Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thanks for your questions

I just want to say a sincere thanks to everyone who submitted questions under "Q for Ray" subjects. I know some people are disappointed that we did not directly read questions and attribute them to those who wrote in, but we did read through a lot of them before the show. I think everyone who watched the show would agree that the conversation was plenty jam packed without breaking to read a canned question.

However, both Matt and I read through several dozen questions, took notes, and found themes which helped us to formulate what to say. Some of you probably recognized pieces of your questions surfacing in the dialog. So... it may not have seemed like we were paying attention to you, but we were. Thanks for your support and we appreciate you.


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  2. Hey Russel, I just wanted to say great job on the show today. It must have been hard not laughing at Ray "Banana Man" Comfort and his ridiculous non-sense, but both you and Matt remained civil and friendly the entire time. I have to say, this was one of the best episodes I've ever seen.

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  4. You did a great job today, Russell. Matt often ends up going head to head with a caller and the other host chimes in only occasionally, if at all, because Matt is so thorough there's not much left that needs saying. Which is great, but I was really glad to see both of you taking on Ray equally, bringing challenges and addressing his claims confidently and with good grace and humor. You brought some great rebuttals against him, especially to his silly airplane metaphor.

  5. Great job, Russel and Matt! I was so surprised that Ray would even agree to come on the show with you guys...I haven't seen such a one-sided butt-whooping in a good long while now! Every claim Ray made me think of a kid flicking corn kernels at the Great Wall of China in hopes of knocking it down. I think the trumpets at Jericho would've had a better chance!

  6. Thanks, guys. Of course, it's easy to look good with Matt doing most of the frontal assaults. I just get to flank with light cavalry. :)

  7. I'm interested in seeing how Ray Comfort will try to spin this so he doesn't seem like an ignorant loon.

    Good show... BUT... I think you guys agreed with him too much without meaning to. Saying "yes" "yes", when you should have just paused, or said something along the lines of "Thank you for your input, but I disagree." Or something along those lines. You know he's going to desperately try to claim that you all agreed with his views.

    That just had to be said.

  8. Kazim: Thanks, guys. Of course, it's easy to look good with Matt doing most of the frontal assaults. I just get to flank with light cavalry. :)

    That's odd. I was under the impression that you preferred tanking over DPS. xD

  9. Great show! While religion may have the upper hand regarding sheer number of adherents, atheism will continue to grow as the wider public continues to get a whiff of the truth you guys help promote. I can't remember the last time I have heard an atheist lose a debate (never happens on the Atheist Experience), nor can I remember the last time a theist had a decent answer to any of the various problems with their theistic beliefs. I can't imagine the pressure of being the voice of the disenfranchised, but you guys always pull through victorious. It can't always be easy being on the frontline of the revolution, so I want to thank you for what you are doing for the world. The world may not see it just yet, but one day it will recognize that the so called "new" atheists were just trying to save humanity from itself.

  10. I thought it was an excellent show. I think you guys were very civil without taking it easy on Ray(i.e. calling him out on his dishonesty, and fundamental misunderstanding of science, etc). It was cool that you didn't have to resort to the mute button, and you didn't have a lot of talking over one another.

    I'll have to watch it again, since the live stream kept cutting out as I was watching.

  11. I felt it was very dishonest of Ray to try to get Matt and Russel to agree to straw man points, but our two hosts wouldn't let any of those stick. That was the most impressive part about it for me. This will be one for the Youtubes for sure!

    Also Matt! Your "Wtf" face when Ray said that you didn't know sin might get turned into a Rageguy meme! I really hope it kicks off on Reddit lol

  12. Way to go Russell and Matt! I have started typing up a transcript, and have the first 15 minutes done. I never though it would take over an hour for 10 minutes of debate, and I have given my spellcheck quite the workout.

    It put it on the Iron Chariots Atheist TV discussion page, I felt it was the best place to keep the posts grouped together. I should have the next 15 minutes up tomorrow.

    Everyone feel free to copy and use as you wish.

