I’d (temporarily) avoided listening to #AtheistExperience

I felt bad about this, especially considering how much The Atheist Experience, specifically Matt Dillahunty, had helped me with an issue a few weeks ago. But then, after the whole “elevatorgate” controversy with Rebecca “SkepChick” Watson went down (my response, “dear|REBECCA ‘SKEPCHICK’ WATSON”, is under My Media), Brett Miller, a fellow Generation Atheist-er, informed me that not only had Dillahunty and others on AE taken Watson’s side, but had openly insisted that Dawkins apologize, I felt very frustrated and disappointed.


Miller said that it’s the first time since listening to AE that he’s so completely disagreed with Dillahunty. Just hearing about it, I didn’t want to hear about it. I decided that until I’d calmed down, I wouldn’t listen to AE.

Now, before you go all ape-shit about how much of a raging hypocrite I am by mocking Watson for her stupid boycott of Dawkins only to turn around and launch my own boycott against AE, remember that I didn’t decide to NEVER listen to AE again, I simply needed a break.

See, for those who are religious or for those who are rationalists and simply don’t care, they don’t get that being an atheist advocate is pretty fucking exhausting. There are near constant issues going on, be it church/state violations, family saying dumb shit, or just feeling like you can’t be honest about your skepticism for fear of reprisals. Due to this, when confronted with bullshit in our own camp (like I discussed in “…On Atheist Fallacy” posted under Articles), one simply doesn’t want to deal with it.

So I’d taken a break. I think the backlog of unlistened episodes reached five before I listened to one. And I was nervous. Despite my oft claims to the contrary and insistence on the importance of rationality, I can’t help but get sudden surges of adrenaline when not only I disagree with someone, but I also feel compelled to take them on (rhetorically). I didn’t want to feel like that. So I proceeded with caution. I listened to my first episode in weeks.

Nothing happened.

I listened to my second.

Nothing happened.

Something will. Some day soon, I’ll hear the bit where Dillahunty or someone else goes on about how Watson’s right, Dawkins is wrong, and I’ll feel that surge, and I’ll feel compelled to say something about it. And when that day comes, I’ll just have to do my best to take it in stride and when the inevitable barrage of me-hate spews out from my own allegedly rational community, I guess I’ll just have to deal with that.

For now, here’s a fun video with LEGOs!

9 Responses to “I’d (temporarily) avoided listening to #AtheistExperience”

  1. This has bothered me as well, and even though I have no proof, I like to justify it to myself like this: It is possible that Matt’s Fiance may be a feminist of the sort that if he didn’t side with Rebecca on this issue, it may affect his relationship with her. If that’s the case, I understand. After all, how many times has Matt suggested to kids who are dependent on their parents that a small lie about their belief to avoid getting kicked out of the house or disowned would be OK.

    Or maybe we should just deal with the fact that we won’t agree on everything.

    • Anton A. Hill Says:

      To be completely fair, I’ve not heard or seen anything yet which I can judge. But from the hearsay what I don’t get is why anyone thinks Dawkins should apologize. I really do understand the offense of his false equivalency comparison, but at the same time, no one can deny, as much as he or she might want to, that he had a point. The fact is that Watson has truly nothing to complain about other than being bothered. And the fact that she decided to boycott Dawkins only reveals her truly petty nature, gross sensitivity, and terribly fragile ego. How dare Dawkins mock her pain!? Well, frankly, because it’s mockable. How Dillahunty can defend such a position is beyond me.

      Let’s say, however, that you’re right. Even if that’s the case, Dillahunty is not only an idiot (on this issue), but also a coward. I find the possibility of the latter very hard to believe. And frankly, a child deciding to lie in order to avoid being thrown out of a home is not at all the same thing as Dillahunty allegedly discarding his testicles in his fiancee’s purse. But I get what you mean.

      Finally, I agree that often we have to agree to disagree. The difficulty I find in that position, though, is that in my opinion, much like the economic position of giving money to the rich in order for them to create jobs, it’s possible to demonstrate that the “pro-Watson” side is wrong. Or at least ridiculous as I did in “dear|REBECCA ‘SKEPCHICK’ WATSON.”

