AS298: The Best Podcast Ever, Part 1

Well, this is the recording you may have heard or seen me allude to. Joining me is Eli Bosnick, Mike, and Dustin. WARNING: This episode contains a lot of profanity. This is an attempt at a really difficult conversation between two sides coming from way different perspectives. It will be up to you to judge if anything was accomplished. It did not go well. Though I can’t honestly recommend it as listening, the full unedited version will be available at


63 thoughts on “AS298: The Best Podcast Ever, Part 1”

  1. Eli patted him on the head for demonstrating empathy. Does Eli get his authority from God? I don’t understand. Who the fuck died and left Eli in charge in charge of deciding what’s an awful thing to say and what’s not. And what gives Eli the right to change anyone’s mind? Do we really want more people who think like Eli? I don’t need to hear any more.

    Where have all the ninjas gone? I want to be a ninja.

    1. Eli is the new Jesus didn’t you know? He proves you can take god out of the religion but not the religion out of Eli.

      No. A world full of Eli level ideologues would be a scary awful place.

    2. Did you quit after Eli called them broken too? He is so unselfaware at that point, likely doesn’t realize how much he is coming across as a preacher.

      He kicked them in the balls and will then complain that they are pulling hair and biting. Eli poisoned this conversation in his opening monologue. Not sure I can listen to anymore, it’s got to be a shit show after that intro.

      1. I think some of these atheist guys are just God wannabes. It’s not so much that they don’t believe in God as it is that they’re angry that they didn’t get to be God.

      2. Thank you for mentioning the “broken” part. It almost made want to “cry,”

        As a senior gay atheist I look forward when this generation of SJW’s and Snowflakes are running the country because I will be dead.

        Grow up,

    3. Where did this idea that anyone has authority or rights to control minds come from? We have conversations, that’s it. Don’t blow this up bigger than it is.

    4. I agree totally. Eli has the wrong notion of what empathy means. I believe the word he is mistaking it for is sympathy. For instance, a psychopath is extremely empathetic. They understand and read people very well, they just don’t give a damn and this is what makes them successful manipulators.

  2. I’m a relatively new listener and I’ve enjoyed practically all the shows so far, going through the back log has been greatly enjoyable.
    This episode was quite different then the other episodes that I feel I have heard so far and while I find it valuable, in the sense that you have given us a glimpse into three different mind sets, I feel I have a handle on where you are coming from already Thomas, I don’t know how valuable it will be to hear more.
    If the second episode goes into some of the issues I feel it would be valuable but if it is more of the same in trying to communicate what a display of empathy is and is not then I don’t find it all that valuable and I think you should move on.
    What I found particularly interesting is how different Eli seems to be when he is talking about issues he is passionate about. I’ve only ever heard him on his two podcasts the Scathing Athiest and God Awful Movies so I found it particularly interesting to see him outside of comedy.
    Thanks for all the hard work Thomas, you have brought me hours of entertainment in my semi drab life. ????

  3. One thing I think needs to be said is to set up what the discussion is even about. The audience is going into this thing cold with no context. Eli just starts ranting about a different conversation that has nothing to do with this one. As a listener I now have two conversations that lead to this one that I do not know anything about. Set up the back story and give context to the people involved.

    The guests should also know which one said what, it is extremely hard to follow when someone says, “Bob said Joe is a jerk.” Bob says, “No Bill said that, I said Ray is a cuck.” The conversation is completely derailed and the audience is lost.

    I think this podcast episode was created in the heat of the moment and wasn’t planned out, maybe that’s why it went so bad.

    The common thread in the two bad conversations, The Smalley Incident, and this one, is Thomas was emotionally involved in both situations. Maybe in the future bring in a guest host that will be neutral to control the conversation and set up the entire thing.

    Just a thought.

      1. I didn’t get past 20 minutes, maybe I’ll try again but there was nothing of value said up to that point.

        You did not set up what the Facebook conversation was about.

        I didn’t say you were emotional, I said you were emotionally involved so maybe that lead to you not hosting as well as you normally do.

        Like I said, it was just a thought.

  4. Eli came off really condescending and aggressive. He truly sees these guys as sub human, and while saying he wants to understand their view he talked down to them / preaching. This is the problem i have with far left, they see themselves as a victim then throw punches that are as bad as far right, yet since they see themselves as victim and righteous they can never self reflect.

      1. That’s a really good point and strikes at the heart of the issue. We are all human, and as such we fall into natural human problems of tribalism and other human tendencies. Its really hard to step out of it.

    1. They see the Trump people as the villains and since they oppose them they see themselves as the good guys. What they don’t realize is they are also villains.

      A good example is the movie Aliens, the Aliens are the Trumps but Paul Reiser is the SJW of the movie. He was not on the Aliens side but he was also against all the people caught in the middle. We are just as happy to see him eliminated as we do the Aliens.

      1. This seems like a tremendously selective interpretation of reality.

        We can say that people on the left have fear and animosity toward the people Trump motivated, both the proud rogues gallery (e.g., white-supremacists, misogynists, xenophobes, anti-muslim bigots, etc.) and the people who consider themselves reasonable but still voted for the man whose campaign was littered with hate-speech, whose VP choice has a history of passing discriminatory laws, and who has proven himself to have no qualms about lying when it’s politically or personally expedient.

        I don’t disagree that Trump, his cabinet picks, and his supporters are considered by many on the left to be not too dissimilar from a non-copyright infringing legion of doom knockoff. But, importantly, that didn’t come out of nowhere, it wasn’t a natural extension of their need to define their lives as meaningful in opposition to a greater evil, and as Eli noted in the episode (though, I understand if it got lost in the back and forth) it is substantially different from people who convinced themselves that the scary black man was going to send death panels after their poor, uninsured children.

