AS274: David Smalley of Dogma Debate and Andrew Torrez

Listeners will know I’ve been very critical of a particular exchange David had with Andrew, so I feel absolutely obligated to give David the chance to come on the show to provide his point of view. The result is an unedited conversation between the 3 of us. Andrew and I did some commentary afterward on

Here’s the screenshot Andrew mentioned.

Here’s the PDF of the original confrontation.

178 thoughts on “AS274: David Smalley of Dogma Debate and Andrew Torrez”

  1. This episode was horribly painful to listen to. Partically, due to people talking over each other (nothing Thomas could really fix) and the fact that Thomas and Andrew were trying to pacify a crying baby the entire episode.

    1. Smalley just fucked himself for his podcastathon. CogDis and Scathing probably won’t do spots for him after this travesty.

      1. I don’t necessarily think the Scathing and CogDis guys will pass on the podcastathon. After all, it’s for charity. They might choose to skip it, and I wouldn’t hold it against them if they did, but I could also see them doing it for the greater good.

  2. I really don’t feel like you should have or needed to cede more than you did. Sure maybe your (Thomas’s) tone was negative but, and maybe this comes down to misunderstanding, but that segment was never meant as a “here is an objective, untainted look into the discourse between two people” segment- it was op-ed on that discourse. Maybe Smalley finds that objectionable but I don’t think that’s any grounds to say you can’t hold and then later disseminate an opinion if it is at all negative toward someone. I mean that’s what 90% of what a lot of this aesth/ skeptic podcast content is- that’s 100% of shows like CogDis and the Scathing Atheist. You also can’t project misunderstandings or the inability to read 100% of someone’s intent as being purposefully misleading which seems like what Smalley was accusing you of throughout the entire episode. If there’s a misunderstanding by all means clarify but don’t villaify the person that didn’t interpret you completely to your liking- especially when you admit to not fully reading (in which case meaning not fully comprehending either) what the person you were having a conversation with was trying to communicate with you. How can you possibly interpret exact authorial intent in that situation when the author has less context than the reader despite all the elements being presented to both parties?

  3. Rage posting isn’t much different from drunk posting.

    This happens so often on the internet. It’s really hard to remedy because everything read after getting offended at a condescending post like Andrew’s is often jaded by the initial impression, so even a sincere apology can easily sound like sarcasm in that state of mind and just make matters worse.

    I think that really explains the whole interaction in a nutshell. Andrew made what was taken as a snarky post from an unknown internet poster, David got offended by it, skimmed the rest and understood none of what he was reading. So basically, Thomas, you spent a whole podcast breaking down and laughing at string of rage posts. I thought that after the initial podcast.

    I don’t think what you did was a huge crime or that you should make some grand apology, but I do believe David wasn’t probably all that mad about being wrong, just at how he was being corrected.

  4. Thomas, to answer your question regarding apologizing to Smalley….

    I agree with your comment regarding him and his show. You could have set him up and that would have softened some of the comments. I suspect that most of your listeners already knew Smalley long before his exchange with Andrew.

    I’ve followed this discussion/argument from day 1 and other than my nit-picky comment above I don’t think you have anything to apologize for. Nada, zilch!

    In my opinion, Smalley was 100% wrong and was too small to admit he screwed up. His continued attempt to frame the discussion as “both sides were wrong” was a pathetic attempt to cover his overreaction – in my opinion.

    I was surprised at how petty and thin skinned Smalley came across during this interview, I expected him to be more composed.

    While I wasn’t a paying subscriber, I stopped listening to Dogma Debate a few weeks back. While the original exchange with Andrew wasn’t the sole reason for me stopping, it was certainly the proverbial straw.

    On a side note, I was curious why Eli’s comments never came up. If I recall correctly, he reached out to Smalley, at least once, trying to bridge the divide. Maybe my memory is faulty…

    1. Yes he did. Alisha was very dismissive of the idea and it was the reason I didn’t bother trying to have David on initially. Overall that was a mistake on my part, but that was my reasoning at the time.

  5. Since you asked, I think these are the things that went wrong on your end.

    1. Andrew’s tone in the original interaction (which he apologized about)
    2. Your tone in the episode (which you basically covered, and is not really that big of a deal)
    3. Reading into intentions around the midway point (which both you two seemed to do and Andrew was right to halt the psychoanalysis).

    I only say that cause you asked. I think these are minutiae that pale in comparison. Smalley was unfair with everything. I really don’t think you mischaracterized him, and in fact I felt he mischaracterized you. Things like comparing Andrew’s initial interaction to saying “fuck you” when bumping into someone, or saying that you accused him of being drunk. Almost everything was completely hyperbolic. I’m disappointed in Smalley in this case. It really comes across as tone trollish, and based off of past interactions I expected much better from him.

  6. This was a tense episode, and kind of really painful to listen to.

    But it was great to hear him make his case, and I see his perspective better now.

    Thomas, you maybe owe him an apology only for getting a bit bitter in this episode, but not a very big one. It was a long, recirculating argument and you all did pretty well.

    But you totally gave him the benefit of the doubt on the original facebook post tommentary. You said maybe he was drunk, which is a charitable caveat in my opinion, and as you said, a perfectly legitimate excuse. “Yeah, sorry I was drunk and got really angry” is all he needed to say. Now it seems he heard that as a claim that he is a drunk, which may be a sore spot, who knows, who cares.

    When he kept trying to claim he made no insults, even reading “You’re arrogance knows no bounds” and not understanding that is calling Andrew arrogant, a commonly accepted insult, I started to see the real picture.

    He wants to be excused from the statements because he was just mad with rage at Andrew’s first “Hey fuck you man, watch where you’re going” comment, which he has no right to be.

    He can apologize for losing his temper and throwing all civility out in the discussion, but he can’t ask for an apology when people call him out for being an asshole, and by the light of this information people decide to opt out of an optional pledge to support him.

    He wants to blame Thomas for not understanding he just lost his temper, as if that’s an excuse.
    Maybe he could’ve taken his own advice and messaged Andrew privately, to settle the issue out of the public eye.
    But his issue is with the publicity AS brought to his misstep, and really, he is trying to shoot the messenger, which is funny so don’t worry I laughed a few times too.

    Love your work Thomas, you’re exceedingly generous to opposing viewpoints and I appreciate the nuance you usually add to debates.

    What do you mean patron bonus content!?!

    Okay fine, I’ll pledge to hear it, but I can’t recur my patronage currently, I’m sure you understand. Looking forward to the next episode!

  7. To Thomas and Andrew: You did what you could. Sorry that you had to suffer thru that. You don’t have to apologize to David, he should probably apologize to you for misrepresenting YOU.

    To David(if you see this): You could have fixed this easily. Just say that your initial point was wrong, and that your response when talking to an expert was extremely disrespectful, and for that you apologize. That would have been it. Done. fixed. Your behaviour thru the entire show was horrible.

  8. As a long time supporter of DD I’m really disappointed in David’s handling of this interaction. My opinion of him has been jaded, which makes me feel sad because I truly believe he has a good heart and works hard to help others and support worthwhile causes. David could have cleared the air quickly and easily but instead attempted to dig his heels in. My initial reaction is finding myself not wanting to support his show anymore which doesn’t feel right. I wish he would have just apologized for over reacting and moved on.

  9. If anything I think you have been over generous with Smalley. His actions over the Andrew Torrez debacle is entirely typical of how he behaves on his show.
    He goes on and on about how we should all be polite and we should all “reach out” to each other culminating in his ridiculous ‘Don’t be a dick podcast. Yet at the same time he is constantly rude and aggressive to people he interacts with. I really don’t mind rude or aggressive but seriously, not when he is constantly, and I mean constantly, going on about how we should all be polite and nice to each other.
    I was a paid subscriber to his show until a couple of months ago. I unsubscribed after he told me to fuck off in a twitter exchange where he was demonstrably wrong, another case where I disagreed with him without being rude and he just flew right off the handle.
    Basically, the guy is a giant ego in a tiny body.

    1. Agreed.
      The bit that made me start to listen less and less was how he interacts, on air, with his SIgnificant Other. Then I noticed the pattern with other people.

      I mean, ffs he’s pissed at Thomas for laughing at something he finds ridiculous, when that is like half of Dogma Debate! They read what creationists/republicans/theists say and laugh when they find it funny.

      But don’t laugh at David. That’s DISRESPECTFUL!


      1. DD was probably my first atheist podcast, but after a few months I moved on to his guest’s shows because of his interactions, and I can only listen to him make the same problem of evil argument just so many times.

      2. I had to stop listening to a very recent DD show when he blatantly interrupted his (soft spoken, shy-seeming, basically extremely sweet sounding) wife while she was talking about a personal experience with a guest… To talk about a time when his wife stood up for what she believed in! What!?!? Seriously, he steamrolls right over her, episode 263, 9 minutes, 45 seconds in. I made myself listen to it again, just to be sure… Ugh.

  10. I’ve often thought David Smalley was annoying and self-important, but DAMN did he just double down on it! What an insufferable ass! I have now lost any respect I had for him after listening to that painfully juvenile exchange.

    No, Thomas, you shouldn’t apologize for what you said. You were clearly offering an opinion, based on the post comments.

    MESSAGE TO DS: Smalley, you are the bigger celebrity, here. You could have been gracious and apologized for overreacting on something where your grasp of the situation was patchy at best. Instead, you loaded up your “proof” and set about trying to defend your actions. You kept talking about them “disrespecting” you or “misrepresenting” you. The whole thing made you look as petty as you apparently ARE. Had you chosen to take the humble route, you would no doubt have won the admiration of Thomas, Andrew, and all of the listeners. (You could have done that publicly and still bitched and grumbled privately!). I can’t believe you turned this misunderstanding into a street fight. Pathetic.

  11. So drinking is a character flaw? As far as condescension David is well known for his sigh which isn’t his way of expressing respect. The whole topic is ridiculous.

  12. Great job with this episode I don’t know how you stayed so calm with Smalley and Andrew was way to gracious.My favourite part was near the end when Andrew became the moderator.
    He is so wrong, you gave him so much time to make a case, which he never does. Every time you prove David wrong with facts he claims your bias or lying or not giving him a chance to talk.
    I can’t believe he told you to chill out then claimed he has taken reasonability which he defiantly hadn’t at that point.
    After reading David’s blog and listening to his PZ episode about atheists communicating he is a hypocrite.

  13. First of all, for what it’s worth I think this episode was actually a really good example of disagreements amongst atheists. Congratulations to David for coming on the show even though he was clearly very upset. I think that in itself shows a base level of intellectual honesty that we should all aspire to. Furthermore, I think that the ideal of rational discourse that David, Thomas and Andrew aspire to really did help to moderate the arguments and allow some level of communication to happen despite the high level of emotion.

    I don’t know anything about David Smalley that I haven’t heard from Atheistically Speaking but to me he really came across as someone who felt he was entitled to a whole lot of generosity of interpretation. It’s possible he’s earned it by the way he’s conducted himself elsewhere but coming in without that background he was far more sensitive to slights and less generous in his interpretations of others than Thomas or Andrew. As was mentioned on the show, maybe his level of fame and previous experiences can explain some of this attitude.

    After listening I actually think there are concessions that both sides could make that would satisfy the main points of contention.

    First. Now that they’ve had a follow up interaction Thomas could agree to accept at face value David’s explanation of his motives for getting angry at Andrew (ie. That he was angry at the tone of Andrew’s initial response (whether reasonably or not) and not that he was angry at being wrong.

    Secondly. David could agree to acknowledge that what he originally wrote in response to Andrew could easily be interpreted as being motivated by being upset about being wrong.

    Lastly and least importantly everyone could acknowledge that they all may have degrees of unconscious bias and less than perfect knowledge of their own motivations.

  14. I think David was generally mistaken that you OWED him an apology over the criticism in the Tommentary episode, but having said that I think an apology could have been enormously valuable to him, more so probably than the value to you of withholding one. So I think while it wouldn’t have been the “right” thing it might have been a good idea nonetheless.

    I do think however there were three areas where David is perhaps rightly deserving of some recompense, or at the very least sympathy:

    1. Having all three of you in this discussion was a mistake. Aside from the obvious two-against-one disparity, there were actually two completely separate altercations at issue, the original one with Andrew and one with you over the Tommentary. It would have been more productive to address these separately and one-on-one. As David pointed out, at times it felt as though he and Andrew were inching toward common ground when the dynamic of the 3rd person would get in the way. Not your fault in the moment but a problem with the format.

    2. Whether fairly so or not, it was the case that David was by far the more aggrieved party going into this, so you could have taken a more conciliatory tone to approach that. As you mentioned you’re usually very consistently prone to stating every side of every issue, but in the heat of this argument I feel you were sometimes dismissive, even flippant towards David. You could reasonably make the argument that some of his arguments were actually deserving of being dismissed, certainly (and I would), but that doesn’t mean doing so is the best course of action. There’s a way to respectfully disagree even vehemently without antagonizing and escalating the conflict. I think you and Andrew both failed on this front.