  13. Yeah I thought you guys balanced things pretty well.

  14. I liked the way you handled him. Just like any other crazy theist caller with weird beliefs without looking into his fame and holding him on higher pedestal.
    Ray came out looking pretty dumb when he pulled out the same arguments he has used a bunch of times against people who were familiar with them. In the end the admitted his arguments were pretty stupid when thought on a little further.
    Russel and Matt handled their part really well. Now that there has been really famous apologetic and Ray was so clearly outmatched I wonder what the theists will have to say for that. "Ray was outnumbered! There was two of them and only one of Ray!" Well bring Kirk next time.

    All in all it was great episode, maybe even the best. I think we all were hoping it would've lasted more than 1 hour.

    Also I laughed a bit when the camera turned on and revealed the banana.

  15. MAtheist: Thanks for the effort. At the present end, Ray concedes that his argument is irrelevant. (The grain of sand thingy.)

    Matt- I don't know how that's relevant.


    And the he goes on about the scientific method - a completely other direction at that point.

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  17. If "a bacteria is still a bacteria, that's not evolution", then "a fish becoming a human is still a vertebrate"; under Ray's definition of "evolution" it is not evolution, but he can accept the transformation.
    And if "a fly is still a fly", then humans evolving from apes are still primates, they haven't changed. Still not evolution for Ray ( and he didn't want to say what evolution IS ) but also he shouldn't have any problems with these facts.

  18. In case anyone's interested, this was Matt's face of incredulity:

    And this was the generated meme face:

  19. Just watched the episode. Ray's bullshit was maddening!

  20. B.: Soemthing that I think needs to be more addressed is exactly what you're talking about. IT seems that ID Theists like to straw man (or maybe they legitimately don't understand) evolution, and say "well species X didn't turn into species Y, therefore goddiddit". That is not the effective way of looking at it. They way of looking at it is as you said: Humans didn't "come from apes". Humans came from *a primate*, as did apes, which is why we are both primates.

    Once you phrase it that way, you can then counter Ray's point exactly as you just did. "A bacteria is still a bacteria, that's not evolution", then "A primate is still a primate, that's not evolution". Hell, you can make an even more poignant point, because bacteria is a kingdom, primate is an order, so a comparable reply would be "Well an animal is still an animal, that's not evolution."At which point he has to acknowledge the absurd point that: a) Humans came from apes; and b) that's not evolution

  21. @sans_Dieu: you're welcome

    Part 2 is up, this ends just after Matt's evolution of language analogy.

  22. "minuet by minuet deconstruction of the fire fighter episode..."
    could someone please point me to that?


  24. erauqssi: "Humans came from *a primate*, as did apes, which is why we are both primates."

    It goes a bit further than that; humans are apes, we (along with chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans) belong to the category of "great apes," which includes all of the hominid family. The problem with using a term like "ape" is that it is so indistinct, describing a family-level designation. Similar things can be said when we talk about "bacteria" (a kingdom-level designation) or "flies" (an order-level designation). The vagaries of casual language allow for the kind of equivocation that creationists love--"but it's still bacteria!" and so forth.

    I think, in general, the more specific we can be, the better. Saying "humans and chimpanzees descended from a common ancestor. That ancestor was an ape, and thus a primate, and so all of its descendants are apes, and thus primates" is more accurate than saying "humans and apes share a common ancestor." The second isn't wrong, I just don't know if it goes far enough to countering creationist idiocy.

    I think one tactic to take with creobots is the one AronRa uses in this video, defining the characteristics of the clade and why a given organism belongs to it. I've had students argue that humans aren't animals, but they can't argue with the definition of an animal--a multicellular eukaryotic heterotroph that is motile and lacks cell walls--or with the fact that humans fit all those criteria. Ray can argue all he wants that morality sets humans apart; what sets us apart is what determines that we are sapiens; it's what we have in common that makes us animals.


    Video is up

  26. An interesting debate and the first time I've came across your show.

    I'm very glad the debate was a civil one. Ray being quite open that he believes in god (more or less) purely because he feels he was touched by god.
    Everything he believes clearly comes firmly from this standpoint.
    He avoided much of the debate on creationism, or dismissed it with "That's what you believe". there's not really much you can do about that. Was good to see an open debate without some of the hysteria (which comes from elements on both sides).


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