        I don’t mean to mischaracterize your comment, so I’ll just tell you what I take it to mean, and if I’m wrong, I apologize. When you say “they see the Trump people as the villains and since they oppose them they see themselves as the good guys; what they don’t realize is they are also villains,” I take it that to mean “they” have propped up a illegitimate enemy, because they need to feel oppressed to justify their efforts, and that they are blind to the harmful impact their advocacy has on others.

        When I say this is selective, what I mean is it ignores people’s lived experiences, people who remember when they legally couldn’t use the same public bathroom as other races, people who were physically and verbally abused for wanting nothing more than to feel loved and accepted like everyone else, and people who came to this country with the absurd understanding that it is a nation that cares about living up to its stated ideals.

        Trump didn’t show up out of nowhere and offer no indication that he would be, if nothing else, at least willing to consider repealing all the gains made by so many disenfranchised people. Trump didn’t just show up without a history of racial discrimination, fraud, and serial sexual assault, about which he bragged both publicly and privately. And Trump supporters didn’t just one day decide to embrace and parrot Trump’s message of ugliness and bigotry because they like his economic policy so much.

        Yes, the conceptualization of others as “villains” is probably not altogether helpful, but the false equivalence is far more intellectually jarring. One side’s pointing to hate crimes, the other side’s pointing to tumblr posts.

        Maybe a better analogy would be you watching the movie Alien, where the alien is Trump’s presidency, and the crew of the Nostromo are all of the people who are going to be harmed both directly and indirectly by Trump’s presidency. Not being in the movie, it’s easy for you to criticize everyone for being so freaked out. Maybe I should have made you Ash. That might have been better. Oh well, the moment’s passed.

        I guess the point I mean to make is that you not feeling the threat doesn’t mean others are manufacturing that feeling for themselves nor that there’s no legitimate reason for them to feel threatened. Maybe you feel falsely characterized by their reaction, because you have no intention of hurting them, but again, that doesn’t necessarily speak to them being wrong about whether or not they’re going to end up hurt.

        1. I feel the threat of Trump. He was by far the worst choice. I was a Hillary supporter from Day one. She was by far the best choice available and it wasn’t close. She was not the villain I speak.

          The other villains are the ones for the last 4 years consistently calling everyone racist and all the other “ists”. To a point where the words lost all meaning. So when the real villain showed up in Trump the scare words no longer mattered to most people. They called Bush Hitler for 8 years, so that meant nothing as well in regards to Trump.

          What the SJW crowd doesn’t get is they are authoritarians and people in the middle don’t care for authoritarians. So while Trump is a villain that crowd in the far left are also villains and I want no part of them either. The SJW crowd then label those in the middle racist and everything else. Those are allies, they believe in social justice what they reject is how SJWs are going about achieving it.

          They want to fix broken arms by breaking the arms of people that had nothing to do with the broken arms in the first place. Privilege is their version of original sin. Patriarchy is their free masons or illuminati. It’s religion, and Eli calling them broken just brings everything back to dogma. That’s how religious people speak not reasonable people.

          I want no part of the authoritarians on the right or the left. SJWs forget that individuals exist. Their identity politics needs to fail, unfortunately that failure is replaced by the right and not liberalism.

          1. To be honest, I think this easy conceptualization of the SJW crowd as “authoritarians” is a far better example of the point you seem to have been making in your first comment.

            Asking a person not to say a word that hurts and disempowers you is not an authoritarian act of censorship. If they keep saying the word, because they don’t accept your reasoning or they don’t care that it hurts you, you don’t have to keep talking to them, you don’t have to keep paying them money to hear them speak, and you can even contact their employer if using those words in that context violates an employment policy. None of those things are censorship.

            Imagine you’re a grade-school bully, and you’ve got a smaller kid in a headlock, and you’re punching him in the stomach for not being normal, and that kid says “hey, stop punching me in the stomach” is that kid an authoritarian? I mean, he’s not just telling you what you can’t say, he’s telling you what you can’t do.

            And, I’m not trying to equate physical assault and verbal assault, or even verbal assault and offensive speech, but just to illustrate that just because someone makes a demand of you does not make them an authoritarian agent exercising their power.

            We disagree about words losing their power through use. Yes, if you want to use the word “racist” as a bat, and rely only on the emotional impact of a taboo to make your point, then maybe you’ve got a point, but just to be clear, that’s not respecting words, that’s lazy writing. On the other hand, if you want to address the ways racism permeates our society and be able to interact and advocate in meaningful ways at all levels, you need a better working definition than “did they said the n-word while physically assaulting you?”

            I’m not sure where this meme of social justice as a religion is coming from (I think you’re the third person on the site to accuse me and my ilk of that this week). The same could be said about anti-SJW proponents. They’ve got a blind faith in cultural norms like meritocracy and equality of opportunity, ignoring glaring evidence that the system is not equal and people fail for reasons they have no control over all the time. They assume special knowledge based on their ability to reason about others, and that knowledge trumps claims to the contrary made by people who are more relevantly affected. Entitlement and victimhood are their original sins. Emotion and empathy are their side’s broken arms, and rather than accept that compassion and sensitivity allow others to engage more fully in education, they spread conspiracy theories about how we’re all dumbing down our schools.

            And to your last point, I would counter that critics of social justice seem to forget that individuals exist in cultural contexts which inform their identities and, very often, determine what access they have to resources, opportunity, and safety.

            Finally though, I will add that I did bristle when I heard Eli categorize the guests as broken. I can’t imagine I wouldn’t be defensive if I heard that at the start of a conversation. It feels understandable, knowing the context (i.e., the shitty 2 hour discussion the previous night and the fact that he was responding to their trolling comments), but that said, if your whole argument is “everybody’s too sensitive, and I don’t even care,” it seems somewhat self-defeating to accuse the other side of being mean to you.