    3. The laughing. This is the one area where I agreed 99% with David. It’s one thing when you’re having a casual conversation and cracking jokes, even at someone’s expense (like your original “maybe he was drunk” comment” which was a gentle and appropriate ribbing). But in this episode I heard a person who may have been in the wrong (ok, WAS in the wrong) and who was genuinely distressed and hurting because of the experience repeatedly mocked and laughed at. Now, because I have listened to your show for a few years now (and am quite enamored with it, to the point that oh my god I’m STILL writing this critique of what is in the grand scheme a fairly minor incident), I’m fairly attuned to the Thomas Smith Laugh (TM) and what’s behind it, namely goofy irreverence coming from a place of love and thoughtfulness. But I can easily see how a stranger already in a state of extreme tension could with good reason perceive it as derision for him as a person. I’m as bemused as you guys as to why David had such a thin skin with this whole thing, but it just doesn’t do any good to add fuel to the fire by continuing to act in a way that you know he is experiencing as hurtful. It’s not fair that you should have to handle him with kid gloves, but it seems like that may have been the way forward in this instance.

    I hope this criticism is constructive. It’s to your credit that you asked for criticism, and it probably says something that I don’t feel any urgent need to offer David any advice even though he came off HORRIBLY in this episode. I wouldn’t even know where to start. On your end, by contrast, I think you just went about being right in a bad way.

    I hope you guys try again at some point, though maybe as David suggests you should consider doing a bit off-mic just to start. You are both incredibly important voices in the movement and I think you could have some fruitful arguments about some actual real things. I would like to hear those conversations.

    1. I disagree.

      Thomas already apologized without needing to very publicly. David in no way deserved one here.
      Plus it’s nonsense to say that you ought to be conciliatory when the other party feels more aggrieved. If they aren’t in the right they’re grievances aren’t legitimate. No onr’s under any obligation to bend over for wrong people.

      Smalley’s makes a career of being flippant and dismissive of things (that are usually truly worthy of dismissal). He’s got little business being so thin skinned about it coming back now can you not laugh when someone uses the arguments he used here?

      Thomas here had the patience of a saint. He kept speaking up when he felt Andrew giving away too much. Someone comes to your house and starts acting a dick, you don’t need to meet them in the middle.

      1. It depends on what outcome you want to achieve. My point was that conciliation might be the wisest path toward achieving a peaceful outcome, not that it was just. To my mind saving the relationship (so that you can get back to meaningful conversation) is more important than everyone getting what they deserve. Think of all the good these two could do together. I don’t care who was right nearly as much as I care about finding a way forward.

        Regarding the propriety of treating the more aggrieved party with deference, I get that it’s frustrating, but people aren’t robots or Vulcans. We’re humans with dumb stupid feelings that don’t make sense that get in the way. Perfect logic in the context of heightened passions is a chimera. Showing respect for each other’s dumb stupid feelings is how we move forward as a community. People screw up, but other people can forgive them. It’s, like, humanism or something, right?

        1. I think you’re right to point out that focusing on who deserves what, at the expense of being able to resolve a disagreement, is counterproductive, but I also think resolving conflict for the sake of resolving conflict can be just as misguided.

          I believe that treating people with compassion and empathy is in keeping with humanistic values, but I also think there’s something problematic about forgiving someone who asserts they haven’t wronged you. It feels a little too passive-aggressive, well-meaning christian for my tastes (e.g., “Jesus forgives you for being gay whether you like it or not”). To some extent, if we can’t agree on facts and accept that our actions have caused harm or distress to another person, saying the words “I’m sorry” doesn’t feel like much more than a social nicety at best, and a manipulation at worst (i.e., “you can’t be mad at me anymore because I apologized”).

          I agree that feelings are important, and validating them is not just a useful tool for getting back to logical conversation, but a crucial part of recognizing each other’s experience.

          In that vein, I think it’s important to recognize that we may be inadvertently dismissing a person’s genuine feelings of anger, sadness, and outrage at being “falsely maligned” when we offer unsolicited forgiveness in an effort to simply move forward.

          1. Great points. I think you’re right to suggest it can be counter-productive to forgive somebody when they haven’t actually apologised, even passive aggressive. I guess my main thought on that is that in this instance the other person just wasn’t ready to apologise, due to being steeped in good ol’ reg’lar aggression.

            Let me alter my wording slightly and say the way forward oughtn’t be forgiving him per se, but taking the point of contention and compartmentalising it to an extent. The genuinely sad part of this whole debacle is that if these three guys could have a handful of conversations about something totally different I’m 99% sure they would enjoy each other and perhaps even become good friends.

            My suggestion is not that they agree that ‘well everyone’s a little wrong here’ and let bygones be bygones (that would be dishonest) but that they stand back and recognise that passions are just too intense, too immediate to adjudicate the matter rationally at this time. A few months down the line, maybe when they’ve had some time to get to know each other’s personalities and conversational styles wholly outside of THIS ONE DUMB INCIDENT, they could come back around and judge their past decisions that brought them to this point with a more dispassionate and rational view.

          2. Thanks for elaborating. I see your point more clearly, and I think you’re right that it might have been less of a frustrating experience if they’d been able to pause when things got too heated, or when it was clear they’d become stuck on a particular disagreement.

            I also think you’re definitely right about recognizing and respecting someone’s readiness to apologize. That is an insightful point.

  15. As a fan of both Thomas/Andrew and David, this entire episode was a total shit show. These arguments are all circling around each other.

    1. Yup, I’ll go with that. Painful. It’s like Sam Harris and Maryam Namazie all other again.

      As a listener to both shows (+OA) I’ll just pretend it never happened. Perhaps something to learn there, guys.

      Two points I will make though (albeit rather trivial).
      * Social media discussions really are the worst forum for discussion.
      * Because this was an argument with an audience, to hold out an olive branch would have been seen by some as an act of weakness.

      Anyway, that’s all I have to say on this.
      When are you going to do hobby lobby on OA?

  16. The entire crux of David’s argument was that he was offended by someone’s tone. If you host a podcast for years, in which you deal with very sensitive subjects, you either learn to not get angry at people’s tone, or you delete your facebook page. Let someone else deal with it, because after hearing this podcast, I conclude that David is not mature enough to handle such interactions.

    Not only that, but as someone who is an expert in something, that being a subsection of history, I can attest to how frustrating it is when amateurs make posts about something they clearly don’t understand. Frequently I wish that people, podcasters included, would ask an expert to give their opinion rather than the podcaster voicing their own, because the podcaster is often wrong. I can also attest to the fact that it is practically impossible as an expert to not come across as condescending. Because we’ve gotten to a point in our society where everyone thinks that they’re opinions are of equal value to everyone else’s, and that is simply incorrect. An expert’s opinion on their given subject of expertise will always, ALWAYS, outweigh that of an amateur. But people, and apparently David, can’t seem to handle the idea that someone might know more about a subject than they do.

    Honestly, I take it as a sign of lack of integrity, and a lack of intellectual maturity on david’s part, and its for that exact reason that I stopped listening to his podcast and unsubscribed to it months ago. He went off about a subject of history, I believe it was the marches in Selma, and he was absolutely wrong about them. When it was pointed out that he was wrong, he dug in his heels and refused to budge. Listening to him again now, my opinion of him hasn’t changed.

  17. Methinks David doth protest too much. Sure, when you get into semantics, not technically name calling. But, he was upset about being wrong. It’s pretty clear.

  18. David is such a condescending asshat. I used to be a big fan of his show before he moved all his commercials to the front end of the show and he moved his actual content behind a paywall. I for one am glad that his interaction with Andrew has cost him listeners and I am not the least bit surprised that he is blaming Thomas for his lost income.
    David is such thin skin petulant child and a hypocrite to boot. Constantly he is cutting of Christians on his own show to prevent gish gallops yet that was his bread and butter here except he went full blow sye ten bruggencate with the clips. Now do not get me wrong the clips added context to the show but he seemed to think that allowing Thomas to speak via the clips should somehow count against the time he gets to talk. I think if this were a one on one talk between Andrew and david that the conflict would have been resolved but David would have walked all over Andrew, and lifted his leg and pissed in his mouth and told him it was raining. Thomas was not going to let that happen. While I think he was overly forceful about it I am glad he didn’t sit by and let David roll over Andrew.

  19. David tried to explain at one point in this podcast that he was arguing that the settlement wouldn’t create a legal precedent but rather a social precedent, however I did not hear him back that up and don’t see how anyone could have gotten that from the Facebook exchange. My take, for what it’s worth is that he reacted poorly on Facebook and is doubling down. I will still listen to David’s podcast but I will see him in a different light.

  20. That was bad. So much that I couldn’t listen to more than just the first 20 minutes. I just didn’t get the sense that anything useful was going to come from it, or that anyone would learn anything from it.
    All three came off really poorly, incredibly defensive and unable to concede they might had done anything wrong, or even phrased anything poorly

  21. I really think you don’t need to be more generous in you apology if you don’t want to be. It seems that you and David are coming from different sides of the fence.
    I think he made it clear that he was wrong but you really don’t care about that. It seems that you just want to defend your thoughts on how he acted and how he lashed out at a friend’s of yours that was just trying to get David more informed.

    More to the point I understand where you both are coming from and won’t stop supporting your shows, but I think you might consider this… in your honest opinion do you think that David would have lashed out if he had taken Andrews comments from a point of authority? Also you admitted to lashing out at a commenter for being in the wrong sate of mind and apologized for that so I don’t see what the big deal is. If you have ever had a hard day at work and gotten mad way to quickly at a friend you I think that you can empathize a bit for what David did. Also altered states of mind don’t necessarily need to have a drug or alcohol involved. ie. Crappy day at work….. all the the way thru depression. Thoughts…?

    At some point in a conversation you really need to figure out what how you want it to end and in my opinion I think you wanted to come out on top peace be dammed. But I could be wrong

    This interaction reminds me of learning how to parent …. never an easy thing.

    Always enjoy your show

    1. You make some good points, but I think there is a major distinction between Thomas’ admitted drunken online outburst and what happened here. Thomas admitted to being completely in the wrong, and apologized. In this case, Smalley said he is partially responsible but that Thomas was also to blame (and it seemed to me at times that Smalley felt Thomas and Andrew were more to blame). That makes it borderline victim blaming and not a real apology.

  22. I’m in agreement with you on this situation 100% Thomas. I’ve been a fan of both Atheistically Speaking and Dogma Debate for a long time. I was a 4th listener for years, and Dogma Debate was the first atheist podcast I ever started listening to.

    Over the years I have become less and less impressed with Smalley. Last year, for reasons I won’t get too specific about here, I stopped contributing to his show. I will say, I recognized his thin skin, and what I perceive as hypocrisy, and it just really rubs me the wrong way.

    Smalley’s initial reaction to Torrez, as well as his ongoing conversation, ultimately culminating in this podcast, has left a really sour taste in my mouth. He has a show titled “Dogma Debate,” yet he apparently does not understand the meaning of “ad hominem” and “misrepresentation.” He also appears incapable of taking criticism, though he constantly touts his willingness to take criticism.

    My takeaway from this show is that Smalley’s success has over-inflated his ego and made it difficult for him to engage honestly. He came off as a thin skinned cry baby here, and I’m really disappointed that he couldn’t be more reasonable. I completely understand Smalley’s point, and I believe Thomas and Torrez were MORE than generous in their concessions to Smalley. I really don’t think either of you owe any apology to him. I still don’t think Smalley understands exactly what happened here, and it is really unfortunate for him as the host of “Dogma Debate.” If he reads this I hope he takes it as constructive criticism and not an attack, but I have my doubts.

  23. First off. I completely agree with you Thomas/Andrew, and I think Smalley was way off base in this whole exchange. If you want some constructive criticism I’ll offer a few things.

    1) I think you undersold Andrew’s initial snark a little bit. He wasn’t being an asshole, but his initial comment that Smalley read definitely seemed intended to needle Smalley at least a bit, and I think you were a little to resistant to admitting that even after Andrew did.

    2) I think this discussion between the 3 of you would have benefited from some sort of “moderator”. Not an actual debate moderator, but someone more unbiased to the whole interaction. When Smalley comes in basically 2v1 he’s going to be super defensive from the get go, and feel like he’s not being allowed to get his point across even when he’s technically getting more time.

    3) This ties back to #2. I think you (Thomas) got a little too (understandably) vocally upset with David. I totally get it and I would have too, but I think having a more unbiased moderator to direct the discussion would have kept you from getting quite as frustrated and upset as you did, which would have kept David a lot more open to what you guys were saying.

    Honestly I found it fascinating to listen to. I think David had a few good points, but overall he is completely wrong in how upset he is over this whole thing. He seems to be taking your discussion of one poor online-interaction he had as an attempted assassination of his entire character. Which you clearly never did and is clearly not the case. Not even close.

