AE 2-10: I'll punch you in the face for Jesus!

A place for discussion and feedback regarding the Non-Prophets podcast and/or the Atheist Experience TV show.

AE 2-10: I'll punch you in the face for Jesus!

Postby Marathon » Tue Feb 12, 2008 3:20 am

Great show, the part about the textbooks that the students would be allowed to keep was very interesting. I wish I would have had something like that during high-school, and being able to get books that cheaply in college would be wonderful.

The caller threatening violence made me laugh. Not only could he not identify any sort of specific instance in which Matt was wrong about the bible. He made himself out to be the intolerant one when it is supposed to be the atheists who are militant and mean spirited, at least according to many theists. Id have to rank him right up there with the kid who called Matt a "fucking asshole" and the guy that called Matt the devil as some of my favorite callers who behaved like morons.

Mr. punch you in the face got me thinking. What was the source of his anger? It didn't seem that he could be angry about what you were saying, as it had hardly been a show filled with too much religious ridicule. It seemed to me that he was so mad that the points you were making hit a little too close to home and he responded very predictably in the face of his core beliefs being challenged.
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Postby Brandon » Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:48 am

I was a little confused though. Didn't it happen twice in that show?

The first caller was obviously a jerk who was playing along until he could get his jab in, but then wasn't it another guy who called in and did the same exact thing? Or, when he said he would punch Matt in the face, was he just mocking the previous caller but was disconnected anyway?

I listen to the podcasts at work, so sometimes I may miss a few seconds here and there due to someone coming over and talking to me before I can pause it, so I may have missed something.

Marathon wrote:What was the source of his anger?


At the risk of sounding like I may be defending these people, which I am not, people tend to take any criticism badly, let alone criticism of such deeply held beliefs. It's sure to tick people off. Rather than examine the criticism in a constructive manner to see whether or not it's valid, they take it very personally and it becomes an attack on the person themselves rather than the religion. It's not like most people are taught in church or by their parents how to critically examine their religious beliefs. From their perspective, you might as well be saying, "You believe a bunch of garbage and whoever taught you to believe it is an idiot and you're an idiot too for believing it because it's so painfully obvious that it's bunk. Idiot. Did I mention you're an idiot?"

Well, maybe I got a little carried away.
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Postby Juju » Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:07 am

That's nice, Brandon. I might take that and use it on my Christian friends.
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Postby donnyton » Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:55 am

Makes me wonder, how often do the hosts of the AE get death threats? Private or public?
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Postby Thousand » Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:43 am

Yes, two people threatened to punch Matt. I strongly suspect the 2nd one was subconsciously influenced by the 1st. It's part of human nature to pick up things other people do. If you here someone use a certain word for example, there's a good chance you'll find yourself using it.

The reason why some people get so angry when you suggest their religious ideas are wrong is because they have their whole lives invested in it. It would be like saying to someone that has a family that they love that the most logical thing for them to do is to completely separate themselves from and forget about their family. They're comfortable and happy like they are and what you suggests threatens that comfort and happiness.

I'm not quite convinced about the keeping your books idea. I have a hard time imagining very many students, especially below the high school level, referring to old text books on their own. I suspect they would almost always end up getting thrown away without ever being looked at much, which would be huge waste, especially if most of them weren't recycled. I can see keeping college text books, but what's the use of a 3rd grade math book once you get into 5th grade? Isn't the material too easy to be useful by then? How about let the kid keep the book if they specifically ask for it, because otherwise it would probably go to waste. Now if it's cheaper make new disposable books every year than one reusable book, then maybe you're on to something, but if that's cheaper then why aren't they doing it already?
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Postby Brandon » Wed Feb 13, 2008 4:53 am

I think one of the stronger arguments for the keeping the books thing was that if you do it, you will be getting new (as in, updated) books every year. You may end up saving some money, or you may break even. The benefit then is that every year, specifically with science texts, you will be getting new editions with updated material. The books for the following year then will be smaller and in effect cheaper to produce, because you will only have to print new material rather than review material, as it will be assumed the student will have the previous year's book for that review material.

I think it's a fantastic idea, if only for science texts, and if only because it would allow schools to update their material every year to keep up with new scientific advances.
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Postby Some Dude » Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:06 am

Brandon wrote:At the risk of sounding like I may be defending these people, which I am not, people tend to take any criticism badly, let alone criticism of such deeply held beliefs. It's sure to tick people off. Rather than examine the criticism in a constructive manner to see whether or not it's valid, they take it very personally and it becomes an attack on the person themselves rather than the religion. It's not like most people are taught in church or by their parents how to critically examine their religious beliefs. From their perspective, you might as well be saying, "You believe a bunch of garbage and whoever taught you to believe it is an idiot and you're an idiot too for believing it because it's so painfully obvious that it's bunk. Idiot. Did I mention you're an idiot?"