          2. To Some Guy my phone won’t let me reply to your comment.

            Anti SJW isn’t a position, it’s the rejection of the SJW position.

            I live in Canada, and here we have laws that cost people tens of thousands of dollars for using dyke as an attack of hecklers and making fun of a dying kid for living too long. These are real things. This is authoritarian. This is what I don’t want any more of. Paula Deene paid a social price or her language, elsewhere she pays a criminal price.

            Maybe watch some of the better skeptics of YouTube show how SJW thinking is dogmatic. Or listen to Steve Shives tell men that can’t see their kids they hate women or abused men dont exist. I think if I met him I would punch him in his smug face. He is a terrible human being. I don’t even have kids and I know that is a repugnant thing to say. What’s worse than cancer? Steve should get that.

          3. No worries. Mine does that thing too. I just try to respond to the nearest post I can, and it usually works out.

            On Monday’s episode, I asked another commenter for suggestions on the anti-social justice side that I can listen to. They were kind enough to offer some examples, but (coincidentally) this morning, one of them seems to have doxxed a woman for insinuating he’s said some alt-right things. Do you have any specific suggestions? I would genuinely appreciate them.

            I agree with you that it’s really gross to claim that men can’t be abused. I’ve worked with sexual assault survivors, people who’ve experienced intimate partner violence, and also perpetrators of those crimes. Men, women, and children. I’ve seen the effect of losing children on parents, and dismissing/mocking that pain makes me nauseous.

            With that in mind, I’ve also seen opponents of social justice advocacy exploit that feeling in an attempt to dismiss and derail conversations about rape and discrimination and trans rights and any number of other modestly-tangentially related topics. I’ll take it on faith that Shives has said the things you’re claiming he said, and I agree that he’s wrong about the facts, and that it was hurtful and wrong of him to say that. However, if there were contextual reasons informing this response (e.g., shutting down an assumed troll), and if it’s inconsistent with the rest of his advocacy positions, I’d be weary about accepting it as much more than a cherry-picked attempt to poison the well.

            Additionally, and this may be more personal than I want to be on this forum, so feel free not to respond to it, but if you (or anyone who’s reading this for whatever reason… hi) are furious enough about Shives dismissing the abuse of men that you consider him totally bankrupt as a speaker, but you’re willing to overlook people who are dismissive about the abuse reported by women, people of color, trans people, gay people, etc…, why is that? More to the point, if you’re invested in this anti-SJW position that everyone’s too sensitive about offensive words, why are you viewing Shives’s insensitive comment as an outrage and not a refreshing embrace of your ideology?

          4. To Some Guy

            I’ll recommend two. Logiked and Armoured Skeptic. There are others that I like but these two do the best job at tackling the ideas presented with limited humour. They also put out long videos so it will be easier to find the ones that matter. Skeptics answers for reasonable questions would be a good one to watch. He also did a series replying to Milo Stewart on racism that is very good.

            “Additionally, and this may be more personal than I want to be on this forum, so feel free not to respond to it, but if you (or anyone who’s reading this for whatever reason… hi) are furious enough about Shives dismissing the abuse of men that you consider him totally bankrupt as a speaker, but you’re willing to overlook people who are dismissive about the abuse reported by women, people of color, trans people, gay people, etc…, why is that? More to the point, if you’re invested in this anti-SJW position that everyone’s too sensitive about offensive words, why are you viewing Shives’s insensitive comment as an outrage and not a refreshing embrace of your ideology?”

            At what point did I give the impression I am willing to overlook people who are dismissive of any of those things?

            I’m not invested in this position at all. I challenge all views I disagree with. I’ve had long twitter disagreements with both those creators on other topics. Logiked was about Muslims and Skepitic about fascism. I have also done an hour long debate in Ranthonys channel on Muslim immigration when it comes to compatibility with western values. I’m pro immigration and I managed to not tell my opponent she was broken, so that’s a plus.

            I take people to task for things I disagree with all the time. I’m not on a team. I care about good policy with a focus on individual rights over group rights. I hate ideology, it causes people to become tribal. Treat people as individuals, stop putting them into groups.

          5. Dan

            Thank you for the links.

            And, I apologize for mischaracterizing your position and for lumping you in with people you disagree with. I think when I read your posts calling SJW’s villains, your metaphor about advocacy work being akin to breaking others’ arms, and the assertions about social justice being an authoritarian threat, I assumed you were of the opinion, that has been often expressed by others who criticize social justice advocacy, that all this oversensitive SJW PC language policing is ruining everything, and people who get offended by words need to grow up and face reality. It was jarring to see you call out Steve Shives for making an insensitive statement, in light of what I assumed to be your position (that people who call out insensitive statements are authoritarian villains who just want to break everyone’s arms).

            Thank you again for the links. I’ll see if I can’t find those debates.

          6. To Some Guy

            SJW is a perjoritive. Not all advocates for social justice fall into that group. There are real social issues that need to be addressed. Those that fall into the SJW camp are the keyboard warriors or people that advocate against non issues like manspreading and trigger warnings for jello, yes that is a real thing.

            I called out Steve Shives because what he said is monsterous. He said guys that cannot see there kids and are upset about this are misogynists. That’s a horrific thing to say about a person that can’t see their kids. Logiked takes on that video of Steves and does a masterful take down. Steve is a monster.

            I am against those that want to use the power of the government or authority of a university to silence people. I was against it when the PMRC tried to do it in the 80s and 90s and I’m against it now.

        2. This is to your comment after this since I can’t respond to this one:

          “Asking a person not to say a word that hurts and dis-empowers you is not an authoritarian act of censorship. ”

          No, but if you use systems of power (whether government or just twitter’s b.s. trust and safety council) to stop being from being able to say words that hurt it IS censorship, be definition.
          “If they keep saying the word, because they don’t accept your reasoning or they don’t care that it hurts you, you don’t have to keep talking to them, you don’t have to keep paying them money to hear them speak,”

          Exactly. In a LIBERAL society, that is what you do. You have freedom of association.