    PS You’re on the internet Smalley. People are gonna laugh at you. (This was the most mind-blowing criticism to me. How dare you laugh about something he said?!)

  24. Wow. So I’ll be upfront: Before all this nonsense I was at most a casual listener to Dogma Debate. I’ve enjoyed it at times, but compared to shows like AS, I have occasionally found Smalley’s approach to conversations somewhat arrogant and grating. Having said that, when I listened to the episodes of AS in question, I assumed that Smalley was having a bad day when the Facebook exchange took place, and that he would probably admit his fault if given the opportunity.

    So if his intent in coming on AS was to correct a supposedly Thomas-fabricated perception of himself as petty/arrogant/unskeptical/etc, he accomplished exactly the opposite, at least for me. I expected him to concede that he escalated the situation too quickly, and then Andrew to concede that he could see how his initial post sounded aggressive, and then bro-hugs all around, and that would be that. Instead, Smalley doubled-down on the case that he was “disrespected” (and I could go on for a while about all the things that are wrong with that assertion), and demanded apologies for things that didn’t require them.

    In short, I had neutral-to-positive feelings about Smalley until listening to this episode. Based on the way that Smalley conducted himself (especially in light of his recent plea to the atheist community), I have lost a large measure of respect for him. He’s behaving like a narcissist who hasn’t gotten the respect he thinks he is due.

    By the way, Thomas, I understand your preface about not being “proud” of this episode, but I don’t think you did anything wrong in this conversation (or in the prior episodes, for that matter). You weren’t your typical mild and dispassionate self, but hey—even Sam Harris is less than zen when confronted with an unreasonable conversation partner. I think you were calling Smalley out on points that warranted (even necessitated) it. Your transparent and unapologetic frustration with his responses was appropriate, in my opinion.

    1. Can I just endorse Lindsey’s comments 100% and jump off from there?

      Fascinating show. May it be a cautionary tale for all of us to be ready to step over the occasional slight and accept correction with some thanks and humility while not demand unwarranted respect lest we look like petty, narcissists.

      I totally expected him to come on and clear the air and apologize for his outrageous display of anti-intellectualism. You guys were very patient but when the time was right you held the line. Great job!

      Will Smalley will take down or correct his original Blog Post? If he is interested in promoting truth and accuracy he will. Color me skeptical.

  25. Thomas you were being a dick to David more and more as the podcast went on. Completely warranted by the way. Andrew tries to have you back off a statement for civility and you doubled down. Hilarious.

    David was completely wrong here and I think you were more than fair with him each time.

    1. That’s a fair assessment of the episode.

      I love how Davids half-assed excuse for his behavior is “Andrew if you had told me that you were a lawyer from the beginning then I would have treated you differently.” As though ones profession has any impact on the validity of their statement. Andrew could have been a shitty lawyer than had no idea what he was talking about but his claim that he was a lawyer somehow would have changed Davids view on his comment. I call BS there. Oh you are a theologian well I guess there is a god then…. Nope that doesn’t follow.

      1. I think that’s a very valid point. David seemed to be arguing for a fallacy of argument from authority. I am not a lawyer, yet even I could have deconstructed his argument on similar grounds. Needless to say, I couldn’t do as eloquent of a job at is as Andrew did, but anyone with even basic legal understanding should have recognized some serious errors in his argument. David has claimed to have a criminal justice background, so it seems very odd to me that he had so little basic legal knowledge.

  26. If, based on my behavior, was going to be characterized as either an idiot, an asshole, or drunk. I’d choose the latter. I, at the time, honestly thought you were being generous, and giving him an out when you suggested that as an option.

    1. I totally agree and I think that if David should have come on and just said he had pounded a few before the Facebook exchange we would all feel better about it. But maybe that is because is am drinking right now…

  27. David Smalley was arguing like a 12 year old girl having a temper tantrum. It was very childish and I am glad that Thomas stood his ground. He deserved to be laughed at for his attempt at unnecessarily splitting hairs. He argued with an expert and lost, plain and simple. He was an amateur who got in the ring with an MMA expert, and legally got his ass handed to him and is now complaining that it’s unfair and attacking a spectator who happens to be friends with the guy who beat him up.

    This was a classic Fuck Boi moment by David Smalley.

  28. Thomas, I don’t normally contribute to forums and comment sections but I have to now. Smalley spent a lot of time in the first half hour of this saying how big his dick is and how he had no idea who you were. It was only when his livelihood was starting to take a hit that he bothered to care about his actions or who you and Andrew were. I was a subscriber to his show but I won’t be anymore. He says he doesn’t want to assume, yet he assumed Andrew was an armchair whatever by his own admission. I’ve lost respect for DD, not that I matter at all to David.

  29. I’m a black podcast listener of this show and since I listen to many atheist themed podcast in my spare time, my expert opinion on this can be taken as fact.

    Jesus fucking christ on a cracker! I would go so far to say this was painful but disappointing. I thought this issue was cleared up 2 months ago. Instead of resolving an insignificant issue and moving forward he attempts to stroke his ego. Goes to show you that not everybody is rational as they claim. He wants to “work out” differences and “unify” people; ironically he failed to live up to the principles he himself espouses on his show.

    Thomas, not sure if you’ll read this but be proud of this episode. Through no effort of your own David painted himself as a:

    Fuck boy (n) – a contemptible man

    Keep up the work bro.

  30. I stopped listening to Dogma Debate a few months ago because Smalley’s superior attitude and demeaning tone really started to put me off. It was nice to hear someone refuse to put up with his bullshit for once.

    In terms of whether Thomas or Andrew should have apologized more, I would say no, you apologized more than enough. The entire episode both of you were looking for things to apologize for (like grown-ups do), while David made ever excuse he could to avoid the responsibility for his ridiculous actions.

    Hearing Andrew’s comments again, I was actually shocked at how appropriate it was. It seems as though David flew off the handle at the word “just”.

    If I had one criticism of Thomas and Andrew it would be on the issue of laughing during the discussion. It probably didn’t help, but it probably didn’t hurt that much either. Anything short of a full apology would seems like it would have just made David more angry.

    1. His show show changed when Rachel and Aaron Ra left. Aron specifically would challenge the guests like Andrew tried to do with David on each claim. Aron didn’t let the guests pile fallacies on top on each other. Andrew was right to cut off David at each claim but David likes to let people talk and finish the entire thought. By the time the thought is finished, 15 claims are made and there is no way to address them all.

      Only thing Thomas said that was a mischaracterization was calling Rubin a shill for the alt right.

      1. “Only thing Thomas said that was a mischaracterization was calling Rubin a shill for the alt right.”

        I don’t recall Thomas’ exact characterization, and wouldn’t call him a “shill”, but I certainly think he does them more good than harm.

        1. I believe the claim was that he essentially offers alt-right figures a safe space to express their views without being meaningfully challenged.

          1. The audience should be smart enough to determine what ideas they like and what they don’t like. In the same way Thomas said his audience is smart enough to understand Smalleys words and not be influenced by Thomas’ commentary.

            This podcast shows you what it’s like to listen to someone being challenged on every point. If someone challenges every idea they disagree with in an interview it turns into a 4 hour clusterfuck like Sam Harris had with the Salon(?) writer or the terrible Maryam Nomezie interview.

            Rubin has an interview show where he doesn’t push back against anyone, it’s an hour. Smalley has a show where he lets the guest talk and then rebuts the points, it’s a 4 hour show and sometimes it’s a mess.

            I’m smart enough to figure out that Milo is a lunatic, I don’t need Rubin to challenge his bad ideas to know that are bad.

  31. One important thing that didn’t come up, was the gracious Twitter apology you posted about all this!

    You actually say: “Our differences (that I know of) are entirely contained within an extremely bad Facebook interaction and in no way do I mean to indict his entire person with my criticism”

    You can’t get more generous than that… This resonates with me, because I’d been like Andrew! probably would’v conceded more than was warranted, but re-reading the facts, even misconstructing the tone of the initial post of Andrew is entirely David’s fault!.. it was direct, but in no way, i repeat IN NO WAY disrespectful, in fact, to me it didn’t even sound arrogant, but I might be used to scientific criticism which can be scathing…

  32. I thought you were more than gracious to David- way more than necessary. David was completely unreasonable the entire time. Definitely don’t lose any sleep over it whatsoever.

  33. I stopped listening to Dogma Debate over a year ago because of the way he spoke to one of his female hosts whilst discussing the acquittal of a white policeman who shot an unarmed African American. That being said.

    Whilst I think overall David Smalley argued his case poorly. I do think you owe him apology for at times appearing to not take the depth how hurt he was emotionally by your comments more seriously. The laughter and some of your interjections were at times, I felt, inappropriate and I can see how this would irritate David. You and Andrew wanted to discuss facts whilst he wanted to talk about tone.

    I also feel that there were times when you could of taken more of a back seat and just let the other two talk like you normally do when you have two guests on your show. But I do understand that it is sometimes difficult to in the middle of a heated discussion.

    If I am honest, your first show on the issue did come across to me, like an attack on David Smalley. I was actually really surprised by that episode because you are usually more measured in the way you put your points across.

    I know you are not happy about how the discussion went and didn’t set out with the intent to hurt David Smalley or his brand so I really hope that you two can eventually resolve your differences privately.

  34. If you have anything to apologize for it’s for the mocking tone you took in this discussion and in Tommentary podcast, as well as the laughing. End den if you want to argue David deserved it, it’s still a little mean.

    Also, you could have been charitable enough to take his word on his motivation (tone not content). I say “charitable” becauseI think your interpretation from the exchange was very reasonable, and very possibly correct. In the end, though, arguing with someone about what’s in their own head is not going to be productive.

    On the factual points, however, David was wrong pretty much across the board. He was basically guilty of everything he wrongly accused you of and then some. My impression was that he was not ready to admit any wrong on his part unless somebody else was going to take more than half the blame. He came off as really arrogant and not at all ready to admit that he mostly did this to himself.

    Being a pedant myself, I really enjoyed the discussion about what technically counts as “name calling.” David seemed to be arguing for a very literal meaning. I really wanted you to point out that if “arrogant” “childish” “condescending” and “fuck you” aren’t technically “names”, David did refer to Andrew by his given name, which, in the most technical and literal sense is. If we’re going to be literal, let’s go all the way.

    IMHO David could have just ignored you, apologized to Andrew for the not-name-calling, and edited his blog post to correct the errors. Then he could tell his canceling 4th listeners that he had done his best to remedy the situation. As It is, he attacked you on your show, piled up more wrong statements, and confirmed the suspicions his Facebook posts raised.

    Others have made good comments about the failures of the format. I wonder if it would have gone better if you would have used more of a debate format – 20-minutes uninterrupted for David to air his grievances, 20 for you to respond, 5 or 10 more for him to follow up, then some discussion. Just a thought.

  35. I may have a unique perspective on this. I just recently (in the past few weeks) started listening to your podcast. I have been listening to Dogma Debate for many years now, and I was/am a paid member when I can afford it. Let me say first that these are just my opinions. I enjoyed your review of what was going on between David and Andrew, and though your commentary may have been a bit harsh at times, I didn’t feel that it swayed my opinion on the matter. I enjoy your honest and sometimes brutal commentary. You would have a pretty dry show without it. At first I was happy to see there was an episode in which David would be on to share his perspective. I thought it would be a great opportunity for him to clear things up & practice his idea of getting though these things so there can be more unity within the movement. That wasn’t the way it went though. David was coming across in an authoritative tone from the start. It seemed he was set on a objective that he was not going to give up on, regardless of whether or not he was seeing things from your or Andrew’s point of view. It felt that he was looking for opportunities to throw negativity towards you guys, going off on things that seemed trivial & unimportant. I caught myself wondering at times if he was acting this way just to get you guys to apologize as soon as possible without getting too far into the details. He also seemed to have a perspective that no one else could really see. I am not sure what his actual mindset was, but I wondered if he was even being honest about the whole thing. I enjoy Dogma Debate & I will continue to listen regardless of this issue, but David left me confused and somewhat disappointed. I really have no complaints about Thomas or Andrew here. I am actually glad Thomas didn’t give in. I really didn’t feel he had anything to apologize for.

  36. I still love you all, however, Thomas I think you got a bit carried away with things during the recording of this episode. Everyone makes mistakes, and I’d like for you and Smalley to recall that this all began and continued with a slurry of miscommunications. Miscommunications should be let go, they’re by definition not what was intended, and the same goes for misinterpretations and thinges said due to those miscommunications.

  37. God this was uncomfortable to listen to. Too much testosterone and pride to admit that he was wrong (in the exchange, not in the matter of law), but he knows he’s wrong, so he tries to force the victim to admit that they’re actually both wrong. The morons I went to high school with used to pull this shit all the time. And how dare he insinuate that it was Thomas’ fault that he’s lost income because of this? If he just apologized outright the next day when he had calmed down and think clearer, everyone would be back on board. People understand that you can make a mistake. What they don’t like is the stubbornness. Thank you Thomas for not letting Smalley bully Andrew into half the blame. He deserves at least 99% of it and until he admits that, stand your ground man.