I found your comment quite astute. On another forum, we have been discussing why Christians might get offended when they have their belief compared to faeries. While it was kind of implied later that the person involved wasn't as offended as they appeared, he did seem somewhat miffed and the rationale boiled down to "it's implied that we are stupid or childish".
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Postby Sans_Deity » Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:26 am

1. I'm pretty sure that both of the "punch you in the fat face" callers were actually the same guy.

2. I think he's called us quite a few times in the past.

3. There have been a few death threats, but only one (AFAIK) that resulted in a call to the police. I'm not bothered by any of the threats, as I'm pretty much convinced that the real threat comes from those who don't warn you about it with blustering rants.

4. These issues hit close to him and, as Dan Dennett pointed out, there really isn't a non-offensive way to tell someone that they're beliefs are irrational. The individuals are so defined by their ideas that even clean, concise attacks on the ideas are considered personal attacks.

Maybe, instead of looking for debate opponents, I should simply invite folks down to the studio to "punch an atheist for Jesus - live!"

It'd be nice to stand there, Ghandi-esque while the buffoon demonstrates how Jesus has changed his heart toward violence. Unfortunately, I don't think the show will do much better with a bruised and bloody host - and I'm not the least bit convinced that I'd actually stand there and turn the other cheek. I'm not exactly tiny and not a fan of pain, so I think it's far more likely that it'd turn into an episode of Springer.

-Matt
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Postby Some Dude » Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:30 am

Sans_Deity wrote:Maybe, instead of looking for debate opponents, I should simply invite folks down to the studio to "punch an atheist for Jesus - live!"


Imagine the media presence for that one.
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Postby donnyton » Thu Feb 14, 2008 1:35 am

Brandon wrote:I think one of the stronger arguments for the keeping the books thing was that if you do it, you will be getting new (as in, updated) books every year. You may end up saving some money, or you may break even. The benefit then is that every year, specifically with science texts, you will be getting new editions with updated material. The books for the following year then will be smaller and in effect cheaper to produce, because you will only have to print new material rather than review material, as it will be assumed the student will have the previous year's book for that review material.

I think it's a fantastic idea, if only for science texts, and if only because it would allow schools to update their material every year to keep up with new scientific advances.


Actually, that's how real world scientific manuals work.

If you look at say, handbooks for biology laboratories, they are MASSIVE volumes that would really cost hundreds of dollars for each edition. Fortunately they are just volumes of binders, and what scientists do is subscribe to the service, and you get a few sheets of paper each year with instructions on which page to add, which page to replace, etc. Most labs have a rather small collection of "textbooks" on site, as there's no need for redundancy.

Unfortunately this hasn't even caught on in medicine, where $300 behemoths are published every few years and have to be completely updated.
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Postby Brandon » Thu Feb 14, 2008 3:20 am

donnyton wrote:Unfortunately this hasn't even caught on in medicine, where $300 behemoths are published every few years and have to be completely updated.


I know what you mean about that. My girlfriend is in her last year for her BS in nursing. The amount she has to pay for books, and yes, in some cases updated books, is insane.
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Postby ChristOnIce » Thu Feb 14, 2008 4:07 am

Thousand wrote:I'm not quite convinced about the keeping your books idea. I have a hard time imagining very many students, especially below the high school level, referring to old text books on their own.


While I agree that children would be unlikely to refer to their old books on their own now, that could easily change. If teachers knew that the kids had easily accessible reference material for previous courses, far less time would have to be spent on review.

If teachers could have a reasonable expectation that students have the resources to brush up, then some much-needed space would open up in the curriculum.
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Postby donnyton » Fri Feb 15, 2008 2:11 am

But students will have to be able to refer to books eventually: what better time to prepare them than high school?
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Postby Brandon » Fri Feb 15, 2008 3:41 am

My question is, putting the pocket-lining profits of textbook companies aside, why don't students have eBook readers this day in age rather than actual books? A student can carry one digital device for all of their books and, if handled properly, there is no reason why one couldn't last each student for several years or more much like a computer.

How much better would it be to be able to download updates to textbook as science evolves in realtime?
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Postby ChristOnIce » Fri Feb 15, 2008 9:27 am

Brandon wrote:My question is, putting the pocket-lining profits of textbook companies aside, why don't students have eBook readers this day in age rather than actual books?


Because it is simply not feasible. You have to consider the breadth of errors that are likely. It is unreasonable to expect students to maintain such a device. When you consider the hours spent on tech support and the like, it just doesn't make sense. I think that electronic books should be offered as an option, but the hardware simply isn't stable/intuitive enough to be the norm.
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