          “and you can even contact their employer if using those words in that context violates an employment policy. None of those things are censorship.”

          FALSE and I have to hope to god you know this is false. You’re expecting me to believe that your attempt to get someone fired from their position of employment is because of breaking the employment policy and not because you took umbrage to their speech and wanted to punish them for it. Essentially: “I respect your freedom of speech, and don’t want to silence you, but I just CANNOT accept people breaking employment policies. Where would our civilization be if it weren’t for dress/speech codes for employees? NO sir..that will not do!”

          Nonsense. It’s to hurt people you don’t agree with in the hopes you can silence them (or just exact a lb of flesh). Don’t get it twisted; you’re not that clever.

          Another example: when feminists successfully got the Red Pill pulled (self censorship by the theater) or feminists successfully got GTA pulled from Target Australia shelves. It wasn’t because there was anything specific about that theater or Target that upset the feminists – the idea that any other theater was fine or Best Buy Australia – it was that they were exercising the power THEY CURRENTLY HAVE to censor speech they find offensive. It comes down to this: do SJWs want more power to censor speech they find offensive? Go watch the debate between Jordan Peterson and the gender studies professor (and panel) on the C16 Canadian bill. Mr Peterson asked if misgendering trans people was A. violent B. assault C. (i think a hate crime or something) and the answer was YES YES YES. Does that person respect his right to misgender people and only instead cares about employee policies? NO. If that person was given a button that would get Peterson fired he’d press it. If he had a button that could censor him from misgendering people he’s press it. The same is true for GTA V and Red Pill (everyone who signed the petition to have those games pulled would love to see it pulled from everywhere).

          Was it not Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn at the UN trying hate speech to “every day criticisms”? Did they not also work with a representative of congress from Mass to do the same thing? Are they not trying to get people banned from countries (demanding government censorship)? I doubt they all just really care about employment policies.

          “Imagine you’re a grade-school bully, and you’ve got a smaller kid in a headlock, and you’re punching him in the stomach for not being normal, and that kid says “hey, stop punching me in the stomach” is that kid an authoritarian? I mean, he’s not just telling you what you can’t say, he’s telling you what you can’t do.”

          The assault would be illegal and the only way the physical assault would be equivalent to a verbal assault is if the bully was saying “i’m going to literally kill you”. That’s not legal to say but I can stand on a crowded street and say “fuck you wop” to ever Italian that walks by (I use this example because I’m Italian) and if they lay a finger on my they go to jail and the ACLU defends my rights. Why? Because insulting speech is not equivalent to physical assault.

          “And, I’m not trying to equate physical assault and verbal assault, or even verbal assault and offensive speech”

          You didn’t do that. Here is what you did: you equated the first one (physical assault) to the last one (offensive speech) which is orders of magnitude worse.

          “We disagree about words losing their power through use”
          We had this disagreement yesterday. Let me ask you again: according to the most fervent SJW, can a black person be racist to a white person? The answer is NO. It used to be yes (and still is for most sane rational people) so, according to the SJW camp, it lost that part of it’s meaning. I think it’s funny that you brought up the fact that I learned racism when i was in 4th grade, as an insult. HAHA…OK…it’s kind of sad that the dictionary definition, the majority agreed upon definition, and the ACCURATE AND EQUITABLE definition of the word is one people learn in 4th grade yet college students in gender studies classes across America are still struggling to figure it out and have, in fact, defined the word to be self contradictory (i.e. the new speak definition of racism excuses entire races from being considered racist even if they make racist remarks to entire races entirely based on the race of the person saying it and the race of the person receiving the insult. Whew..big brother would be proud).
          “I’m not sure where this meme of social justice as a religion is coming from”

          Mostly from people like me who used to be part of a religion, recognize how they work, left religion and then watched a bunch of people who claim to be non-religious atheists fall into the trap of dogmatic religious thinking.
          You know: since you asked. 😉

          “The same could be said about anti-SJW proponents. They’ve got a blind faith in cultural norms like meritocracy.”
          Citation needed. Find me one anti-sjw atheist (or “new atheist” as we’re called) who blindly believes in meritocracy and doesn’t admit that capitalism has significant drawbacks that need addressing.

          “ignoring glaring evidence that the system is not equal and people fail for reasons they have no control over all the time”
          Which is why the majority of us New Atheists are liberals who support the welfare state. I think you’re conflating anti-sjws in our atheist community (mainly liberal) with right wingers and you’re creating a strawman here. Armoured Skeptic, Thunderf00t, Amazing Atheist, Chris Ray Gun, Sam Harris, Gad Saad, Dave Rubin. I promise you: they all support a social welfare system and reforms to our current capitalist system.

          “They assume special knowledge based on their ability to reason about others, and that knowledge trumps claims to the contrary made by people who are more relevantly affected.”

          Facts over feels. It’s not “special knowledge” it’s empiricism and the rejection of divine revelation. Aren’t we anti-SJWs meant to be the religious ones? Just the other day I had to call you out on this with my quote about believing in Jesus and then you’ll have the evidence you need to believe in him. It clearly, as will this, went over your head. That’s sad.

          “Entitlement and victimhood are their original sins.”

          No. It’s quite literally white male privilege (often). We’re not he ones pushing the victim narrative. We’re not the ones saying that we’re entitled to equal representation without equal effort. That is the SJW side. Are you sure you’re not an anti-SJW who just got confused?

          “Emotion and empathy are their side’s broken arms, and rather than accept that compassion and sensitivity allow others to engage more fully in education, they spread conspiracy theories about how we’re all dumbing down our schools.”