    1. ” And how dare he insinuate that it was Thomas’ fault that he’s lost income because of this?”

      Yeah I wondered about that, David did seem to say that he lost money because of Thomas’s actions. The only example given was a guy who stopped paying because he heard David had been nasty to someone, he didn’t even read it for himself. What idiot does that? Fuck those people.

  38. Since you asked for feedback…

    In this response, I’m 100% ignoring the events that precipitated this whole episode, and commenting instead on the interactions in this episode in isolation of context.

    Warning: admittedly childish name-calling ahead!

    To be honest, the only person who came across to me positively was Andrew. David came across as a thin-skinned asshole, and Thomas, you met him on those terms and came across as a bit of a dick in response. That just spiraled, and we ended up with two hours of pointless exchange.

    Both you and he had rationalizations for why the postures you were each taking was valid and defensible, but hearing people say “this is why I’m right” back and forth repeatedly isn’t something that I personally find very interesting or intellectually enlightening.

    Do I think that this would have ended with group hug had you taken a different approach? No, it probably wouldn’t have, but to me at least, Thomas, you sounded like a smaller man during is episode than I’ve become accustomed to hearing, and that disappointed me.


  39. I’ve only recently started listening to and enjoying Thomas and Andrew’s show(s). I have not listened to Dogma Debate and now, based solely on this, with David’s performance in this episode, I have no interest.

    Thomas and Andrew had a stronger, consistent argument over David’s complaints. Atheistically Speaking for the win!

  40. I think it was naff to comment that you thought he might be drunk. If someone writes something that’s incorrect you can point that out without making suppositions which are irrelevant if correct and potentially hurtful if off the mark, but I don’t think there’s anything in the matter beyond that.

    To get butthurt about the way you speak about him and to claim he deserves greater respect than your comments afforded requires a double standard. David Smalley is not universally respectful (and rightly so) so to expect that you not take the piss or treat his comments with disdain makes him a hypocrite.

  41. I do agree that you’re under no obligation to apologize for your opinion on the exchange. I think it’s upsetting that his reaction to losing patrons was the sole reason for him reaching out. He stated he had stopped reading Andrew’s posts and had no intention of finishing the conversation prior to him losing money and trying to figure out why.

    I felt you and Andrew entered this show wanting to resolve the issues and that David came to hear you say sorry. Period. I realize I’m now inventing motives but that’s simply my opinion.

  42. Thomas, I’ve only recently discovered your podcast and love your gracious and introspective style. Those are qualities I emulate but don’t do it nearly as well as you. You always make a genuine effort to understand your guests’ points of view and that’s very admirable and intellectually engaging.

    Thoughts on the episode.
    1. Your tommentary was a reaction to David being a dick in his reply to Andrew’s facebook post and so I think your “maybe he was drunk..” comment was a genuine attempt to understand David’s strong rebuttal to being corrected. Not only that, but the way you phrased it gave him an out. For example, “No, I don’t drink but your tone upset me and I overreacted.”

    2. David accused you of laughing and making fun of him throughout your episode with Andrew. This is a gross exaggeration. David made stupid statements about a topic in which he’s ignorant. When normal people get chuckled at for saying something stupid they smile sheepishly and admit they were wrong.

    3. David came to the discussion with an agenda, loaded for bear with audio clips, determined to prove he was right. This attitude is not in the interest of reconciliation, and flies in the face of the arguments he makes in his 18 min show and his debate with PZ. (What’s more petty than having to rewind the tape to determine whether or not Thomas said the word “if”?)

    4. As an atheist/skeptic podcaster/debater, David definitely did not do himself any favours. Did he approach the conversation with a goal to understand the opposing view? Did he demonstrate critical thinking? Did he reevaluate his own position after being presented with new evidence? He could have done much to earn my respect by simply accepting Andrew’s apology and admitting he was wrong.

    1. Yes. David’s coming to the conversation with recorded clips was bizarre and off-putting. He clearly was not ready for an honest and open discussion. I’ve been critical of Thomas in this thread but it’s only because he seems genuinely desirous to understand where he went wrong and to improve himself. David just wasn’t there.

  43. Hi Thomas,

    I just want to start by saying I’m a big fan of your work. I also listen to Dogma Debate, though not as frequently.

    It seemed to me that David and Andrew largely resolved what issues they may have had in the original dispute, David admitted he just got angry and didn’t read Andrew’s replies properly, and Andrew admitted that he probably came on a little strong in the first post that David read. Additionally I think David’s explanation about why he got angry (people accost him all the time, he brought that baggage into his interaction with Andrew, and by the time Andrew explained himself better David was already too angry and flew off the handle) was generally understandable, and his apology seemed sincere. I was satisfied by how that interaction played out.

    The issues between David and you, however, were dealt with somewhat less elegantly. I think ultimately you were talking past each other a little and you were only getting at the real issues at the very end, when you unfortunately ran out of time. My perception is that David values his ability to accept when he is wrong very highly, and also considers himself to be a person who would obviously listen to expert opinions. He accused you of mis-characterizing him because he saw your episode as portraying him as a man who does not listen to experts and does not accept when he is wrong. His repeated assertions that he got mad because of how Andrew acted, rather than because he was shown to be wrong speaks to this I think. Frankly, I believe him on that point, and his contrary responses in their Facebook interaction can be chalked up to anger and nothing more. Perhaps I’m being too generous, but I know I can get that way sometimes so i’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. This explains (I think) why David was so angry and confrontational with you, Thomas.

    As to how you did, while I agree 100% with the content of the points you made, I do think that you were not as respectful to David as you could have been. Specifically when you laughed at him it sent (to me) a message that you didn’t really take his objections seriously. Putting myself in David’s shoes, I would have experienced a pang of white hot rage every time you laughed, and it would have been difficult for me to control it. I think that elevated the intensity of the interactions between the two of you unnecessarily, especially after David specifically called you out on it and explicitly stated that he interpreted that as being disrespectful. Now that being said, I absolutely agree that you did not misrepresent David in your original podcast, I agree completely with Andrew’s take that any reasonable listener would know that you are just giving your opinion. I also agree with the concession that you did give, where you admitted that you should have set up more positive context for David, and I appreciate you reiterating that at the end of the podcast. I actually don’t think that David completely disregarded that, but I would bet that he was just too angry at the end to give it the appreciation that it deserved. I also got the weird sense that David considered the mere suggestion that he might drink as an ad hominem, I think he’s bringing some connotations into that that aren’t warranted.

    Finally, do I think that you should apologize to David for anything? With regards to your original podcast about him, no, nothing beyond what you’ve already given him. I will say, however, that you might want to apologize to him for how your tone, especially the laughing, was at some points disrespectful in this podcast. I would also maybe clarify to David that you never meant to imply that his character was anything other than generally upstanding except for this particular instance on Facebook with Andrew (which you actually did at the end of the podcast, I would just make sure that David hears that)

    Well, those are my two cents, I want to reiterate that I love what you do, I love you podcasts and I will absolutely keep listening to the vast majority of your content! – Cheers!

  44. Smalley came at me with an angry accusation of slander once – in defense of his friend Callie Wright. He couldn’t back up his false accusation though.

    I’d say Thomas handed David his ass in this exchange and Smalley didn’t do himself any service either.

    I heard Thomas’ ‘If…’ as a correction to his initial statement – an effort to to rephrase an intended question. But Smalley took the opportunity to accuse Thomas of some impropriety – an established pattern.

    Anyway, I am of a mind that more information is better than less so I’ll continue to support and listen to both of you misstep from time to time.

  45. Without reiterating what the other commenters have said here too much, objectively, David Smalley came across as a complete jackass in this episode. I’ve never listened to dogma debate and first heard of him on atheistically speaking.
    After listening to this I’m amazed he has a large following, and podcasts, writes and “debate[s] for a living”, given how incredibly poorly he handled himself in this discussion

  46. I would love to get some opinions on this from DD 4th listeners unfamiliar with Thomas and Andrew.

    I want to fight my gut because I really like Thomas, but I slowly stopped listening to DD as I grew bored and annoyed with David.

    What I will say is that as the host you have disproportionate responsibility in pushing things in a healthy direction, if you have blame it is as a host. Many have addressed laughing, which I know is normal Thomas, but David did not and said it hurt him. Perhaps some reset early on and pushing David to enguage first in the meta discussion explicitly would have salvaged this. Also a bit of amenatizing and humanizing prior to diving in could have helped. (I say a literal amature to a literal professional, in the clear light of review)

    In the end though, David could have spent some time listening to your 14 different podcasts and less organizing a clip-warfare arsenal to come in blasting away.

  47. First post on anything other than Facebook. I’m on the side that are more technically correct and took the high road. You apologized too much. Smalley is over sensitive. He is still emotionally responding. He attacked your friend, you were emotional and rational. He attacked your character, talked down to you both (full of himself) only paid attention when his patrons called him out. He is not at the character or integrity to be worth your time or effort. Please set aside this Smallish Troll.

  48. oh man,,can you guys polish Thomas’ balls any cleaner?? The whole thing was a shit show…all of you were dicks…Andrew for writing a response that sounded smug as fuck which could have been sent private message but had to do it in public so you look smart to everyone..don’t know what kind of points you are scoring…David for not having thicker skin..and Thomas-who didn’t have a dog in this fight other than being Andrew’s friend but felt the need to jump in and blast David for an entire episode..Thomas—shut the fuck up…this had nothing to do with you. Andrew-you sounded like a smug prick. David- you sound like a baby! YOU WERE ALL DICKS!!!!!!!!!

    1. I think that’s a bit excessive, but I was amazed to come here and see all the people who thought Thomas did well.
      but I got the impression David came on wanting an apology and wasn’t willing to listen unless he got one, and Thomas came on wanting David to admit he was at fault and wasn’t willing to listen until that happened.
      It got off to a bad start with David whining that people had stopped giving him money because of what Thomas said, but when we got to the bit where he complained at being accused of name calling, and Thomas replied (to paraphrase) that David said a post showed a lot of arrogance, and that was the same as name calling, I knew there was no point. Thomas wasn’t going to back down on anything, and we’d already seen that David reacts badly when he thinks he is being attacked.
      Really, how hard would it have been for Thomas to say “OK, I suppose that isn’t really name calling, I used the wrong phrase, but would you at least agree it was rude?” or something, which is what I would expect from him based on other discussions where ha wasn’t being so defensive

      1. To say David didn’t call Andew names is disingenuous. David called Andew an amateur after learning he was a professional lawyer. While you might not consider this a slur David does judging but his reaction to the use of the word by Andrew.

  49. Thomas please do not lose one more moment of sleep over this. I know you are a softey and this one time you took a strong stand for something and you chose one time to be extremely right.

    I couldn’t help but think through the whole episode that David was thinking “Don’t you know who I am? I’m a big name around here, I deserve respect.

    He kept getting pissed for you guys laughing, but he was clueless to the fact the laugher was a nervous laughter based on your complete shock of what he was actually saying and how he was behaving.

    He made matters worse than before.

    If listeners thought less of David because of your previous episodes, he just made it even worse.

    I could speak for days about this but I would have to go back an listen to it again to clarify points, its not worth any of our time.

    I kept thinking am I going to hear an apology in hear from David one time? And we did get one but not until he begged you for one first.

    Really David he should apologize?

    For pointing out harsh things you literally said which coloured you in a bad light. While you simultaneously stand behind those things you said? Really

    The brasin attitude blows my mind.

    I said rude things, you pointed them out. Now apologize for pointing them out.

    All of this after the “here is what everyone does wrong in atheism post”

    Wow, just wow.

    David kept saying guys, I’m the guy who always claims we should change our minds, I’m against digging in our heals so what’s up?

    Yes David that’s the whole fucking point. That’s why he pointed this out because in this instance you didn’t.

  50. My most humble apologies Thomas. You suggested that this episode might be worth skipping and I didn’t take your recommendation. I listened. I’ll take your recommendations more seriously next time.

    I haven’t listened to DD for a year or more and I honestly don’t miss it. I felt that the show became too much about David and his various activities and how awesome David was. That sounds like a criticism but David and his show have quite a following so that type of content obviously resonates with some people. I’m just not one of them.

    By the gods though doesn’t that guy have a thin skin? He was annoyed that you were laughing at him or (as I frequently do) laughing at the situation? It’s a funny and stupid situation, that’s funny. He got mad, made an ass of himself and said some stupid things, that’s funny. David, please join us in having a good laugh at it all. You’ll feel better, I promise.

    Anyway, I have no wisdom or insights to impart. This episode probably needed to happen but now that it has we can all move… oh. The next episode is more about this. Well, after that we can move on and never speak of this again.

    Keep up the good work Thomas. Welcome to pod-casting Andrew. I hope this doesn’t put you off.


