Monday, June 28, 2010

I is on da teebee!

Monday afternoon, I was, with very little warning and only about an hour to do frantic house-cleaning in preparation, interviewed by local TV news channel KEYE 42. The story was about a new Coalition of Reason billboard that's gone up on the north side of town (I haven't actually driven past it yet). And I think I pretty much got the interview because I used to work with a fellow who works at the station. So that was nice of him to recommend me. (In case you're wondering why they came to me and not, say, Matt.) The reporter, Chris Coffey, was a terrific guy and I think the piece does a fine job of being fair all around. And I'm sure you'll all get a huge kick of the B-roll clip, where I'm standing at one of my shelves pretending to read The God Delusion, looking like I just had half a blue whale for lunch. You know what they say about the camera adding ten pounds? In my case it seems to add a whole second Martin. Back to the gym!

So, enjoy. And if you want to register at the site to leave comments responding to some of the charming Christian ones already left, well, it's a free country!

Addendum: I wasn't aware when I posted this just now that another station, KVUE, did a piece on the sign as well, which is embedded in the post below. They didn't talk to me, and as far as I can tell, KEYE's coverage was a lot fairer.


  1. The segment of you reading is sooooo funny :) Great job not laughing though.

  2. Yeah, it was pretty hilarious. I really wanted to stand there rubbing my chin like I was going "Hmmmm...", but I figured that'd be too much. Not sure why TV guys like to have that "establishing shot" B-roll where they have you clearly faking doing something "normal," but there you go.

  3. Love the Philip K. Dick books in the background. Good comments all around, both from Martin and Don Rhoades.

  4. Sigh, local news. Always making people pretend to be casual in the most uncasual way.

  5. The station should be commended for reporting pretty straight-forwardly, as well.

    Well done Martin! You sexy, reasoned beast you.

  6. Hi

    Sorry to go off topic, but I'm a long time reader and an only-recent blogspot member. I've long enjoyed the Atheist Experience and wondered if you guys could help me with something?

    As well as being an atheist now for at least two years, I've also been for a very long time a gay marriage advocate, and whenever someone uses the Bible as reason why we shouldn't allow SSM. When I point out a whole list of stuff in the Bible that we disregard as ridiculous and ultimately do not adhere to and ignore, they always say: "Oh but that's the OLD TESTAMENT, the NEW TESTAMENT and Jesus's word also go against SSM and is much more solid in its advice and laws that it gives".

    With that in mind, could you help me with a list of bad advice and laws that we don't adhere to and ignore from the New Testament? I've looked on your wiki but there doesn't seem to be too much detail about the fallacies that the New Testament promotes in terms of its proclamations.

  7. From the article:

    "However, the Catholic Diocese of Austin said those who keep asking about God will ultimately be led to the truth."

    Nicely phrased, that. I agree.

  8. Hi Jonathan:

    Just fyi, for off-topic advice queries, please contact AE TV at the e-mail list:

    >With that in mind, could you help me with a list of bad advice and laws that we don't adhere to and ignore from the New Testament?

    Matt did a breakdown of the Sermon on the Mount if you want it. I believe it's at However, for some reason, I can't get the site to come up. If you can access it, try searching "sermon on the mount"?

    However, there is a better reply to the "old testament" argument, in my view. Please check the second half of this post for my point on this:



  9. I should add as well that Jesus said the Old Testament Law would be in effect as long as the Earth existed:

    "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." ( Mat 5:18)

    Christians try to assert that Jesus "fulfilled" all--but the Earth still stands, so I smell a contradiction cooking?

    Meanwhile Paul agreed the Law was in effect--at least for Jewish Christians.

    In Acts 15, we have record of a disagreement between the Christians about whether Gentiles should be asked to adhere to the Law. The decision is "yes"--but only to a limited extent. And it's outlined in detail what they will be asked to keep to, as far as the Law.

    But bear in mind this discussion ONLY impacts non-Jews.

    In Acts 21, we see Paul makes a demonstration to the Church to show he agrees that Jews in the Church--that is Jews who have become Christians--need to (1) keep the law and (2) raise their children in the Law.

    Paul also preaches some things that seem to contradict this--that seem to say the Law is dead and you can be saved without it. But frankly--these verses are clear. Jews in the Church had to keep to the Law. And Gentiles had to maintain the Laws as well, which included the laws on "sexual immorality"--which means that homosexuality (at least between men) was a sin worthy of death. The passage in Leviticus, I believe, would hold as a Law concerning sexual immorality.