          Rape culture, patriarchy, wage gap. None of them substantiated by empirical evidence, all professed by perpetual victims and yes: that includes throughout our educational system. You’re talking about emotion and empathy and compassion and sensitivity in the same sentence as education. Not once have you uttered the phrase “empirical evidence”. We didn’t reject creationism in school so you could foist your nonsense ideology in it’s place.

          “And to your last point, I would counter that critics of social justice seem to forget that individuals exist in cultural contexts which inform their identities and, very often, determine what access they have to resources, opportunity, and safety.”

          I’m surprised you are still capable of uttering the word individual. You need to recognize that there are also many people whose lives aren’t informed by the privileges and disadvantages apparently inherent (remember when you said original sin?! haha that was cute) in their cultural/racial/sex/gender group. When you lump them in with others and start throwing away blanket terms like PRIVILEGED or MARGINALIZED you prop up people who aren’t in need and push down those who are.

          1. Thanks for posting this higher up the thread so I could respond to it directly. I feel like this could have gotten pretty confusing for everybody.

            Just to be clear, I agree with your point that contacting someone’s employer when they’ve harassed you in some way is not motivated by a selfless devotion to employment contracts. I apologize for being unclear. The point I was trying to convey was that if you work at a pizza shop, and as I’m paying for my pizza, you say “enjoy the pizza, faggot,” and if I then ask to speak to your manager and say to them “hey, this guy just called me a faggot,” and your manager fires you, because there’s a policy against that in your employment agreement, that’s not censorship.

            Frankly, I’m plenty clever. I take your meaning though. Not every person who wants someone to be fired for treating them poorly has a selfless moral-foundation for that action. However, you must admit (and you seem pretty clever too, so I assume you can follow) that there are also people who want that person fired so that they, and people like them, can buy a pizza without being called a faggot. These can even be the same people. I can want two things. I want a pizzeria free of harassment and for the person who hurt me to be punished. Personally, I don’t believe that the relevant factor as to whether or not people should be punished is whether or not the victim wants them to be punished, but I also don’t think that person should get to keep calling people faggots at work because everyone who wants him to stop doing that also happens to have hurt feelings.

            If you want me to say the words “empirical evidence,” well then… empirical evidence. Was that good for you?

            I’ll also say that there is a sycophantic adherence among some self-styled “reasonable” and “rational” individuals to the exclusive legitimacy of the scientific method while ignoring the fact that it is not designed to be a catch-all tool for investigating every conceivable claim, but rather a method of inquiry that is not without bias, and is, in fact, itself heavily biased toward type 2 errors (i.e., missing the existence of potential correlation) as a result of its design to minimize type 1 errors (i.e., assuming correlations that do not exist). The scientific method is an invaluable tool, but it is not an exclusive arbiter of truth claims, misapplication of it can lead to shitty (though potentially internally consistent) conclusions, and the use of it as a litmus test to support conclusions on the grounds that they haven’t been disproven to your satisfaction yet is not good science.

            As for the rest of it, I think the fact that we’re just going back and forth accusing each other of essentially the same things just with different signifiers should be indicative of something. It’s starting to seem a lot like a time-consuming round of “no, you farted.”

            I guess I’ll take a page out of Andrew Torrez’s book and ask you, what would you like to get out of this conversation?

  5. First things Eli says:

    “I went on a youtube channel with 2 atheists who demonstrated ignorance on every single subject. I’m good at explaining things”

    which is why you’ve – on multiple occasions – had to apologize openly for being absolutely terrible at explaining things and getting facts on things you’re explaining ENTIRELY OBJECTIVELY EMPIRICALLY WRONG.

    My. f’ing. god.

    Nothing he says after that can be taken seriously. NOTHING. The hubris alone.

    1. I was impressed he was able to keep talking while sucking his own dick.

      It’s also funny that he made the two guys who made fun of Thomas for being emotional into sympathetic characters before they ever got to talk.

      Thomas was right to be upset, I cancelled looking into going to Disney World after the election because my girlfriend is Iranian. No chance I’m going to the States when she doesn’t have a Canadian passport in Trump’s America.

    2. I couldn’t get past Eli’s hypocritical religious sermon on empathy.

      How empathetic are you towards people who believe that abortion is murder? People who stay up crying (and i’m sure millions have) because they believe the life of what the believe to be the child comes before the convenience of the mother?

      Not very empathetic.

      How many times has Tom mocked the tears of the religious right when they break down?

      What about the idea of inherent privilege, that you can’t be racist against whites or sexist agianst males, that punching up is OK? What does “I drink your male tears” mean to you?


      No… of course not.

      When people bring up their concerns with Hillary, or Islam, or whatever – and are called racist/islamaphobic/sexist/nazi/bigot – is it done with empathy?

      Just stop. When you have these faux arguments in your head, you need to also play the part of the opposition and not just pat yourself on the back for how clever you think you are.

      It was NOT a good speech and NOT convincing. If anything it was condescending and, as I said, hypocritical.

      I’m supposed to give a shit that Tom broke down over a boogyman he bought into because the far left media has decided that Trump, of all people (ex democrat and pro LGBT who already disavowed the alt right), is the next rise of Hitler?

      Tom was crying over things he belived Trump WILL do, not things he’s done. Many of those things he’s already reniged on. Many of which (deportation, bombing of muslims, expansion of drone program etc) have been done by Obama…the great progressive savior.

      I don’t respect someone who is taken to tears by their own absurd fear narrative. It’s the reason I stopped listening to cognitive dissonance and Thomas’ own show (I haven’t listened in months but was interested in this episode).

      I come to atheist shows (whether podcasts or youtube) for 2 things

      1. Secularism

      2. Skepticism.

      You’re secular but MY GOD cog dis, Atheistically Speaking, and Scathing Atheist have all become extremely dogmatic and religious.

      Don’t do part 2.

      here is the ultimate Irony.