  51. Hi Thomas and Andrew,
    I enjoyed this episode immensely, and love it when you and CogDis have a laugh at David’s expense.

    I’m a former 4th listener. I stopped listening to DD for the following reasons, some of which will sound familiar:
    1. David is always butthurt about something. Andrew pointed out that David is VERY thin skinned and gets worked up about stupid shit.
    2. David rants. Not like the diatribe in Atheistically Speaking, but like ranting in a way that shows that he LOVES the sound of his own voice.
    3. David thinks he’s WAY more important than he actually is. Listen to one episode of Dogma Debate – you won’t have to make it through the whole thing before you realize that David truly thinks he’s at the center of the movement.

    In summary, David is a whiny bitch in love with the image of himself that exists only in his own mind.

    There was an episode last year, maybe a couple of years ago, where he’s at his mother’s Thanksgiving table and gets into an argument with a family member about gay rights… despite his mother’s repeated pleas to shut up. This evolved to the point where David threatens to bring out his firearm. His behavior represents everything I’ve said above: he disrespected his mother’s table to continue belaboring a point that escalated tensions to a breaking point where he even suggested using a firearm to diffuse the situation. The guy is irrational and flies off the handle, provokes people, and then takes this “woe is me” attitude when people call him and his massive ego out on it.

    I’m a debater, too. And Smalley… well that guy is just an armeture.

    1. That episode where he tells the Thanksgiving story was the last time I ever listened to DD. He was telling the story as if he was the aggrieved, rational one, but the whole time I’m thinking “why would you think this makes you look good?” (Pretty much the same reaction to this exchange as well.)

  52. Thomas, let me tell you who a I am and what I do as to lend credence to my opinion-I’m a podcast listener so review and opinions on podcast are fact.


    An apology is not needed. His whole goal was to paint you in a bad light is indicative of embarrassment. He dug his own grave the day he flew off the handle and waiting 2 months to address it doesn’t help his case.

    Some people aren’t worth the time or energy. Continue to podcast and spread knowledge like you’ve done.

  53. Another point I want to make after reading half way through the comments (wow a lot of smart people listen to your show).

    I lot of people seem to think the resolution here is to resolve the conflict and everyone goes away happy.

    The goal is for David to learn from his mistakes. (Gees I sound like PZ now, maybe he was right)

    With his ego as it currently appears to be if Thomas gave an inch, like apologized for what David wanted then David would have no chance of learning from Thomas. He would have walked away thinking he was vindicated and correct all along.

    I’m sure David will think long and hard later on an realize Thomas and Andrew were correct to point his failure out.

  54. I thought David came on the show to bury the hatchet which was living up to his blog post. He admited his mistake and apologized. His excuse/explanation was a bit flimsy but I don’t think it was to the point of a no-pology. I think it is reasonable that he had trouble finding the post, doesn’t read all the comments on his blog and didn’t know who Andrew was. Yes he got ridiculous when he was posting angry and that was covered by his apology. He wasn’t wrong when he and Thomas were quibbling about when the “if” came happened. I still like DD with David’s flaws and I still like AS. I don’t know that Thomas owes any additional apology for the original episodes but maybe for the gas-lighting that occurred this episode.

  55. I will keep this short as most things have been covered above.

    I definitely don’t think you owe David an apology.

    That was a very difficult podcast to listeria to, I would have been as frustrated as you appear to have been.

    It was clear that your anaiysis of Andrew and David’s interaction was your opinion, any reasonable person would take it for how it was intended.

    Unfortunately, in this instance you are not dealing with a reasonable person. David was upset that he was wrong, he didn’t like being called out, and he certainly didn’t like feeling it in his back pocket.

    David should be ashamed of his poor behaviour.

    Keep up the good work.

  56. One enormous petulant hypocritical tantrum from an ego too narcissistic to do anything other than double down on a spat of ill-tempered self-righteous foolishness. Sad really to see such a performance from Smalley who has surely now lost much respect. Dogma Debate unsubscribed.

  57. Honestly the whole thing sounded like he was projecting his state of mind at the time onto Andrew – he was pissed off and took a shitty tone and assumed Andrew did the same. He accused you of misreading the situation and responses when that is really what HE did. He apologized but still sort of skated over the really shitty things he said to Andrew, while pedantically going over your tone and responses point by point. Also he sort of skated over HOW wrong he got it and seems to stand by the original post, and that’s a problem. If he wants to engage his audience in that way I don’t see how he can complain when people react badly.

    Without knowing Thomas I guess the argument could be made about your tone but really, how did he expect people to respond when he went on the offensive right away like that? There wasn’t even the slightest tone of understanding for any nuance and he even took offense at your attempts to explain his bad behavior.

    Basically this was David being called out on a bad post, then looking like an asshole and saying that he was the one attacked – like maybe he thought offense was his only defense and people saw through that.

    The reason I love this show is because Thomas is always SO fair and genuinely considers all angles.

    Blaming Thomas and Andrew for negatively affecting his livelihood while downplaying his own role in this is just wrong and unfair, and as a longtime listener of AS I understand why people would waver in their support of David in light of your commentary, even without having seen it. Because you always, ALWAYS go the extra mile to frame things in such a way as to account for every possible angle.

  58. Painful episode. I think having Andrew on was somewhat disingenuous. The talking over each other was not productive. All my opinion.

  59. Hi. I think this was an important episode, though it was painful to listen to. Here are some of my thoughts/suggestions.

    Be careful how you “apologize” to people. It is an insincere non-apology to say “I’m sorry that you…” Sure, people can infer things in ways other than what you implied. But, when you start an apology like that, you’re not really apologizing because you are implying that the fault is with them, and you are saying there is no way you have any fault in the miscommunication. It’s better to say “I’m sorry I came across like that… that is not what I meant.”

    Also, I think this was mostly a misunderstanding. David admitted he made in incorrect assumption about Andrew, and he apologized. He also admitted he was wrong about the legal part. And he was trying to convey that it got out of hand based on the misunderstanding. From my perspective, David cleared his name. I’m not saying he is 100% correct, but I understand his side now, and what he said is easily forgivable.

    Finally, I think you did misunderstand the conversation (the FB conversation). David admitted that he misunderstood the conversation because he started with a false assumption. Your analysis was based on there not being a misunderstanding at the beginning. So, in other words, your analysis is incorrect. That doesn’t mean everything is incorrect, but at least some of it was. So I understand David’s frustration with you.

    Should you apologize? That is up to you.

    1. I don’t think that the fact that David made an incorrect assumption necessarily means that Thomas misunderstood the conversation. It might mean that he could have backed off his analysis leading him to conclude that David was upset because he was told he was wrong.

      But the larger theme of Thomas’ original commentary was that David’s behavior in this exchange was an example of how to be wrong better. David took Andrew’s initial post as aggressive and insulting. Andrew’s continued posts gave more context and information. They might have come across as arrogant, but David rejected Andrew’s expertise and substituted his own. He admitted that he was replying in anger and only skimming Andrew’s responses.

      To me, a reading of the interaction in which there was no incorrect assumption leads to an analysis that shows how not to be wrong in one way. Reading it knowing that David was replying with a lot of misplaced confidence while angry and not even really reading Andrew’s responses demonstrates another way not to be wrong. I think the theme of his criticism stands. Maybe that’s not important though, given that Thomas didn’t appear to want to back off of his analysis to address the meta-conversation.

  60. I’m going to put together a longer description and maybe post here as well as email to Thomas, but in short… this is exactly my same experience with David Smalley. I became a 4th listener about a year and a half after this show started, really liked it, even went back and listened to the entire archive. I had a social media interaction with him in which he totally flew off the handle, even though in every other message back to him I tried to de-escalate saying, “I’m not your enemy, I like you, I like your show, I’m a 4th listener…” and he would have absolutely none of it.

    When I saw his recent short episode where he talked about being nicer to people via social media I -genuinely- hoped that it meant he had grown and changed and was trying to be better.

    After listening to this interaction, unfortunately, I see nothing has changed. Even the tactics were identical.

    I think David wants to be seen in a certain way, but that’s not who he really is and it causes him some cognitive dissonance and pulls him in two directions which results in him breaking like this.

    1. I had exactly the same experience. I criticised something on the show, not aggressively, and he just flew right off the deep end. I was also a paid subscriber. No more.

  61. I believe the original intent of Thomas’s podcast regarding David’s reply to Andrew was to demonstrate there is some variance between the persona that David advertises (and wishes others would adopt) and practice.

    This AS podcast validated that variance.

    I can now add this podcast to the growing list of truly painful atheist podcasts:
    Harris – Namazie
    Harris – Aziz
    Smalley – Myers
    And now Smith/Torrez – Smalley

    Thanks Thomas!….just kidding.

    Keep up the great work.

    1. Agreed – all of those episodes mentioned gave me the same feeling, however, I felt they were all extremely insightful.

      Hearing Sam Harris all twisted up was an aha moment (and I can listen to him and old Hitch re-runs all day). Humans are up there with the most interesting topic we have, and I’ve found it fascinating listening to intelligent people succumb to the same types of conversational foux pas that plague us mere mortals.

      The good all these people do far outweighs the bad. So what if people think any of these people are dicks for some crap they said.

      They are all trying to help people get out of the matrix. And they are doing it in public. More power to them.

  62. I’m a listener to both podcasts, although I’ve been a listener to Dogma Debate for approximately 6 months longer, perhaps. I am not a financial contributor to either one, so no one’s kids are going to go hungry here, but I’m on a budget, so mine would were I to donate. 😉 It’s not that I don’t think either are worth contributing, but it’s not currently within my means. I think both podcasts are great at what they do, although they share differing goals as a show.

    I think the largest breakthrough of the show is Smalley and Torrez both admitting that they responded to preconceived notions of past interactions when composing their facebook posts. I think THAT is the root of the problem.

    Given that observation, it’s also my observation that Smalley has an ego. I notice this because at times I do as well. He really does not like laughing if he thinks it’s at his expense, but his hubris displayed in some of his comments do seem laughable. Maybe I’ve been an atheist for too long, or maybe I have little patience (likely) but I sometimes find Dogma Debate pedantic precisely because Smalley exhibits too MUCH patience with his religious guests at times. Although at times I disagree with that stance, I have admired his patience in those dialogues. I only wish he had displayed that patience and thick skin for this show.

    Lastly, I found Smalley’s comment about him taking notice of Atheistically Speaking only after it affected his bottom line to be an arrogant display. He may not have meant it that way, but that’s how I perceived it. Personally, I heard Thomas’ episode, and I looked at the conversation, and I came to much the same conclusion he did. In particular, once Andrew apologised in that discussion I felt as if that should have de-escalated the situation. I can even understand Thomas’ comment about Smalley drinking. Not because it was a slight against Smalley, but because it seemed like such a low moment for Smalley because he wasn’t living up to his own publicly espoused ideals. From what I’ve seen it appeared out of character for what I knew of Smalley. There are many public figures in “the movement” or whatever you wish to call it. Yet, they’re people just like their own fans – warts and all. People shouldn’t be surprised at this. We all fail to live up to our own ideals sometimes, or the expectations others have for us. I feel like sometimes, fans can have those expectations far out of reach of what is reasonable.

    Between the three of them, this wasn’t anyone’s best moment. But, shit happens. I try to judge people by their overall actions, not the actions they take when they’re showing their ass.

    1. When David and Andrew had their hug it out moment Thimas immediately jumped in and said ‘no, fuck that Andrew is being too nice.’

      There was plenty of fault to go around and maybe this criticism is misplaced but I think the problem with this episode is that Thomas was not giving an inch. Maybe my fault as a fan of both shows is I wanted to see an understanding.

      1. Just before Thomas called bullshit in the moment you’re describing… I was saying out-loud, “No, fuck that, what he’s saying is bullshit.” and then Thomas said it too.

        That part is when Smalley was trying to claim that his comments to Andrew were NOT about the topic and were part of some vague larger point. I’ve deal with Smalley before and he does this a lot. He’ll claim he wasn’t talking about the thing everyone knew he was talking about.

  63. David Smalley is so damn egotistical! He’s complaining about the tone someone uses for correcting him and the “misrepresentation”. Absolute bull. Andrew and Thomas were completely civil, even bent over backwards to keep that narcissist from losing his temper… again.

    My only criticism for Thomas is that he didn’t highlight the main point of the Tommentary episode: Smalley is hypocritical in how he calls for civil debates and discussions, yet fails to do so off his podcast, which Smalley illustrated in this interaction.

