Podcast with The Thinking Atheist

I much enjoyed my 1.25-hour interview with Seth Andrews, the “Thinking Atheist”. As you know, he used to be a dyed-in-the-wool Christian and broadcaster of Jesus stuff, but became an atheist. He now runs one of the best godless podcasts around.

Last night we talked almost solely about evolution, with Seth throwing creationist objections at me and asking me to respond. There was then about a half hour of reader call-ins, several of which weren’t really questions but “testimonies.” (I’ve learned that atheist radio broadcasts often have callers who just want to recount their “deconversion” which is fine, because I understand how important it is for them to find affirmation.)

The interview has been slightly edited and now posted for posterity; you can download it here but it’s also on YouTube, which I’ll embed below.

Seth was great.

h/t: Amy

33 Comments

  1. Sastra
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I don’t generally listen to podcasts but I’ve heard Seth Andrews speak at a convention and thought he was great. Glad the two of you got together.

    By the way, speaking of answers to creationists’ questions, I found the following hilarious “translations” of those 22 questions from the Nye/Lie debate. My apologies if this was already mentioned.

    • Richard Olson
      Posted February 12, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      It would please me if every person photographed holding their written question was video’d Candid Camera-style viewing photo’s of those 22 translations, and then permitted the opportunity to accept or decline viewing the result after being informed Hi! they’re on Candid C.

      Who knows, it might even stimulate a learning experience. For some of them. At least one. Maybe.

      I would never advocate releasing the video or showing it to even a single unapproved viewer without the consent of participants. I’m not a completely conscienceless sociopath.

      • Sastra
        Posted February 12, 2014 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        It would please me if every person photographed holding their written question was video’d Candid Camera-style viewing photo’s of those 22 translations, and then permitted the opportunity to accept or decline viewing the result after being informed Hi! they’re on Candid C.

        I’m having problems translating this sequence into proper order.

        • Richard Olson
          Posted February 12, 2014 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

          Alan Funt-type host arranges for all twenty-two people who wrote signs to be video’d later viewing the buzzfeed link you provide, which shows the photo of them and their original sign side-by-side with the photo-shopped change to their sign. They react to this image.

          After some brief time interval elapses, camera still recording (a matter of mere moments on the old tv show), the host pops into view from concealment and says to them “Hi, you’re on Candid Camera!” Guest’s reaction ensues, subsides, film segment concludes.

          The guest is then permitted to view/decline to view the video results, and has final say on whether it is destroyed or disseminated.

          This fantasy scenario is just an analogous way to describe what occurred to me when I looked at the link photo’s and wondered how those people might react if they ever saw them, and whether seeing them might possibly result in any of them thinking differently in the future as a result than they presently do.

          Based on what I read about human behavior patterns, I expect there is a slight chance of beneficial change in comprehension in one or more of those people, but zero change in any of them would not be unusual, either. Unfortunately, greater entrenchment in their beliefs is a likely outcome of this sort of confrontation than divergence from them, also, similar to Fox viewers informed wmd did not exist in Iraq during the run-up to the invasion.

          • Sastra
            Posted February 12, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

            Got it. Thanks.

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    I listened to the live stream last night but missed the first 15 minutes or so. I thought the format of answering the creationist questions was pretty good and it made it easy to understand why those questions are so misguided if you didn’t have a ton of background in evolution previously.

    • Philip.Elliott
      Posted February 12, 2014 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      I listened at lunchtime today and agree, the answers to the creationist objections are good ammo to have.

  3. Posted February 12, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Great interview and Q&A! One of the caller’s anecdote about his father and sister being medical doctors is a good example of how smart, well educated people are good at rationalizing their beliefs. I know a few like those and it can be very hard to talk to them.
    Jerry, if I may ask: you mentioned that you only have met one creationist that was not religious. What was that person’s reason to reject evolution?

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted February 12, 2014 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      I have the same doctor as my dad. When he had his cancer sorted, he thanked the doctor for insisting that he get it checked out despite my dad resisting. My doctor told him to thank god, not him. I’ve been trying to think how to stir it up & get him to say something like that to me but I haven’t come up with anything yet. I almost half believe my doctor won’t take the bait with me.

      • gbjames
        Posted February 12, 2014 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        I’d look for a different doctor!

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted February 12, 2014 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

          I want to go out with a bang. Get in a fight over it then go to another doctor. He gives me migraine meds so I can’t be in limbo for a long time.

        • Larry Gay
          Posted February 13, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

          I avoid religious doctors. They tend to be second or third rate — think of that idiot from Georgia in the US House. (Name??) I have found you can find out who is religious and who is not by asking around. When in doubt, choose a doctor with a Jewish name. He’s probably secular and smart.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted February 13, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

            My doctor’s Indian. He honestly is burned out & should retire but he just doesn’t want to give up the income.

            • gbjames
              Posted February 13, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

              What I said before!

          • Larry Gay
            Posted February 13, 2014 at 11:57 am | Permalink

            Paul Broun. I googled him, an embarrassment to the medical profession. Remember the “evolution is straight from the pit of hell” guy?

      • Posted February 12, 2014 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        Tell him youll settle his bill with God.

        /@

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted February 12, 2014 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

          In Ontario, Canada, our government health insurance is called OHIP. When my dad told me the story, I said that god should expense the work to OHIP then and the doctor shouldn’t get the money.

  4. Richard Olson
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    clicking button (maybe I’ll learn something from this)

  5. Posted February 12, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I really need to take a break from trying to disabuse Micah of his supernaturalism in order to listen to this….

    b&

  6. gbjames
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    I just listened to the podcast. A good chat!

  7. Posted February 12, 2014 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Jerry nearly said “blog”! “I’ve published this on my (pause) website”! ;-)

    Very, very good.

    Oh, just one serious nitpick, Jerry. When you were talking about beneficial mutations, listeners might have inferred that you were saying that environmental factors caused the mutations, rather than just favouring mutations that would have happened anyway. Expect critics to cherry pick that…

    /@

    • gbjames
      Posted February 12, 2014 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Wait, Ant… environmental factors do cause mutations! That’s why medical technicians wear protective gear when giving X-rays and why it is best not to have too many of them.

      • Posted February 12, 2014 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        OK, you got me. To be clearer, I should have said, “environmental factors caused the appropriate, beneficial mutations”.

        /@

        • gbjames
          Posted February 12, 2014 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

          Just doing my job. ;)

  8. moarscienceplz
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Jerry says that there are pretty much only two books that cover the evidence for evolution, but I found The Rough Guide to Evolution by Mark Pallen is also an excellent book on the subject.

    • Posted February 12, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      Jerry has recommended Don Protheros book as well (although not in this podcast).

      /@

  9. M
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Jerry, I you want to know why human evolution is accelerating, read The 10,000 Year Explosion. The basic jist is this: As the human population grows, mutations become more common, but since genes spread exponentially, there is less slowing caused by population size that there is acceleration.

  10. Kevin
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Really great audio-interview, Jerry. It is kind of profound to hear how smart you are, but I think you might have meant 1/2^12 = 1/4096, but I am good physicists and am willing to go with 1/900 (hell, astronomers have much larger room for approximation).

  11. modratemp
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Rational-Empiricist.

  12. Diane G.
    Posted February 13, 2014 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Enjoying it now. : -)

  13. Dawn Oz
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    I’m listening to the podcast which is so helpful.

    BTW – I have many years of audible downloads, and of course I can’t buy WEIT, as I’m an Australian. Of course Amazon and Audible are now the same company.

    However, I’m grateful for this podcast.


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