeptical activism/the skeptic movement (i.e. determining and making use of the most effective method of informing/persuading/communicating in any given situation and adapting one’s message and argument to whomever our audience happens to be, always making use of the principle of charity, the importance of acknowledging the fact that many people hold on to their irrational/potentially dangerous beliefs for emotional reasons and thus almost certainly cannot and will not be persuaded by facts alone, the brilliance and wisdom of Ray Hyman’s “Proper Criticism“, etc.)
  5. The fact that many of the things that I teach in my rhetoric/composition courses (critical thinking, why it’s absolutely necessary to support all claims and assertions with evidence from quality sources, how to determine whether or not a source is reliable/credible/etc., applying skepticism to everything we read (including our own writing), etc.) can also be valuable tools for skeptics/skeptical activists.
  6. Teaching how to think instead of teaching what to think
  7. Teaching critical thinking
  8. Atheism, how/why/when I became an atheist, and how being an atheist in the U.K. is almost always a very different experience than being an atheist in America
  9. Catholic childhood religious indoctrination and Catholic guilt (and my experience with both)
  10. Skeptic conferences/events (primarily TAMQED, and SkeptiCamp)
  11. TAM 2013 (only a month away now! :) See my recent post about it here)
  12. And, with the help of my favorite Bob in the world, Bob Blaskiewicz (who very kindly took the time to call in during the show), we discussed the Skepticism Across the Curriculum workshop that Bob and Eve and I will be doing at TAM 2013.
  13. (& I’m sure that we talked about lots of other interesting things that I’ve forgotten to include here (I haven’t yet had the chance to listen to the entire podcast of the episode))

And speaking of the podcast: if you’d like to listen to/download the show, it’s available both on the show’s website and via iTunes.

Thanks again to Tom, David, and Paul for having me on! Be sure to listen to the Skeptic Canary Show live each Wednesday (or download the episodes/podcasts) and visit/”like” the show’s Facebook page if you’re so inclined.

I’ll be on the Skeptic Canary Show today!

The Skeptic Canary Show

Yay! I’m going to be on the Skeptic Canary Show today (Wednesday, June 12th). It airs at 7 p.m. BST (which is 11 a.m. PDT/ 2 p.m. EDT/ 6 p.m. GMT, etc.). It’s a fantastic show hosted by Tom Williamson, David James, and Paul Hopwood.

From the episode description:

For this episode your hosts will be joined by writer, speaker, skeptic and atheist Miranda Celeste Hale. We will be talking about the upcoming TAM conference, skepticism, religion and education.

You can listen live, join the discussion in the chat room, or call in via Skype or telephone (here’s more info on how to call in to the show). If you can’t listen live, or if you prefer the podcast version, the episode will also be available to listen to/download here and via iTunes.

Please adopt me, Bill Donohue

The Catholic League has started an “Adopt An Atheist” campaign.

Bill Donohue explains:

[Let] them know of your interest in “adopting” one of them. All it takes is an e-mail. Let them know of your sincere interest in working with them to uncover their inner self. They may be resistant at first, but eventually they may come to understand that they were Christian all along.

If we hurry, these closeted Christians can celebrate Christmas like the rest of us. As an added bonus, they will no longer be looked upon as people who “believe in nothing, stand for nothing and are good for nothing.”

I hope that Donohue will consider adopting me as his personal atheist. Fingers crossed, you guys!:

Hilarious discussion of religion, atheism, and secular morality on “Community”

Here’s a hilarious clip about religion, atheism, and morality from last night’s episode of Community. It’s great to see an openly atheist character on a popular (and awesome) t.v. show:

:)

I watched Bill O’Reilly’s show last night. You can’t explain that! (well, you can, but…)

Like most sensible people, I try to avoid Bill O’Reilly whenever possible. Last night, though, I watched a bit of his show so that I could see his interview with Richard Dawkins. And, you know, I knew it would be painful. I knew O’Reilly would be a loud sneering bully. I knew he’d spin the hell out of it (right there in that “No-Spin Zone” of his). I knew he’d turn it into an “ATHEISTS R COMIN FOR YR CHILDREN, GOOD PATRIOTS OF AMERICA!” kind of thing. And indeed he did. But it was much, much worse than I had expected. Oh my god, it was painful.

A few notes:

1) O’Reilly took full advantage of the pre-taped interview format, adding in this “SEE, AMERICAN PATRIOTS? SEE? ATHEISTS R EVIL!! LOOK AT THEM! AND THEY’RE A’COMIN FOR YR CHILDREN!” image overlay. Seriously!:

Oh, Bill. What subtle rhetorical flourish you have!

2) So, you know how O’Reilly loves to claim that his show is a “No-Spin Zone”? Yeah… Because this headline from his site isn’t “spun” at all. Nope. No spin here. None whatsoever: “O’Reilly Crushes Atheist Richard Dawkins“. “Crushes“? No, Bill. No. You didn’t “crush” anyone. You came off as a mean sad little wannabe tyrant.

More on that “No-Spin” thing. Take a look at this, from his site. Oh the irony, it burns. It burns!:

Richard Dawkins has a new book that explains science to children, and warns them against religious “myths” about how the world works. He entered the No Spin Zone to explain why he wanted to deliver his atheist message to kids.

Well, except for the book isn’t an atheist book at all (it’s a beautiful book about science), and it’s certainly not delivering an “atheist message to kids”. But O’Reilly isn’t fond of facts or science, of course. He was determined to spin this into an “ATHEISTS R COMIN FOR YR CHILDREN, GOOD PATRIOTS OF AMERICA!” thing, and that’s exactly what he did.

Seriously, this “spin” thing of his just slays me. Is “rhetorical hypocrisy” a thing? If it is, he’s the All-Time World Champion of it. His entire show is one big exercise in “spin”, all carried out within a “No-Spin Zone”.

“Spin” “spin” “spin”. Take it away, Inigo Montoya!:

3) Appropriate LOLs are appropriate:

4) It dawned on me last night that O’Reilly is a 21st century Roderick Spode (a P.G. Wodehouse character). Take it away, Bertie!:

“The trouble with you, Spode, is that just because you have succeeded in inducing a handful of half-wits to disfigure the London scene by going about in black shorts, you think you’re someone. You hear them shouting ‘Heil, Spode!’ and you imagine it is the Voice of the People. That is where you make your bloomer. What the Voice of the People is saying is: ‘Look at that frightful ass Spode swanking about in footer bags! Did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher?”

5) “Y U NO” Guy, I cede the floor to you:

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