    • RevAaron Says:

      Christ on a popsicle stick. Matt disagrees with you, therefore he’s pussy whipped. No possibility he’s right, that you’re misunderstanding- you’re right, he’s wrong, and it’s because he’s been suborned by his woman. Sounds like a Christian- no way the Catholics could be right and or denomination wrong, so they must be possessed by demons.

      • Anton A. Hill Says:

        Hey RevAaron,

        I just re-read my post and comments and I never claimed Dillahunty to be pussy-whipped. That was someone else. Since I still haven’t heard the podcast in question, I can’t comment on whether Dillahunty’s right or wrong. Given what I’ve heard about it, though, I’d be surprised if he and I agreed. I reserve judgement, however, until I hear the podcast.



  2. I could be wrong, but I highly doubt that ‘elevatorgate’ will ever come up on the Atheist Experience again. And I hope it doesn’t.

    For a huge portion of the atheist community, (myself included) it was a non-issue that we really didn’t care about one way or another. Not the drama surrounding it, anyway.

    And my sense is that the hosts of AE won’t bring it up unless something else ‘noteworthy’ happens, or if they’re making a comparison to some other event.

    We’re atheists. We don’t have a religion holding us all together. We’re not always going to agree. And that’s generally a good thing.

    (And I realize this is a relatively old post, so apologies for bringing up an old subject.)

    • Anton A. Hill Says:

      Hey NotAScientist,

      I agree that elevatorgate won’t likely resurface. There’s no incentive for it to do so. I’ve still not yet heard reference to it on AE, though I heard it was more on Non-Prophets where it reared its obnoxious head. My biggest concern about this whole thing was what I experienced at a Generation Atheist meeting, how one who disagreed with me absolutely refused to even listen to what I had to say. For this person, there was no room for compromise or letting bygones be bygones. It was this person’s way or the highway and I’ve since been informed that this person’s opinion of me sank solely based on the fact that I didn’t quite agree with this person. That really bothered me. Not the fact that this person had a lower opinion of me. I don’t lose sleep over that. It was the fact that I essentially wasn’t allowed dissent, even reasoned dissent, from this person’s opinion. And honestly, how was this person’s reaction to me any different from a religious fundamentalist’s?

      No worries on the old post.

      • “And honestly, how was this person’s reaction to me any different from a religious fundamentalist’s?”

        My guess is that this is a standard human reaction to something over which they have a strong developed strong emotions. Which doesn’t necessarily invalidate their position, or validate it.

        It’d be like you trying to convince me my mother was a murderer. In this hypothetical scenario, either one of us might be correct (assuming I’d defend her, of course), but I imagine my response would be mostly emotional and come off as irrational. Regardless if she was actually a murderer or not.

  3. Anton A. Hill Says:

    Hey NotAScientist,

    I understand there are certain standard human things that will occur. My issue with my fellow GA-er is that the person didn’t even try to step back from his/her emotions. He/she was automatically looking for a (rhetorical) fight. I was especially shocked when this person claimed that all men everywhere all the time are potential rapists. It’s a ridiculous claim unsupported by evidence. Kind of like how in the 80s, paranoid claims starting flying around that kids had been poisoned at Halloween during Trick-or-treating. Yes, maybe one child out of a million was poisoned just like maybe one out of a million is attacked by a shark or maybe one out of a million is struck by lightning, but if we choose to live our lives by those statistics, we won’t ever leave our houses. Not only did I make that point, but I challenged this person’s opinion on rape given that we do have data to support the claim that most rape most of the time is by those known to the victim–fathers, uncles, co-workers, friends. This person demanded evidence for my claim, which I admittedly wasn’t able to provide in the moment, but what shocked me was that I thought this was common knowledge. Nope. This person was solely interested in his/her opinions and NOT having those opinions challenged. But as an atheist, how can this person claim to be intellectually honest?

    The fact that this person and I disagreed or that this person had an emotional reaction don’t together invalidate this person’s opinions. The evidence or lack thereof do.

    If I were trying to convince you that your mother were a murderer, I’d presumably want to point to evidence. If I had none, then I agree, it’d be hard to do.

    I would hope, though, that even if it were your mother involved, you’d be interested in truth regardless of what it meant. Or even if not at first, eventually.

  4. […] I wrote weeks ago, regarding “elevatorgate” and The Atheist Experience’s alleged reaction to it […]

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