Mailbag!

For the regular show this week, I thought we’d do a mailbag episode. It’s been awhile and I’m sure some of you have some great questions or requests for topics. Also, don’t be shy to mention features of the show that you’d like us to try, or have us resurrect.

Be sure to submit your questions in the comments below, as my email address is on the fritz.

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Comments (23)

  • avatar

    Max

    Jacob,

    How does someone continue to argue with a religious person after they admit the bible is to be interpreted as a simplified version of infinite knowledge so we can understand it? An example is my friend saying that God creating the world in seven days could be a easier to comprehend bit of information than billions of years for the human mind.

  • avatar

    Tim

    G’day

    Been listening to your backlog of shows, for the most part it’s quite good stuff :)

    Just thought I’d point out an ontological argument style false equality from one of your shows

    Just because male peacocks plumage and behaviour seems to be directly related to strongly female “choice” sexual selection does not mean that it is the same for humans. After all which sex tend to put more time into their appearance? Makeup and dresses plus the mostly female dominated dance floors (here in oz anyways) could be seen as parallels to the male peacocks plumage and mating dance.

    In reality sexual selection in largely monogomous apes is, as it is with other monogomous species, in a both party “choice” direction

    have a good one

    Tim

  • avatar

    Daniel

    Hey Jacob (hope you had a fun bday)

    My mailbag question…
    What do you think people can do about this Westboro Baptist Phelps family? Given the recent court decision (which I partially agree with because free speech is so important, but) how do rational people deal with blind religious insanity?

    Thanks,
    Daniel

  • avatar

    Scott Harrison

    What is your opinion on the Census Campaign starting up currently in the UK and Australia. Good for getting the “None”s counted or a way of hiding the Atheist Label from Secular outreach?

    Links to Official sites:
    http://census-campaign.org.uk/
    http://www.censusnoreligion.org/

  • avatar

    Brennan

    Jacob,

    Our grasp, meaning humanity has a meager grasp on the concept of infinity, at best.
    A friend expressed this by means of metaphor.

    A small bird flies west from the eastern most mountain of Asia. The bird continuously conveys a fraction of the mountain to the western most plateaus in North America.
    Ultimately, the bird transfers the entirety of the mountain. As he phrased it, this one occurrence requiring an infinitesimal quantity of time is comparable to a pebble within an ocean in terms of a moment in the continuum of time.

    My question is simply, in your opinion is an average theist’s interpretation of infinity diluted by it’s portrayal within “holy” scripture? Is it past them to rationalize the blatant flaws of existing in such a state, as their heaven gradually manifests into Limbo?

    Thank you

  • avatar

    Richard

    Do you think there are any truths to be found in digging into our own subconscious with the use of drugs like DMT or LSD? In other words, does the crazy stuff that our brain goes through when bathed in all kinds of crazy chemicals, in your opinion, have any deeper significance than just a monkey brain freaking out?

  • avatar

    Brennan

    Wish we could ask George Carlin

  • avatar

    Brandon

    Dawkins said in the video you posted on Feb 7th, that if you compare any two pairs of animal’s genes to one another, using modern DNA techniques, and plot out the resemblances, they form a perfect heirarchy, a perfect family tree.

    Who has done this and where can I see the results? Can you explain this in more detail or point me to more information on this?

  • avatar

    chocobar

    Brandon seems open to to discussion and debate. Would you consider having him on your show?

  • avatar

    drew davey

    what the fuck happened to Ryan – where did he go
    i heard about this site from fightlinker
    i miss him – in a totally gay way

    more relevant to this site – Sam Harris said we shouldnt call ourselves atheists – whats your take on that – i can see his point – i believe i read on this site that atheists are the least trusted people in north america, or something to that affect – should we call ourselves something else – maybe you should buy the domain “thegoodsomethingelse.com” and get that dot com you want so bad

    i like being an atheist – i can say without hesitation im a proud atheist – should we be called rationalists?

    im curious what your thoughts are

  • avatar

    WCLPeter

    Why is it when someone asks you a question, even if you just had one in your head five minutes ago, you immediately realize you have no questions *but* yet two weeks from now, when doing something at work you have to focus on, you easily think of half a dozen however by then its too late the ask the question?

    Seriously though I’ve always been a little concerned with how difficult it is to engage in discussions with other rational people. As an example, I read a few atheist sites and after reading what they’re talking about and often I find myself agreeing with the conclusions of the author. Since any comment I’d make would often boil down to some variation of a “Me too!” type post I haven’t really quite figured out how to get involved. Do you have any tips on how we can foster communication as a group that would allow us to build communities?

    Pete…

  • avatar

    drew davey

    if you had the power of god to bring one person back to life – who would it be?

    i choose carl sagan – i would really like to know what you think – as well as other atheists

  • avatar

    WCLPeter

    Oh, one more thing, I want to ask “God” a question too.