  64. I have no dog in this fight and have been an occasional listener to David’s show for a long time as well as Thomas’. I enjoy both shows and have no animosity towards either of them, so I listened to this exchange pretty objectively. I have to say that David came off as overly defensive and actually hypocritical in some ways. He accused Thomas repeatedly of misrepresenting him while he himself misrepresented Andrew with the whole “fuck you” street bumping analogy and consistently taking the least charitable interpretation of everything Thomas said. Smalley also used nitpicky parsing of words to try to claim petty moral victories (such as the whole “if” exchange) and was very cursory about admitting he was wrong about the legals stuff. I think David overreacted emotionally on facebook and just doubled down on it in this podcast. Andrew came off very well and I believe conceded more and was more apologetic than he needed to be. I say this as a genuinely impartial listener who had no reason to root for or against anybody involved. David did not do himself any favors, and Thomas did not need to apologize for his own opinion of David’s words. Accusing Thomas of lying implies an actual intent to deceive or say something he knew not to be true. Even if Thomas misunderstood David’s motives (and frankly, I don’t think he did), that does not amount to lying if that’s what Thomas sincerely believed. David strikes me as someone who really reacts emotionally if he feels hes being condescended to or talked down to, but I do not think that was Andrew;s intention and I think it’s ironic that David will not give others the same benefit of the most charitable assumptions that he wants for himself.

  65. I think that having a 2 on 1 was a little unfair, and I think that it ended up confusing the conversation. I’m wondering how much David was expecting to defend his part in the conversation to Andrew and his part in the conversation as opposed to defending his part of the conversation against Thomas’ criticism of it. It seemed like he was prepared to address what he thought of Thomas’ criticism, but not to really get into the conversation with Andrew.

    I think Thomas was pretty defensive in dealing with David’s complaints about how Thomas criticized him. I think David’s complaints about Thomas’ show are overblown, so I don’t know what the appropriate level of defensiveness is.

    Having said that. David’s main complaint seems to be that Thomas’ analysis that David was rude because he was called out on being wrong, whereas, according to him, he was rude because Andrew was, in his view, arrogant and condescending. But he didn’t really argue that. He mentioned the arrogance, then continued to argue the legal facts. It seems reasonable to conclude that Andrew’s dispute of his opinions about the law was the substance of their conversation.

    The most interesting part of this conversation is the middle part when David talked about the oil change place and Andrew talking about legal stuff–I’m so glad for Opening Arguments.

  66. Several times David made claims like “I have no problem being told I’m wrong, I’m told that all the time”, and Andrew explained that Thomas is usually very charitable in his podcast.

    Is a statement like “I have no problem with X, I do X all the time,” while not currently doing X a legit argument? My feelings when I hear those types of statements is usually that they have no bearing on the conversation, but I haven’t figured out how to think about them from an argument perspective.

  67. Jesus Christ. I know a lot of people are saying that was hard to listen to, but I was engaged throughout. Probably due to the fact that I’ve had a strong dislike of David for some time now and it was just incredible to hear someone not let him get away with his usual shit.

    When David talks, it is always about this great thing that he’s doing or this awesome quality that he has, it’s like listening to Donald Trump with a better vocabulary. It irritates me to a disturbing degree how he basically said “I didn’t give a shit until it started costing me money”. Really? You fly off the handle at someone and blame then when people get mad at you for it? What a child.

    With all that being said, it was a little weird to hear Thomas Smith meek and mild get so angry and defensive. I get that you were protecting a friend who was being too generous to a person who was trying to shit in his mouth, but I think if I had never listened to the show I would have been more easily fooled into believing Smalley’s claim that you were just bashing him to stick up gor your friend.

    I love your work Thomas. I listen to a lot of atheist podcasts and I’ve always felt you had the best approach and the most thought out opinions. It is incredible that you bend over backwards to aknowledge your own biases, it is a quality I strive to have myself. I’ve decided from this episode to become a patron, because fuck the fact that you’re not the bigger of the two party’s involved in this discussion. Thank you for all the great episodes and all the other podcasts you make as well. All the best.

  68. I hope you have better things to do than read all 100 comments to get down to this one, but I’ll put it out anyway.

    1. Thomas, you have an opinion show. It’s your job to be critical of some people sometimes. You can’t please everyone. If you are constantly worried about people misinterpreting what you say you won’t be able to do your show.

    2. I don’t know Smalley at all, so to me you’re the famous one! Too bad that my introduction to him is this exchange. FWIW I thought you were totally fair and he was completely unfair in his description of your show.

    3. I think that you have an extremely unusual ability to be a) fairly open minded on most topics, and b) still give interesting commentary and spur interesting debate. It took me a couple episodes to really understand your uncertain tone, but now I really respect it. Don’t change a thing.

    4. Something that occurred to me in the original podcast, and I’m surprised that Smalley didn’t make this point more clearly, is that you (and Andrew) are exclusively focusing on the legal argument, but Smalley is also making a social argument that you are ignoring. Yes, his post totally fails in the legal analysis about settlements making precedent. But what is still a good point is that if Christian sites are going to be forced (and just because they made a settlement doesn’t mean they weren’t forced) to do this, isn’t the logical extension of that to force Atheist podcasts to read the bible word for word 🙂 . I’m not saying the argument is airtight, but I think that is what Smalley might have been trying to say when he said that he was the expert more than Andrew was.

    5. OK Lastly I’m going to be more philosophical for a bit. This exchange is an example of a general problem in social media today where everyone reads little snippets out of context and then takes as much umbrage as possible. This is also an example of a general problem in the atheist community today that prominent atheists tend to kind of be assholes. Partly this may be because someone has to be a bit of an asshole to make their living telling most of humanity that they are wrong. And partly this is a problem that the most caustic speakers will appeal the strongest to people who are already on their side. When we listen to Smalley attack you or Sam Harris attack Dan Dennett and we think to ourselves, “boy, they are being very unfair here” we should keep in mind that this is how those people sound to Christians pretty much all the time. Keep working on your niche as an atheist non-asshole.

    1. Very thoughtful comment, thanks. Yeah there are just too many to respond to but I saw yours and thought it was great. The thing I’m most regretful of is losing my cool a bit. I still feel like I was justified to a certain extent based on his repeated misrepresentations of me and refusal to address points made and such, but I should have been better.
      As to #4, which I think is really interesting, Andrew did actually address this at some point, but I’m not sure I can remember specifically where. Basically it comes down to, if you have a place of business and you provide a service, you have to provide it equally. David provides a service which is his Dogma Debate podcast. He provides that service equally to atheists, Christians, and whoever else downloads it. Assuming we’re talking about Unruh even though he isn’t in California, David would only be in violation of the law if he started somehow forbidding Christians from downloading his show. The law will never make someone manufacture or produce an entirely different product, that would be pretty unreasonable..
      Anyway, thanks for the comment and I really don’t want to be a caustic atheist, as you put it. I’m going to do my best to avoid that and get back to interesting topics!

      1. Thanks so much! Yes! David did bring this up (I think it’s at 49:58 if anyone wants to look it up), but then he fell right back into nitpicking tone. If he had made his comments 1% criticizing your tone and 99% explaining how he misinterpreted what Andrew said instead of the other way around (and trying to make Andrew apologize for David’s misinterpretations) he would have been much better off.

        Just one more thing: when he whipped out the audio of you saying “if” at the end instead of the beginning of the comment you’d made just a few seconds earlier. Man, that’s kinda creepy. David, if you’re listening, it does not always pay to be right!

        1. I agree with you 100%, I think that David wanted to “win” this discussion and had made a strategy of getting Andrew and Thomas to admit they to a list of things that he felt they did wrong in an effort to justify his angry rant (again where he seemingly felt that he had to win) with an assumedly end to then be able to go to his lost customers with evidence that he had been unfairly treated, his reaction was justified and thus they should come back.

          I do not wish that David lose his livelihood, but I do wish that David learns from this experience to not take himself to be the center of the world, to tone down the level of condensation he shows to his own debating guests and hopefully deal with his anger issues.

          I really think that the opposite will occur, he will double down with his feeling that Thomas is a jerk who is trying to destroy his career, that they both are attacking him and that his behavior was 100% justified.

    2. just because they made a settlement doesn’t mean they weren’t forced

      That’s exactly what it means, though – they agreed to a voluntary settlement.

          1. Not in the real world. If they were told that the law was clear and there was no way they could win, then they could have decided to waste their money but in reality they had no choice.

  69. I love how you could tell Smalley wasn’t used to people not backing down from him. I first heard Smalley on CogDis, and I thought he came off as so arrogant and condescending, but I recall Cecil and Tom saying that it was just his “straight man” act or something like that in response to fan mail.

    Apparently it’s not an act! I could feel the frustration through my headphones. There was nothing to apologize about either. Hopefully he sits on this and lets his ego deflate a bit.

  70. David Smalley really needs to realize how condesending he is during his “debates” and that other people are allowed to laugh at him when he makes ridiculous statements. I have found some of the discussions he has had on his shows to be interesting but I seriously think that he has some deep anger issues, that sigh that he constantly does being an example.

    The way he explained his viewpoint of his interaction with Andrew completely agrees with that also, he got angry at the way that Andrew said he was wrong (in his mind it had been a direct attack on him, which clearly was not the case although Andrew did unjustly apologize for), and from that moment on flew into a rage, not fully reading the replies that Andrew made and seemingly had to win the argument.

    When it came to this discussion, I find it telling that David only cared about this issue when it started to affect him financially, and because of that financial effect wanted Thomas to apologize for his opinion piece that he published. That put David’s view of the point of the show to be skewed from what it should have been “a simple apology for his sudden snap to anger” to something where he needs to win the discussion by forcing the others to concede anything he feels they did wrongly so that his apology and responsibly for his anger can be diminished (and therefore attempt to gain justification for his behaviour).

    He attempted to do that with his analogy of him bumping someone and that person (Andrew) replying “fuck you, watch where you are going”. Which would then justify the extreme snap to anger that David showed, but that was not the case at all, a more accurate analogy would be like the person saying “you bumped into me, watch where you are going”.

    This is the reason that this entire episode failed, David had completely different goals and expectations of what he wanted to get out of it than Thomas. He wanted to apportion blame to the others to reduce his own and thus provide a justification to his listener-base and hopefully get back paying listeners.

    Thomas, you didn’t do anything wrong, neither did Andrew.

    David, you are meant to be a professional debater, if you can’t handle criticism on the internet then I suggest that you make your posts and then just completely ignore the comments because it seems that you get painfully insulted when people say you are wrong about things and are then unable to have a proper discussion because the red mist has set in.

  71. Lots to say, most of it already said … So instead I will post this link to a classic Simpsons show, where Homer forgets to pick up Bart from soccer practice and tries to argue that it is both their faults:

  72. So David hurls insults at an expert, who simply had corrected him on his factual errors, and when David found that this would be costing him money, as people started cancelling subscriptions, he came on this show, but instead of apologizing for his offensive behaviour, he tried to play the offence card himself and demanded that the expert apologize to him. WFT?

    Most ridiculous behaviour since Sye Ten Bruggencate when he debated Matt.

  73. It was really strange how David and Andrew were coming to understanding one another and then Thomas jumps in and reinjects hostility.

    1. That’s because what -sounded- like coming to an understanding from David wasn’t sincere. David was rewriting history about what had happened to make it sound not as bad and Thomas wasn’t going to let him get away with that.

      1. They got David to admit his factual errors in regards to the law and apologize for bringing previous interactions and probably could have gotten him to apologize for more had Thomas not interrupted the process. When you get a professional negotiator like a lawyer going, don’t stop his work. Furthermore when two people who had a bad interaction apologize, you just don’t undo it to make sure someone doesn’t “get away with it.”

          1. This is true. I was not interested in a resolution based on revisionist history. You’re free to hold that against me. Considering David flaunted the fact that he didn’t give two shits about any of us until it started costing him a couple bucks, why would I care about some bs resolution? The only reason I was ever interested in any of it was because of the hypocrisy David was displaying in the exchange and then his sanctimonious episode 259. He couldn’t be made to see that. I certainly made some missteps but his overall arguments were complete crap.

    2. Yes David and Andrew would come close but then David would throw out a poison pill and derail the whole thing. Thomas was reacting to David he wasn’t derailing the conversation.

    3. To me it sounded like DS was going for a 50-50 give and take, which would have been outrageous. Thomas’ reaction might be seen as “counter-productive” in the heat of discussion, but in the larger context entirely neccessary as I see it.

  74. I’ve been thinking on making Dogma debate my first foray into Patreon, but this episode confirmed my reservations about that show. Guess I’ll be showeling some pennies your way now.

    Now I’ll have to decide between Opening Arguments and AS, or do I….?

    Seriously: Keep it up. It must have been a nightmare handling every low-kick negotiation tactics in the book from DS and still post the whole mess unedited. You have my deepest respect sirs.

  75. One thing that hasn’t been mentioned (in what I managed to read) in the above: Smalley has a ‘thing’ about ‘public admonishment’, and dedicated an entire episode to it: instead of publicly calling out someone’s errors, he would prefer that people send a private e-mail or message.

    So Smalley most likely wasn’t angry about being wrong: he was angry about -being called ‘wrong’ in public- .

