Episode 145 – 20th July 2012

The government approve creationist schools, we speak to Alom Shaha about the Young Atheist’s Handbook, discover why sport is a bit like the church, and much more!

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Creationist Schools Approved (2:05) by Liz Lutgendorff (ft Richy Thompson)
Mooniversary (6:58) by Drew Rae
Alom Shaha Interview (12:45) by James O’Malley & Liz Lutgendorff
AC Grayling on Alom (25:22) by James O’Malley (ft AC Grayling!)
Sport is like Church (28:04) by Trent Burton
Understanding the Higgs (35:52) by Tom Williamson
The Haber Process (41:52) by Andrew Holding
Robot Woman of the Future (48:02) by James O’Malley & Liz Lutgendorff (ft Helen Keen)
Questival (52:00) by James O’Malley (ft Mike Paynter)
The sketch at the end is by David Lovesy and Brian Two

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4 thoughts on “Episode 145 – 20th July 2012

  1. Congratulations to Alom on leaving religion (any), finding rational thought and on the book, sounds like a good read, I look forward to it.

    I am however confused by his last comment about the question he is tired of being asked; “Are you scarred you are going to be attacked by muslims?” His answer seems to imply that he understands the question to be about the offensiveness of his book to other muslims but surely the actual and obvious question is about the act of Apostisy? Isn’t the book about becoming a non-muslim, is it not called The Athiest Handbook? Given your “cultural” upbringing couldn’t it just as easily be called “How to Commit Apostisy?”

    To suggest that non-muslims “think that muslums are going to respond violently to any form of critisim” based on your book is offensive and certainly not my opinion! Non-muslims are literally thinking that muslims are going to respond violently to your CAPITAL CRIME! Suggesting you may be in some danger because you’ve broken a “law” that is punishable by DEATH is in NO WAY offensive – unless you too have an over sensitivity! These things are tough, you have been indoctrinated, literally. My FIRST thought on hearing the subject of the book was OF COURSE for your safety!

    I hope you understand that for an atheist Aposticy is as vile as any religious edict and further proof of the man made nature of religion. Please don’t confuse the knowledge and concerned sentiments of a civilised society with some kind of prejudice against a barbaric and vile religion. We read the books, we listened to the debates, we remember what we have heard and we have judged islam. This is not a judgment of muslims but a judgement of their organised religion and it’s petty dogmas and fatwas. There will “always” be muslims and they, their books and teachings will always provide support for the most hideous acts by the few.

    If the book was about your tough childhood etc with a little muslim criticism thrown in then you might have a point but it is about how to commit a crime punishable by DEATH!

    Liz and James, can you pick up the pace a little the next time? It seems like a good book but that was a low ball for you and also a question you should have asked! As a listener to critical thinking podcasts this glaring error should have jumped out at you – these are the rules – muslims have to live or die by them! This isn’t funny.

    On a related topic;

    The subject of muslims taking offense at the slightest critisim (we call them cartoons) seems to make your complaint about your own, I believe incorrect, interpretation of the question ring rather hollow, doesn’t it?

  2. Thank you, Trent, for a thought-provoking piece on the derision of sports within skepticism and geekdom. The main vibe of the piece seemed a bit snarky and appealing to emotion – but that’s par for the course, I guess, when responding to the sort of snotty dismissal you’ve experienced. But it did get me thinking.

    I’m no sports fan myself, though these days I go by live and let live and try to limit my derision to the odd friendly jibe in person.

    The reason I dislike professional sports and what surrounds them is one you don’t address, though. Yes, I’m also annoyed by the minority of fans on the extreme end of the stupid/drunken scale, and as a neighbor to the local stadium i see enough of that. I’ve also been the target of aggression and threatening posturing for obliviously wearing the wrong colour shirt out on the streets during certain days; and I’ve seen what happens to the mindset of middle-aged men who are away from their families for a day supporting the away team. None of that is pretty, but I’m willing to concede that this behaviour is not the main stream and that it’s wrong to chastise all of sport fandom for it.

    Now, as a geek, I’ve been looking down on sports since my youth, probably partly as a result of the geek/jock stereotype divide – but I recall avoiding the big spectator events on TV even before I self-identified as a geek.

    My main problem with mass spectator sports is one of aesthetics. The thing I loathe about watching sports is the emotion of it, the thing that sports-as-entertainment advocates would consider the entire point. The thousands of people tuning in to the same mindset and yelling, singing, and chanting in unison. The mob, and being part of it.

    This mass-emotion, elicited through artificial rules facilitating tribal rituals on the field seems to me a celebration of the most tribal, crass, and overtly aggressive aspects of humanity. It’s always about us-versus-them, always about pointless tribal superiority, about living in the same town (or country) as the fastest or strongest or most doped-up party in the ritual. Seductive as this mob emotion is, It is base, it is dangerous, and it is ugly.

    What I dislike most of all is feeling the tug adn seduction of it and knowing that I myself have the capacity for it. That I could join the hive-mind of the mob. And I’ve felt this way even before I was aware what a Nuremberg Rally was.

    In a sense, you are spot-on in saying that sports is like a church. To that, I’d retort: Yes, in all the worst ways.

  3. Can someone please point out to Drew Rae that President Obama cancelled Nasa’s ‘back to the moon’ mission over 2 years ago?

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