      The left lost the election because Hillary, the DNC, and Hillary’s supporters (identity politics supporting SJWs who wanted their first woman president) couldn’t empathize with working class white people in the rust belt who are struggling .

      The left’s response to them decided Trump was the lesser of 2 evils?

      Racist, Sexist, NAZI (literally).

      Very empathetic.

      Not only was the empathy diatribe not clever, it was something I expected from Ray Comfort.

      Where do you get your morals from? According to eli, those who disagree with him have none.

      The only thing that was missing was a “checkmate atheists”.

      1. No. Cognitive Dissonance and Scathing Atheist and God Awful Movies are all roast shows. It’s about making jokes about horrible things to have a laugh, because without that laugh you’d be crying.

        You wouldn’t say the shit from those shows in a conversation with someone you disagreed with, and it’s really truly not relevant to this discussion about social justice. The issue of social justice isn’t about outlawing bad jokes, it’s about making people aware of the way they affect others.

        I sincerely doubt Eli is cruel enough to say bad things to people. He makes bad jokes to cheer people up, because he’s empathetic (unlike anti SJW people in this one area).

      2. “I’m happy to be wrong”

        You are

        “I’m happy to be an asshole”

        You are

        “I just want to connect.”

        You just called them broken before they even got to speak and said introducing facts would be pointless because they lack empathy. You then go on to say that Thomas breaking down about his wife in Trump’s america (a nonsense statement) doesn’t get to them then nothing will.

        if *group I disagree with* breaks down about _______ in *group I agree with’s* America doesn’t get to you then nothing will.

        fill in the blank with any deeply felt conviction your ideological foes believe in.

        Go with abortion, like I said before, give that a shot.

        Then come back to me when you recognize what the saying “facts trump feelings” means and why no one is swayed by blubbering… even if you mean it.

        I can go onto youtube and find you dozens of people crying about the loss of their liberty to some left wing or right wing plot. They’ll likely have plenty of doomsayers from sites like salon/huffington post or drudge report/Breitbart to back them up.

        Must I constantly shift my allegiances to those who cry hardest?

        Did you seriously use the “Thomas cried on the podcast HE CRIED YOU MONSTER!!!!!!” argument?

        boo hoo. His show, and especially shows like Scathing Atheist/Cognitive Dissonance which you’re often on, are in large part devoted to mocking the irrational fears of others. Now we have to respect his?

        1. What about Thomas’ fears are irrational considering the things the President elect said he wanted to do?

          You act as if the “right” saying Obama will become an emperor and the left saying Trump will hamstring women’s reproductive rights are equivalent fears.

      3. You’re saying Thomas should take solace in the fact that everything Donald Trump campaigned on was a lie or hyperbole? You think he’s suddenly not going to appoint billionaires and racists to run his cabinet? That he won’t appoint ultra conservative supreme court justices?

      4. “The left lost the election because Hillary, the DNC, and Hillary’s supporters (identity politics supporting SJWs who wanted their first woman president) couldn’t empathize with working class white people in the rust belt who are struggling”

        Please show the empirical evidence to justify such a strong claim. If anything is certain about the election, it’s that any explanation of the result is very underdetermined.

        Yet you figured out the single cause of it all. Which cause just happens to coincide with your personal bogeyman. What luck that was.


        1. You know how I can tell Hillary was a bad choice as a nominee? SHE LOST! As did we all. As will we all for a good long time to come. The DNC leadership failed miserably. With any luck none of the Democratic “leaders” of 2016 will be in charge of anything anymore in 2024. By then all personal agendas will be moot and we’ll get another chance to do it right, though we could still screw it up. The Republicans had a chance to do a meaningful postmortem on their past failures and failed at that as well, at which point their lower intestine leapt up through their throat and throttled their brain, leaving us with . . . Donald Trump. You may have noticed that Donald Trump is not a Republican, though he commandeered their campaign bus. Donald Trump is strictly pro-Donald. We should all just get used to working for the Donald for the next eight years.

  6. I came to your conclusion at the end of the episode too, Thomas. This would have been better with only talking to Dustin. Most listeners don’t know the context, but talking with Michael tends to be pretty fruitless. Conversations with him always lead to him being obstinate and him apparently not wanting to understand basic concepts. Just like he tried to make excuses for Dustin’s behavior that Dustin had already conceded.

    It sounded like you and Dustin came to an understanding. I can’t say that it would happen with Michael ever.

  7. Eli, I love you. I think you might not have done well in this particular conversation. I agree with you about the importance of empathy, but… I don’t know that this went as well as it could have. I’m sorry.

  8. First of all, I love this show. It’s my favorite podcast of the two dozen or more that I listen to. But these shows that try to settle social media discord are completely useless and devoid of interesting content that invariably ends with no resolution. The interview shows you do are like viewing an upscale TV interview but engaging in futile arguments with apathetic people who are more fixated on winning their positions than coming to truth is closer to a vacuous reality TV show where they air their dirty laundry in public. Just my two cents.

    1. I hate to agree, because I think one of the things I most appreciate about this show (as well as Angry Black Rant and the Scathing Atheist) is the fact that the scope isn’t limited by pretensions to objectivism and pure reason. They seem to recognize that social interactions, including social media interactions, are impactful and relevant to the discussion of existing in this society as an atheist. Moreover, I think Thomas’s willingness to engage listeners makes the show less about general/arbitrary topics that may or may not be interesting and useful.

      That said, I very much related to Eli’s frustration in this episode. I don’t want to dismiss it as trolling, but there seems to be this insistence on the part of a self-selected group of anti-social justice proponents that they be engaged, only to step into discussions, lay out their position, and get frustrated and dismissive when those ideas are challenged.

      Worse still, reading through the comments on this episode, it seems like the other side has similar feelings about engaging social justice proponents.

