I knew we'd get feedback about one of the calls from yesterday's show and I'd like to post a brief comment in order to avoid getting a ton of feedback.
There's a serious problem with the phones. In short, there are many occasions where the caller simply cannot hear us when they're talking. The studio's Telos system is supposed to be full-duplex but most of the time it doesn't work properly. There are several possible causes:
1. The audio system simply isn't wired correctly (no mix-minus setup).
2. The Telos device simply isn't adjusted correctly.
3. Some other part of the audio system is over-driving the Telos such that it can't be adjusted correctly.
4. The device simply won't work effectively at all times due to the nature of taking calls from all around the world on both land lines and cell phones.
I'm not an audio engineer, so I can't say for certain, but we have the exact same device at my place for the Non-Prophets show and it took a great deal of tweaking to get it to work correctly (and it still acts up from time to time). We take a test call before every show and attempt to make sure that everything is working correctly...but we're unable to identify the problem. (The test calls tend to work just fine.)
Yes, I'd happily pay for a real audio engineer to come in and fix the problems in the studio - but I'm not allowed to do that. We are, though, doing everything in our power (which may not be much) to get it fixed.
So, what happened yesterday? Well, the caller couldn't hear us talking when he was talking. Jeff didn't realize this and thought the caller was being rude (not much of a stretch when he called to talk about how dangerous "new atheists" were and then failed to support the claim at every point)...so Jeff got irritated. The caller responded in kind, and things spiraled downward from there.
At some point, I lost my cool and yelled at everyone to shut up. Sorry about that, luckily the compressor/limiter works and I doubt I blew out anyone's eardrums.
What I should have done was just put the caller on hold, take a moment to explain the problems to everyone and work out a plan that would actually allow both of them to talk...but honestly, I was already sick of the caller's dishonesty.
He had called in to claim that "new atheists" were dangerous. He shifted this claim, when it was shot down, to "reductionist materialists" were dangerous, yet the only danger he identified was a danger to his ability to be comfortable with ideas that departed from his own...followed by the tired old slippery slope claim that if we recognize that humans are "merely" matter and energy, then we're no different from a rock and we must then toss aside our humanity.
He claimed to "know" that humans are more than matter and energy, because he's somehow managed to discover that it's impossible for us to "merely" be matter and energy and then he announced that he was a solipsist.
We hung up on him. A later caller wanted to clarify solipsism by defending philosophical solipsism (soft solipsism?) - which is, for me, a waste of time. That position is almost tautological (it's flawed in ignoring logical absolutes) and largely irrelevant as it simply points out that we can only be absolutely certain about the self. Jeff and I had initially responded to the more colloquial usage of solipsism (hard solipsism?) that expands on this to establish a belief that only the self exists or is likely to exist.
In any case, I'd like to apologize to everyone, including Jeff, for losing my cool. We had an annoying caller, a problem with the phone (that I've been frustrated with for quite a while) and it all led up to a mismanaged call.
I'll make more judicious use of the hold button and we'll keep pushing for them to fix the phone system.