    I don't know if you want this route, however; as arguing Bible content is a quagmire. I'd advise asking them to denounce Yahweh in the Old Law as evil and wrong. If they don't say it's wrong, they then agree that in some times/situations, it's OK to stone gay men to death.

  10. Just read the article online and saw the video clip. This cracked me up:

    >However, the Catholic Diocese of Austin said those who keep asking about God will ultimately be led to the truth.

    I couldn't agree MORE!!!!

  11. I believe we have one of these signs here in New Mexico. IIRC, it's in Albuquerque and I remember doing a bit of a double-take as I drove into town and saw it. Next time I go there I'll pay more attention to where it actually is.

    Meanwhile, this reminds me of the pre-civil rights movement deep south, when African Americans first started buying new cars. According to my mother (who lived in Mississippi during those times), the local racists/KKK/etc. didn't allow nice houses (African Americans were considered to be too "uppity" if they made any improvements to their homes and the Klan (usually) would go burn them down).

    New cars were tolerated for some reason, tho, and it would become the talk of the town when one of the locals started driving around in a new car. It may have even made the news, tho reporting at even that level of respectability was probably pretty rare.

    Just strikes me as very noteworthy and humorous when it makes the news that... GASP! There are people who _don't believe in god_ out there! OMFG!! Stop the presses we need to do an exclusive on these...these... non-believers!!....

    Too funny....

    Meanwhile, I can think of no better spokespeople than Martin and Don R. to be the trailblazers for us here in the media.....


  12. Mark B, Tracie: Actually the whole line about "the Catholic Diocese of Austin said those who keep asking about God will ultimately be led to the truth," is a smart bit of editing on the part of Chris Coffey to keep the article more, shall we say, fair and balanced.

    The actual quote from the diocese was "...those who keep asking about God will ultimately be led to God." And Coffey asked me to respond specifically to it. I basically said the statement was a defense mechanism. I'm open to any evidence the Diocese cares to present to me for their God, but that until they present that evidence, they shouldn't be so smug.

    He got a kick out of my answer. But in the end I guess he chose to keep the focus on the billboard. Don't blame him I suppose.

  13. Martin:

    Thanks for the fair explanation. Too bad it wasn't as quoted. It was priceless!

  14. Jonathan91919 said...
    >With that in mind, could you help me with a list of bad advice and laws that we don't adhere to and ignore from the New Testament?

    At there is a nice list of pretty ridiculous rules courtesy of the parthenogenetic carpenter, just follow "But That's the OLD Testament!"

    Arguing in this way can be a bottomless pit though, 'cause "you just don't understand", "that's not what it really says", "you must take it in context" etc.

    >local religous groups that were contacted by KEYE-TV either declined comment or had no opinion on the billboard's message.

    Man, these sissy namby-pamby Christians nowadays, can't even be bothered to show some righteous indignation in the name of their lord and savior.

  15. For me it's Jesus taking the oil and saying "the poor will always be with you but I won't be" as an excuse to waste money on his own comfort, after making all his followers give up all their money and creature comforts.

    That paints him right there as a David Koresh like freak in my book.

  16. "the Catholic Diocese of Austin said those who keep asking about God will ultimately be led to the truth."

    I wholeheartedly agree. It was trying to figure out God and his involvement in this vast, grand, complex universe of ours that eventually led me to atheism.

  17. Am I the only AE fan out there who is having trouble getting the video on that page to play properly? Very annoying. The other news clip in the previous post plays fine, so what gives? Is it my computer or their server?

    Anyway, congrats on the TV appearance.

  18. It's strange for me, as a European to see that American news stations, who should be objective, treat atheists and agnostics as some rare disease or abnormality of society... Even though I'm familiar with how religious people there are. Maybe that's why I haven't heard of a European counterpart to Atheist Experience... It's just not necessary... here, I could say, religious people represent the minority (I am serious, and yes, it's great. The drawback is that some, though not that many, are open to other non-sense).
    But still, could someone please tell me about other atheist TV shows? (I'm a fan of yours, and started watching Ask an Atheist).

    And most importantly, never give up, America needs you now more than ever!
    P.S.: Sorry for writing so much ...


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