      I don’t think the answer is a witty aphorism about not feeding the trolls or finding space in the middle, but if for no other reason than Thomas’s conflicted feelings about releasing these episodes, it might be worth reconsidering how to have this particular discussion.

      An idea just popped into my head about interviewing people who’ve experienced hate crimes, harassment, or trauma, as well as experts who work with those topics in a secular way. I hesitate to suggest it though, because the comments on this episode really seem to be doubling down on insisting they have the right to mock others for crying without their approval.

  9. Like a car wreck, I think I want to see more. I agree with Thomas’ analysis at the end….too many conversations going on. At a later date, I would really like to hear more of Mike’s arguments hashed out- I’m not 100% convinced that people crying about Obama is a false equivalency to people crying about Trump- both people may be sincere and really feeling genuine anguish, just because you don’t agree with the justification of why they are hurting does not diminish their pain. Could it be the difference between empathy and compassion?

    I felt physically sick as I watched Trump storm to victory on that ill-fated Tuesday, and I’m not even American, so I found it really easy to empathise and show compassion with Thomas. It’s harder, but I think I can still empathise with devout theists who feel deeply offended by ridicule of their deities, but I just don’t care enough to be silent, because I know the world would be a worse place if everyone had to creep around on eggshells in fear of offending people…which is why I think we need to let our offense not affect us too emotionally and let it slide with a “Cool, thanks for letting us know your thoughts….now let’s back to discussing the facts”…or if you think that will be fruitless, “Good day to your sir!!”

  10. I am not a Facebook user (aFacebookist?) so stumbling around Facebook, I was not able to find the article in question. Could someone please link me to the Facebook article in question. So much of the discussion was concerned with who said what when. Listening to the audio, I lost track. It would be nice to read the post for myself. Also Please include a list of screen names explain who is who.

    1. Just happy to hear somebody else can’ find shit on facebook. I thought it might be generational. When other people were defining “quagmire” as “Iraq” or “Afghanistan,” I was defining it as “facebook.”

  11. I wanted to add my voice here as well because i really liked the content. It gave a rare look behind the scenes of this kind of show, and the people of podcast land. While i do not think part 2 would be a constructive thing to post as a main show, i do feel that this show was constructive for the listeners and brought up some interesting points that were not the main thread of the conversation.

    As at least one above me has said I am also interested in learning more about Mike’s position in a more controlled setting. While i did not feel his butting in was constructive i did feel he had a point that got lost in the fray.

    I will not fault Eli for his passion but I do feel that even comedy should be looked at as an occasional weapon for the side it’s portraying. As a white guy I remember growing up a show called the Chappelle Show. The bits were funny! But i also felt, as a teen, that some of the “jokes” were hurting others opinions of me and other white people. And giving Whites a unfair look at the basest of black culture.

    What i’m trying to say there is that there will always be people who empathise to different levels with all sorts of dealings. While we can’t control what we feel and our immediate reaction to things it’s still important to remember that everyone (baring sociopaths) has things they care about. When we mix it up online and everyone has his or her opinions and data, and we can hopefully meet people where they are at, not where we think they should be at. Because some day they may have data and opinions that will change some part of your thinking for the better, even when you find other positions they hold offencive.

    The strongest shield one has on the internet is our thoughts and understanding of other people, and just as scientific data changes daily (in small amounts) so do each of us.

  12. Part of this seems to be the problem with opening up the gates and letting everyone onto the Internet. I have been using computers to communicate since the late 80s and dial-in BBSs. Back in those days, I soon discovered, I had to separate myself from the conversation some what to remain sane. On-line I was able to say thing that I was afraid to IRL, so in that respect, I was more honest on-line. On the other hand, as a teenager, I did some trolling to get reaction. So the same freedom also allowed me to be occasionally more dishonest when I was on-line.

    By separating myself from my on-line self I was able to survive. The strong linking of ones self and there on-line self is something I don”t like on the on-line world of today. When someone attacks me on-line I might get pissed, but once I realize they don’t know who I am IRL, it gives me peace of mind.

  13. I really appreciated the “cringey” clip of Thomas reacting to election night because I’m much more apathetic towards politics, and that clip sort of shook me. I can listen to Noah, Heath, and Eli being angry and funny, and I come away entertained, and feeling they were pretty right, but it was different to hear a genuine sadness. I was forced to empathize. And I “understood” your feelings in a different way than I would have if you just started disappointment. Empathy is a different type of understanding.

    I found this recording pretty cringey, and unproductive. I don’t want to hear part two. BTW there trolling wrong, and if there truly not trying to troll, they’re just wrong.

  14. I just started listening to your podcast. I just got through all of Cognitive Dissonance, and now I am making my way through your back catalog. I love the show, and I don’t think this episode was terrible.

    Something came up though, in this conversation, that I wish you had spent more time on, and maybe you can come back to it in another episode. Those on the religious right are often ridiculed by atheists and leftists when things don’t go their way. A case in point is when people took the piss out of the religious people crying over the Obergefell v. Hodges SCOTUS decision. Though I am ok with ridicule, and I am open to a range of tactics, I think it is this perceived double standard that motivates people like Mike and Dustin. If it is ok to ridicule the religious, why is it not ok to be ridiculed yourself?

    Now, I think Eli was getting to a really interesting point that the facts matter at this intersection. You being upset about Trump might be more justified given the evidence (Trump has said some pretty horrible things, and it is reasonable to think he is going to follow through on some of them), and maybe those upset about the SCOTUS decision are not justified (fear over gay marriage is not justified given what we know about marriage and gay people). However, it is true that these individuals, on the right, feel hurt, and being mocked for your hurt feelings, whether those feelings are justified or not, and whether or not that ridicule comes from a comedy program or a face to face conversation, has a psychological effect on those individuals being ridiculed. I think ridicule has a place, and I am not saying we need to tone police, or bicker over tactics, but it does seem to me that ridicule can have a backfire effect, if your intention is to make people empathize with your concerns.