    Dear God,

    If you are the awesome and intelligent designer you claim to be, why didn’t you design precipitation to only fall on the grass, fields, forests, and other bits covered in nature?

    As I’ve watched all the wonderful snow you keep throwing around piling up and seeing all the car crashes and old people slipping and falling, please for the love of yourself start using the dandruff control shampoo again because you know I have a bad heart and a sore back and shouldn’t be lifting all that heavy shit, I have to wonder why anyone who had the power to make literally anything happen would miss the opportunity to fuck with the scientists and their silly attempts to explain your creations by sadistically designing precipitation to never fall on roads and sidewalks.

    Thanks, Pete…

  • avatar

    Darryl

    Why is it that, if you’re lucky enough to find an atheist, then they will have some other bullshit pseudo-scientific belief like astrology or the power of positive thinking?

    Am I the only person on the planet who believes in reality?

  • avatar

    Chris Young

    Brandon,
    There’s an excellent book written by Dawkins called “The Ancesters Tail” where he goes into this in great detail.

    Cheers,

  • avatar

    Robert Donnelly

    Hey Jacob,

    Whats your opinion on stupid western governments bringing in laws or precedents based on religion that allow Islamic nations to justify their horrible laws?

    e.g. In Ireland, our outdated constitution says that Blasphemy is an offence but there was never really a law in place. So just last year, our Justice Minister brought in a modern day Blasphemy Law instead of holding a referendum to get rid of that bit. The (now ex) government claim that they worded it so that nobody could actually be charged with it, but there is a huge negative side. Within the EU, if any two countries have matching laws, you can be extradited. So if you publish something blasphemous in Ireland that somehow made it to Turkey, you could be charged and extradited to face charges there.

    Also, the Islamic Council in the United Nations have used our law as an example (and even used parts of its wording) to create an International Blasphemy Law that all UN nations would have to abide with.

  • avatar

    Rebo

    Jacob!

    More Bible stories. That was a quite enjoyable podcast.

    Also, what’s your favorite beer? (Actually name – don’t just say “cheap”.)

  • avatar

    TheEnglishAtheist

    Hey Jacob,

    Just wondered what you thought of this story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-12598896

    Personally I’m really happy that the British Government realized that homophobes were suitable foster carers.

  • avatar

    Rayden

    Hi whoever runs this show these days, I was just wondering what do you guys think about the position that Richard Dawkins holds on Children been indoctrinated or brainwashed by their parents by bringing them up into religion he is Against that, but why does he advocate it so strongly, he should know more than anyone that religious parents really think they are doing good by forcing children to be religious… What are your thoughts on that?

  • avatar

    drew davey

    both joey and chandler have new tv shows – and i dont hate either show – and i dont hate either of their characters – does this mean the end of the world is coming?

  • avatar

    Andy Scott

    When you’re debating a religious person, how important is it to know if you’re both making your arguments from the same Bible version?

  • avatar

    Ryan

    The Good Atheist,

    My wife and I are both atheists that come from parents who are pretty religious – my wife’s more than mine. Lately, my wife has become more open with letting her parent’s know about her atheism, but she is both heavily influenced by them and she doesn’t want to cause any harm to their relationship. However, as they realize more and more her true feelings, they keep sending her pamphlets and “prayer will cure everything” books and consistently bringing up religion in passing – almost using it as a small dagger. They also seem to isolate me as an “outsider” more and more. I realize that I don’t want my wife to have a bad relationship with her parents, and for the most part, I would have to say religion is not an issue. Unfortunately though, I can foresee that when we have children there may be a huge war over their “souls,” especially given their personal ideas on how to raise children, which is over sheltering. Overall, do you have any advice on this issue? Is it worth bringing up and setting the ground rules now, or just waiting until it becomes more of an issue? We just don’t want to ruin the relationship between our future children and their grandparents, so should there be any compromise? If so, how much compromise should there be? We don’t agree with baptism, so that is off the table, but what about attending church with their grandparents? We don’t agree with it, but how do you bring something up like that without causing a huge fight? Should we tell her parents that they can say what they want, but we will bring the children up in a way that they will know religion is all bogus? I am sure you have gotten this question before, but since I am still working through the large quantity of backlogged shows, I am not sure, or remember.

    Thanks

    R

  • avatar

    HereticsAnonymous

    At what point do you give up trying to discuss/debate religion with someone?

    I have 2 dear Catholic family members who will blatantly admit they have no rational grounds for their beliefs yet get offended by even the slightest questioning of their faith.

    These are otherwise reasonable well-educated rational human beings who somehow seem no harm in supporting the Catholic Church and raising their kids as such. They are so intelligent I think there has to be a way to reach them — but all my attempts seem in vain. It is so frustrating!

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