    I personally don’t agree with this: On one extreme, it is rather humiliating to be berated when the berater has a point, but on the other it kind of ‘takes away’ from the democracy that is human exchange; it allows the person being criticised to ignore corrections and/or make it seem as though they are correcting themselves… not saying that this -would- happen, but it makes room for that happening, and I’m sure the more dishonest out there would use that to their advantage.

    Instead, I would go for the what seems to be becoming an internet golden rule: ‘don’t be a dick’. If someone is berating someone else for personal gain (popularity, self-assurance), that will show… because that sort of tone just isn’t necessary.

    I don’t think either Thomas or Andrew were doing the latter, and they did apologise publicly for their (perceived by Smalley) tone.

    I really think that Smalley was stuck in his ‘no public adminishment’ clique, but strangely that (his obsession with it) didn’t really come up in this episode.

  76. I don’t think you have any reason to apologise.

    You made a reasonable assessment of Davids unreasonable behaviour in the original exchange. David has a nerve asking others to talk over differences when his first reaction to being corrected by an expert in the field is to be defensive and use expletives. He then doubled down and made the situation worse. I have been listening to Dogma debate for a couple of years now but in recent months have drifted off. David displays the same behaviour in his own podcast. He seems to be uneducated in a number of areas but unlike you is unable to allow himself to defer to a greater knowledge. An amateur? .. indeed he is.. a little man with a big ego who talks too much on his podcast and listens too little.. oh and anyone can do a podcast or write a book David.. its the quality and openness of the mind behind those endeavours that matters…..

    I love the intellectual rigour of your podcasts Andrew, I cannot donate at the moment as I am studying at present but know you have a huge fan and you make my time in a rural area of Scotland a wee bit more enlightened…..

  77. Just imagine if Thomas went on DD with the intent to control the conversation like David did on AS. If he brought his own clips and obvious timeline on when each point came up. David would shut that down in a second, I can hear it now, “this is my show!” “SIGH.” “Thomas, Thomas, Thomas, Thomas ” until he gets the mic back. “SIGH!”

    1. Well said. David could not have tolerated it, yet demanded it of Thomas. Just another in the list of hypocrisies, demanding — demanding!!! — respect but giving zero. David Smalley is a small, small person with onion skin. I wonder now how none of this became more evident during the years I listened to his show.

  78. Textbook bully behavior on Smalley’s behalf.

    He tells a guy who disagrees with him to fuck off, then picks a fight with the guy’s friend when he tries to defend him. I ran into an endless supply of these jerks when I was a bartender.

    I find it interesting that Smalley only decided to engage with Thomas and Andrew after he began losing money. It makes me wonder if his sole motivation was financial damage control and not a genuine desire to mend fences and correct misunderstandings. And for the record, the only person Smalley has to blame for taking money away from his family is the guy who told Andrew Torrez to fuck off, then doubled down on the douchebaggery when he couldn’t brow-beat Thomas into making an apology.

    I kept thinking that Smalley must be a fun guy to break up with.

    “I didn’t call you a bitch! I said that you bitch a lot, and you do, but I never called you a bitch. [big sigh] Now, I think you owe me an apology.”

    You’re a good man, Thomas, and you did right by not making peace with that man. He clearly despises you and wanting nothing more than to wring your neck and make an example of you.

    1. I think Richard makes a valid point. At the outset, Smalley mentioned that he took notice only after some of Dogma Debate’s subscribers cancelled (as they mentioned Thomas’ coverage of his and Andrew’s interaction as their reasoning). I can certainly appreciate that. At the same time, he is a moderate public figure, and Dogma Debate has a large audience. He should not be surprised that the content he produces, including his activity on social media, can affect (positively and negatively) his audience and, thus, his income.

      From my perspective, the full *.pdf of the exchange makes it pretty clear that Smalley over-reacted to Andrew’s comments. It’s weird that this argument represents what Smalley characterized as “little differences” in the atheist/skeptic community in his recent discussion with PZ Myers; yet, it surely didn’t seem to end with a peaceful resolution.

      Lastly, Smalley constantly brought up what he perceived to be Andrew and Thomas’ condescending tone. I wonder how he would perceive hearing someone constantly sigh, as he is known to do? That could probably be perceived as condescending. Just saying.

      I still enjoy Dogma Debate and don’t think Smalley is a bad person. I just think he was flat wrong in this situation and could have handled it much better.

  79. Ah feck Thomas you made me type, love ya show, love smallys……if you were not both podcasters it would have been ok ish. You acted like a twat talking about smally, I felt it when I listened to your show. At the time it made me cringe a little, on reflection you did not do anything to bad but you did slime a fellow podcaster who I know admits when he is wrong and I think is doing his best.
    Do you owe him an apology, ummm…….I think maybe…..As a fellow pod caster.
    Ps if you did this to another person like David I think i would dump your pod in a heartbeat. It must be crazy dealing with the hate that this subject brings, if you have a grief then sort it out off air. If the situation is not rectified then by all means slate the person out 100%

    In retrospect I wish I had not listened to the smally rebuttal, as a fan of both of your shows you came across as very dismissive and not at all understanding.
    Was smally wrong? yes on quite a few counts…..But I think you slimed a good guy for a little reason who does a lot of good work that by the sound of…….you have no idea off.

    All the news that is happening and you jumped in this pile of shet…..Thomas you fecking surprised me…… If I were you I would make an apology…..smally is no monster….A little ignorant at times yes…..aren’t we all?
    PPS…like the new show
    PPPS….I like to listen and learn…..please do not make me type again!

  80. Smalley got one thing right…

    Why in the hell are did you even read the initial Facebook thread without at least reaching out to DS and saying, “David, I’m extremely dismayed by this Facebook exchange. I am going to discuss it on my show, and I would love to give you a chance to come on and discuss it with me.”

    Instead, Thomas goes off on some kind of weird, “I tried to contact you 4 years ago and you never responded, so….. yeah”. And then deferring to Andrew that HE reached out, so we tried… No you didn’t. That was just bullshit.

    If you reach out and Smalley ignores you or says he doesn’t want to participate, then fine, go ahead and read it with commentary.

    But to just throw Smalley under the bus like that without any regard to his side of the story was kind of a low blow.

    I also would have liked to hear Smalley make his case without the massive amount of interruption. If nothing else, it makes for infuriating podcast listening when everyone is talking over each other. You should have allowed him 15 minutes (10 minutes? whatever) uninterrupted to make a case, taken notes, then responded. Instead, he doesn’t get 10 words out and both you and Andrew are attacking him.

    And as for the Big Lebowski “I’m the calm one”, I had to laugh. Thomas, your entire demeanor was one of agitated aggression. Smalley had his moments, but for the most part was trying to calmly explain his reasons (bad as they were), and was constantly interrupted by Thomas making some snarky comment, or inappropriately laughing.

    Andrew, you’ve won a fan. You were so calm and collected and interested in the resolution, not in being “right”. Nicely done.

    1. I would say my biggest regret would be that I didn’t send that initial email. You’re right about that. I think you minimize a little bit Andrew’s attempts to have a conversation and the disinterest by Alisha and David in the Facebook post. They already made it clear there that they weren’t interested in doing that. I still should have asked him though. As a side note I think you missed the point of the Lebowski reference. Yes, Smalley was calmer. But he was being infuriating. Constantly saying I accused him of being drunk, ignoring entire points made, sighing, etc. Being agitating and then wondering why I was agitated.

        1. I agree with this. I was far more offended by his completely ignoring points we made. Note that I didn’t derail the conversation by being vocally offended at his sighing and pretending our points didn’t exist. A few times I wish I had tried to pin him down to a response actually but it was so confusing for him to like pretend something didn’t even happen.

          1. This was probably the most frustrating thing about the entire exchange for me. I kept waiting for David to address the actually comments he said and to see why he did it and what was his justification for it. There seemed to be admission at one point but when you pressed him on the actually meat of the subject, and he said “hold on will you let me finish…” then he would continue by playing video clips without directly answering the facebook posts about what he said.

            He would not apply this standard of discourse to any of his guests on HIS show with christians who debate him or others on topics he wishes to discuss. So here when it was and it seemed like such an obvious blunder and mistake on his part of overreacting and blowing off A.Torrez for being FACTUALLY and LEGALLY correct. I’m shocked David could not say something along the lines of,

            “Yeah I’m sorry Andrew for misreading your posts and for getting the legal facts about this case wrong, I was trying to make a case about the potential social consequences, but thanks for the legal information, I just thought you were condescending and making me look bad, sorry for the overreaction.”

            I literally thought that was going to be the entire podcast and you would be able to hash out and talk about some other interesting topics related to it. This is what upset me about the entire exchange, your frustration was warranted maybe the (can we just fucking play the audio/read the comments) was slightly overreacted but really if I put myself in your position, I definitely would’ve felt that way too.

            This really seems like a conversation of someone who was getting angry at being shown to be obviously wrong about something black and white and taking it as being really condescending (when really they could’ve easily resolved it on PM on facebook) and A.Torrez pointed out a genuine legal error. David maybe saw that as a slight on his brand, image, career, and so forth when a few people after were not happy about his behaviour but so what, you have to be accountable if especially after posting a call to atheists about being more civil!

            Nothing you did was slanderous in your previous show and you broke down point by point what Smalley did wrong and he refused to actually justify what he did right and why, the smallest admissions were “I didn’t know..I didn’t read.. I didn’t ask.. I didn’t find out….” these were the answers to the most important points that were given to him. This shows the quality of discourse on his side and this was immensely unfortunate and disappointing. A.Torrez was right, David spent more time writing his response rather than a 30second click on A.Torrez page to find out his background. He could not even be charitable to your position, he did the real strawman in all of this, yet he kept saying it to you.

            Sorry for this garbled mess and I may sound like everyone else here, but I’ve thought long about this and I’m not much of a commenter but rather I enjoy listening to your show more than anything. I was deciding if should write anything, because it may be drowned out, but here was something I decided I have to write because it really seemed like he (David) disrespected your/ A.Torrez’s entire approach, show, projects and that felt a little personal because I love your show and I have been supporting it for a long time now. Maybe It will sound very cliche and cheesy but it was like they slandered a friend who has been working tirelessly and very hard to put something out there that was original and unique to atheists.

            Anyway, again apologies for so many non-sequitors, you did well, and I would’ve said things very similar to what you did. I tried very hard to see everything you did wrong to be more charitable to David’s position and I couldn’t. The best thing is to move on do what you’ve kept doing for so long cheers bud!

      1. I just listened to the bonus episode, and hearing you talk about the exchange with Alisha puts a whole new perspective on this. Yes, you are correct that I downplayed that. That aspect didn’t come across in the original episode.

        I’m not sure why, but it won’t let me respond to my other post above. I don’t judge you at all for not wanting a resolution. And, to be fair, my statement was incorrect. It would be more accurate to say (as you have) that you didn’t want a resolution based on a revisionist history. Had Smalley came on with a less combative attitude, I think a resolution could have been made.

  81. David had made passive aggressive comments on Cog Dis about their show and about Cog Dis on his show that Tom and Cecil play off as “all in good fun” but in reality, David is jealous of their success. They rule atheist podcasting with wild, offensive jokes and hyena laughter and it simply irks David who sees himself as some kind of self-appointed leader or atheist role-model “doing things the ‘right’ way”… Like there is such a thing…

    I think more than a couple of commenters above mentioned getting into online “discussions” with David and being talked down to at best and told to “fuck off” at worst. This behavior of David’s, which instigated the entire episode, seems to be part of a pattern.

    David blaming you for him losing listeners also seems bizarre. Can he really not see that his actions started this mudslide? I really didn’t see Andrew’s comments as snarky, but tone is difficult to interpret without auditory cues. Maybe David could see it that way, but still doesn’t justify his response IMO especially with regard to David’s peace and unity BS preachiness.

    I agree with someone above who mentioned that David’s perceived success has really gotten to his head. You can always do things better, and David doesn’t seem to understand that. He’s developed a big ego that unfortunately seems to be fed by the people in his circle. He needs some serious introspection before he finds himself sifting through the ashes wondering what happened.

    I also loved the above comment about experts. Yes, opinions do NOT hold equal weight. There is this cultural notion the last couple of decades that everyone’s opinions are equally valid. It reminds me of a woman that Hemant had on his podcast who made that terrible video at the Chicago Natural History Museum (if memory serves). Throughout the entire interview, she seemed to think that her opinions about the age of the earth, for example, are just as valid as a scientists… No they are not. No. No. No. And I have a right to mock you for those opinions lady!

    David is not a lawyer, he acted like a tool from beginning to end. He needs to bite the bullet. That is the wisest course of action, and will cost him nothing. People respect humility.

  82. I don’t usually comment on this kind of stuff but wow… You shouldn’t have even had to put up with that. I’m not even half way through and I am speechless. David’s attitude is not welcome in the sceptic/humanist/atheist community.