    I strongly recommend the book Strangers In Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild (she might even make a great guest on this issue – though I am not sure whether or not she is religious or not), it is a great case study in how those on the right feel given how they are portrayed in the media and those they perceive as the ‘elites’ in government and academia. I don’t think this means we need to stop calling them out on their racism and homophobia, but I think we need to begin to understand why these people feel this way in order that we can prevent things like a president Trump in the future.

    There is probably a lot of overlap between Eli and my own political views, but I think he is less careful on this topic. I don’t mean this a slight against him, he is a cool and funny dude. But I would love to hear a slightly more dispassionate conversation on this topic, one which has the potential of digging into the nuance.

    Keep up the good work!

  15. Hi Thomas, first and foremost thank you all for taking the time to sit down and have this conversation and make it available to us.

    I felt you tainted this podcast beforehand by implying it wasn’t good enough, it hadn’t gone well, whatever. Could it possibly be that it just didn’t go how you wished it had and that’s a different thing? There was absolutely no context presented for the prior Facebook exchanges before this conversation, that’s totally unfair to all parties concerned (yourself included). It made me feel I had to side with yourself and Eli as a loyal listener without the full story and the guys you were talking to elucidated their points quite well. The conversation as presented didn’t start well with an obviously angry Eli at his best, making great points in a really clear way that can come over as patronising and preachy. I love Eli by the way, sorry man, from the cold start you gave us it sounded like a slightly crazed rant at two guys sitting silently on skype. That’s not the sort of discourse I think we should encourage.

    There was such an undercurrent of anger and tension that I’m just not used to in your usually calm reasoned output, I found it disconcerting. Maybe we need a new badge for podcasts like this! Annoyed but still with a point!

    Thanks again, love your shows and hope you find my comments constructive.

  16. Wow, so many comments. Well anyway I think this is a good podcast in that it highlighted something I’ve thought, and said for a long time. Where I think Eli is right is in his belief that Mike, and Dustin aren’t as empathetic as he is, where I think he’s wrong is in thinking that people should be as empathetic as he is. Now I’m not saying they shouldn’t, I’m just saying he has no special insight into how much empathy is enough, or not enough, or too much. None of us do, except perhaps when empathy, or lack thereof reach the extreme of sociopathy, or whatever the other end of the spectrum is.

    That being said I think Eli is also correct in that he’s never going to convince everyone to care about others to the degree he does. For example not everyone, no matter what you say to them, is going to care enough about trans people’s feelings that they will be bothered learning, or using their preferred pronouns.

    1. I could be wrong, but I don’t think Eli’s assertion is that other people should be as empathetic as him, or that people should be empathetic because it’s inherently good to be empathetic, but rather that based on the conversations he’s been having, when one party can not, or will not, empathize (either with the speaker or the content), then facts and well-constructed arguments are not going to compel that person to challenge their beliefs and biases.

      I agree with you that there’s no ideal or right amount of empathy, but I also agree with Eli that it may not be worth his time to attempt to have a productive conversation, using sound evidence and well constructed arguments, if the person he’s speaking to is not invested in the stakes (i.e., how others are affected).

      Also, not that you suggested otherwise, but I think it’s worth saying that it might be a mistake to view empathy as a static thing and not something that can be suppressed and/or fostered by experience, interactions, and thoughtful self-examination… or even just by altering the context of the conversation.

      As to there being people who are beyond reaching, who refuse on principle to treat others with dignity and respect, I wish I could disagree. That said, more optimistic/stronger people than me have done some impressive work on this front (e.g., black people befriending members of the klan and helping them reject that ideology). Maybe there are reasons to be hopeful.

  17. I am really interested in listening to the second part of the conversation. I don’t know that it is very productive, but it is interesting to see Eli and you handle this situation, clearly or of your comfort zone. There are civil and intellectual conversations, and then there are… Those. Through them, we discover another side of your personality, much more raw and spontaneous. They show so much of your humanity. As someone who has a hard time connecting with his own feelings (let alone other people’s), Eli’s very strong and raw reactions make me go through an emotional roller coaster that helps deep feelings come out.

  18. I found this episode unlistenable. I’m a big fan of both Atheistically Speaking and Opening arguments and your normally top quality podcasts. However, these Facebook drama episodes really turn me off as a listener because of their lack of content and devolution into Jerry Springer’esque outrage fests.

    Thomas your idea to bridge the media divide and have an actual conversation with the other side is laudable, and when it works it is/will be an amazing listen. This episode didn’t work. It felt like… I don’t want to come across as rude… but it felt petty and small.

    And it’s not because your guests were “unknowns”, or the premise of their invite being “mean Facebook comments” which I know some people may find to be a red flag. I believe you were honest in your intention to have an episode of dialogue between two opposing viewpoints. All of it can work if the conversation is interesting and productive.

    I dunno, maybe now I’m ranting haha. I hope you continue to make episodes you’re passionate about and grow the show to a truly gargantuan following. Love your stuff!

  19. I have been listening to this podcast for a few months and it is one of my favourites, but AS298 was of little value to me. I took a break at 23 minutes, tried again and it seemed to get better for a few minutes then degraded again. I gave up by the 30 minute mark of the edited podcast.

    This episode seemed like an audio version of a comments section. As Seth Andrews (the Thinking Atheist) puts it, the comments section is where discourse goes to die. I understand your intent, but there is a reason why many people say “don’t feed the trolls.” I fully support the right to freedom of expression, but that does not mean that people have to be handed someone else’s platform.

    Just my $0.02. Love your work and I will continue listening after this set of podcasts.

  20. I think all the people leaving negative comments proves why we need to hear part 2. I actually found this episode interesting and informative. This is an issue that clearly needs more discussion, since obviously many people are still stunningly ignorant on the problem.

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