    Thomas, keep doing what you are doing. Doing this kind of episode takes a lot of courage. You provide such a great attitude and resource towards all people and opinions. I recommend the show to everyone I know. You will probably have a new patron soon 😉

  83. Hi all, just to throw my two cents into the ring (to mangle metaphors).
    I heard Thomas’ original podcast and with some knowledge of Smalley heard it for what it was. A skewed take down of Smalley’s hypocrisy based on someone attacking Thomas’ friend.
    Pointing out that DS was full of shit and that (in Thomas’ opinion, it’s a Tommentary after all) he was angry because he was wrong, not just because of the tone. I believe (still) that this is true.
    Sure AT jumped in aggressively but DS continued to patronise him despite the subsequent admission that AT is a lawyer.

    DS only wanted to resolve this when his pocket was affected, otherwise he didn’t care enough to do so publicly or privately.

    I see this all the time (and can be guilty of it myself). Someone perceived as an authority or who thinks they are an authority states something with such conviction that the vast majority of people just go with it. Which makes me think of The Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect. (in general).
    This is classic bully behaviour and like Daniel Stern in City Slickers, I hate bullies.

    Point is, DS waves his dick around and gets challenged (irrespective of tone of the challenge, he says he didn’t read it but I pure don’t believe him as per post legal expert admission).
    Normally the smaller dicked back down or it devolves into a standard internet argument until someone goes Godwin.
    However, AT brings his massive legal donkey balled gun to DS’ knifefight. DS immediately is out of his depth and as Plan A didn’t work he defaulted to Plan A. Despite Eli trying to calm it down DS was having none of it. Bascially “don’t you know who I am?”.

    Thomas rips him on the podcast. Laughs at him, well boo hoo, Thomas is completely within his rights to do his thing and defend his friend. As said above, the drink comment was more of an out for DS than a slight, anyone can see that.

    Then to this recent three hander, I really enjoyed it. I thought it was “interesting” (as Thomas says) to hear the different approaches to confrontation. DS having his recordings lined up, his strategy ready (as said, you guys need to apologise for this this this and this) and I must admit I laughed when I realised he was recording the live conversation for playback (IfGate).

    Thomas was a little harsh at times, losing his cool a little bit (just play the clip for fuck’s sake on 38 minutes) but I believe was 100% right to stick to his guns. AT very much the peacemaker and was far more willing to compromise but I feel TS did well to not apologise as I’m with him, he has nothing to apologise for.

    In conclusion (yay) DS stuck to plan A, waving his dick around, wouldn’t accept that he was a douche because he was wrong as to why he was angry (a subjective issue but I’m comfortable that he is wrong) and only reached out to resolve when he was losing money. This proves in my mind that Thomas is even righter in the initial point of the WHOLE thing which is DS is full of shit. Says one thing but acts out another.

    A minor point here in that I always believed that using the word “if” in an apology goes into nonpology territory. It was done maybe three times in this podcast. It always gets my back up, but maybe that’s me. I go nuts in supermarkets when it says “five items or less”, I shake my fist at the sign and scream “fewer”.

  84. I used to listen to his show for a few weeks (months ago), but he is a terrible interviewer who made me uncomfortable as a listener, so I had to stop listening.

    His entire argument was simply ” Yes, I said “fsck you” but he made me do it so YOU should apologise”… Just like my dad used to say after he beat us and my mom…
    Classic cheap, bully argument.
    I kept waiting for him to grab your had, hit you in the face with it, and then ask you why you were hitting yourself…

  85. Thomas I think the only mistake you made was spending so much time on this episode, it was somewhat painful. To disclose, after your first comments about Smaley I subscribed to his podcast and listened to a few of his episodes(10 or so) and found his approach and efforts to be unsatisfying. But I was amazed at his weak arguments and reactions to comments from your original show and comments You and Andrew made in this episode.

    1. This episode may have been beating a dead horse a bit, but at least there’s enough to feel like the issue is as closed as it will ever be. At least, that’s how I felt. Getting to the end was painful, but now everyone knows where things stand at least, and Thomas and Andrew did their level best to fix things. David apparently didn’t want a fix in the first place, which was surprising, since IMO he doesn’t come off on his show like he did in this exchange.

  86. I listen to both podcasts and was dismayed that there was a dust up after listening to both sides over the last month (though not being privy to the whole backlog of events). I had hoped it was just a simple misunderstanding.

    After hearing this episode, I’m saddened that nothing was worked out to a positive result. Things were worked out and I think both sides understand each other, just not to a point where everyone agreed. I have to side with Thomas and Andrew on this incident. David came off as being quite pedantic over the almost 2 hours of back-n-forth. His protestations did appear to be pretty thin and more about ego than actual character. And it was telling that he openly admitted that he decided to contact you when it was about personal financials. Now, it is technically pretty hard for him to ignore this since his life IS made in podcasting, but on the other hand that is his career choice. Thomas I think was well within his rights to chuckle at some of David’s responses because many of them were just not representative of reality.

    What I also found interesting is how David several times called out Thomas especially by saying “you’re doing it again”. This is what drove me nuts when PZ Myers did it to David on Dogma Debate during the show discussing Ellen and the charge of racism against her for the Usain Bolt pic.

    Am I done with David’s show? Probably not, but I am more informed as to how he operates outside his own zone of control. I recall sensing that he was a little overly annoyed by or felt unjustifyingly challenged by Tom and Cecil when he was on CD back in May. Perhaps he is just someone more in tune with his ego than others tend to be.

    Either way, I’m saddened to see these unnecessary divisions crop up (atheism+, social justice, inappropriate advances in elevators) in our community. I can only hope we resolve them more appropriately than our religious counterparts have.

    1. Although we all can’t agree on everything, we do tend to agree on the 98% which matters. This just leave 2% of trivia.

      What is striking is that almost everyone agrees with Thomas and Andrew here and almost everyone agrees with David on the on DD forum. Tribalism is alive and well in free-thinking land. This surprises me.

  87. I’m late to comment, but I just listened to the show this morning. I felt compelled to stop by and add my voice behind Thomas and Andrew. I think that you both were WAY more conciliatory than you needed to be.

    It was embarrassing to listen to Smalley pull the strong-arm attitude of ‘How dare you fuck with my business and my family. YOU owe ME an apology and YOU need to make this right’. If he doesn’t understand that being a public figure (to whatever extent) and acting like a total tool in a public forum has tangible consequences then there is nothing to say to a person like that. After this exchange I honestly believe that he doesn’t deserve a listener-ship. He doesn’t have the temperament or spine for it.

    I was a long time listener of his show, mostly listening for his older co-hosts that were at least entertaining to listen to, had a sense of humor, and had much better exchanges with guests. I’ve long since unsubscribed and hope that he’ll fade away into obscurity after a while. I don’t think he’s a good public voice for skeptics.

  88. This has probably been said already, but I’m too lazy to read all the comments: my view was that DS is, as AT suggested rather thin-skinned and also, in my opinion, he could do with chilling out a bit and getting a new sense of humour. A more measured approach on his part in the first place could have circumvented this whole sorry affair!

    1. P.S. I forgot to mention, in my view a Thomas did nothing wrong and was right to stand his ground and call DS out on his b***s***. Thomas had nothing to apologise for and the only one responsible for losing some of his (financial) support is DS and his OTT reaction.

  89. Fun episode. It’s difficult not to side with Thomas and Andrew. If I could have changed one thing about the show, I would have let Smalley throw out all of his claims and then countered it all. Like, maybe if Smalley could have talked for 20 minutes straight and then Thomas and Andrew could have handled his claims. Love the show, keep it up.

  90. I LOVE it when people I like disagree with each other.

    NOT LIKE THIS. Thomas and Andrew, you two were completely condescending throughout the show AND the said correspondence. Maybe you were unaware of this fact, or maybe you weren’t – David Smalley were completely right to be furious about your comments.

    Don’t misunderstand me, I really like you and will continue to listen to your podcast, and I never listened to David Smalley’s show before this “incident”. But you’re utterly on the wrong about this. This is NO WAY to do a healthy debate. Even though Andrew was right about the main subject, he was completely wrong at how he approached the issue. It even looks like he deliberately tried to annoy David at the beginning. Who the fuck calls someone an “amateur” and not even tell what he’s referring to without giving the relevant information that HE’S A FREAKING ATTORNEY?!

    I’m completely disillusioned about you.

    1. To be fair, he did say that it was his profession. If I were to write an article about quantum physics and someone made a comment like that I would accept the fact that yes I am an amateur in the field.

      Of course if the person had grammar and spelling mistakes and his/her argument was full of shit then I would have some reason to call bullshit, but the good thing with Facebook is that I could click on the person and see an overview of them and their posts. If I saw only Pokemon posts on their page then I then might doubt the weight of the knowledge that the person was arguing with.

      Smalley is who he is, he has anger issues, we get it. But you can’t blame other people for your own behavior.

  91. Like a lot of other commenters, I listen to and like both shows. I also think Smalley was largely in the wrong, not just factually but in attitude. It started with the Patheos post which so unjustifiably self-congratulatory beginning with the title of the post and then throughout, that Torrez was justified in being direct with him at the jump. Then in the episode, Smalley started off talking about how he has so many listeners and is so busy, like he’s above the peons Smith and Torrez, and he is so graciously granting them such the privilege of his lofty presence. Then he goes on about losing subscribers, as though he thinks he is forever entitled to these subscribers and that it’s only a great injustice for any to decide to unsubscribe. Very condescending of him. And apparently this is the main reason he went on the show. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be worth his highness’s time. Then despite his bragging about debating “for a living” he completely misunderstands basic concepts of argument, like what a misrepresentation is, Very painful to hear him go on like that.

    I haven’t seen anything from him about all this since the episode, but it would serve him well to own up to his meltdown. Doesn’t appear likely though.

    Smith is sometimes too wishy washy (kind of an “all viewpoints are equally valid” vibe) for my taste, but I was very proud of how he held his ground.

  92. David’s Smalley’s ego has always been a problem for me with Dogma Debate. If you listen to his episodes, they are all stories about himself and how we handles situations. Not focusing on the guest. It’s a pet peeve of mine when the name of the show has a host name. “Dogma Debate WITH DAVID SMALLEY” is just for his ego. Thats why Thomas is so much a better person and host. It’s “Atheistically Speaking” not “Atheistically Speaking with Thomas Smith” for a reason.

  93. Mr. Smalley exhibited a level of hubris that makes it ironic that he initiated this confrontation by calling Mr. Torrez arrogant. I have never listened to Dogma Debate, and now I will have a hard time giving it a fair chance due to his pomposity in this circumstance. I sympathize for his podcast revenue declining, but he seems to have a sense of entitlement that members have to tolerate his self serving hypersensitivity and grandiose attitude.

  94. As a long-time fan of Smalley’s I wanted so badly to give him the benefit of the doubt, but this was just painful & disappointing. He let his ego get the better of him. Thomas, you handled this like a champ!

  95. Oh my god, this is amazing! I don’t think I’ve ever listened to a grown man being this childish! I’ve never listened to dogma debate and I certainly never will now. This is only the second or third show of yours that I’ve listened to, so I didn’t start out leaning to either side.

    I would have thought he’s going to lose even more subscribers now.

  96. “Thin-skinned” is an understatement. I’ve listened to dogma debate once and found Mr. Smalley unbearable and incredibly sensitive. His tone is also so condescending. On the point of when or if he knew Andrew Torrez was a lawyer or not is irrelevant. It should not matter who a valid point comes from, only that it’s valid. He totally deserves ridicule! What a cry baby!

  97. I am sorry to be the one on the other side and maybe I should dig into the issue a little deeper, but I am a fan of both atheistically speaking and dogma debate and I just think you guys came off so small and petty, I really do love you guys and will always be a fan, but you so staunchly asserted your motives behind everything and completely dismissed what David said were his motives behind everything and the few times where it seemed everyone was going to come together and bury the hatchet you were the one who seemed to be pushing the conversation back to being more confrontational. I really do love the show, keep up the amazing work.

  98. I have listened to Dogma Debate for a while, and I have been a fan of David…but I have never heard him be so unreasonable. This entire exchange was almost impossible to listen to without cringing over and over again. Unfortunately, I will never listen to the show the same way. It kind of hurts.

    1. Also, just to mention. If anything my horse in this game was David, I have never listened to Thomas’s podcast. I’ve heard of it but never listened.

  99. I had heard about some kind of feud, and I heard vulgarity for charity and they lampooned him and I was confident they wouldn’t unfairly misrepresent smalley but I had a very hard time believing that smalley was … well, such a tool.

    This absolutely blew me away, I can barely process how absurd and unreasonable smalley is being on such a .. an absurdly simple and triffling point.. I’m at a loss.

    My heart goes out to smalley, I feel for the guy who is expressing an overwhelming flaw in character here and I think most of us know those are very difficult to work through. I wish we were better at reaching eachother, and I hope smalley knows he doesn’t need to go through these things alone and that people like Tom and Andrew will be there to lend understanding.

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