How Do Atheists Prepare for Hurricane Irene?

Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists, was invited to be a guest on FOX Business’ “Varney & Co.” Friday morning.

He was brought on to talk about “what Atheists do during times of crisis and how they will prepare for Hurricane Irene.”

Dave knew exactly what he was going to say. Something to the effect of: Atheists will stock up on goods, batteries, water, etc. We will evacuate if necessary. We’ll help our family and neighbors stay safe. What we won’t do is sit around and pray that God will make everything better.

Not surprisingly, the three other panelists attacked him for that… with the weakest arguments you’ll ever see.

If Dave said praying to god was a waste of time, they called it mockery. When one panelist said Roman Catholics can prepare for a disaster just like atheists can, she cited how they would get candles, water, and pray to god — though only two of those three things might actually improve her situation. When another panelist gave an example of a priest who wants to help his congregation, he said that the priest would pray for them… and board up the windows of his church. (Hello?!)

They’re all confusing good intentions with practical usefulness.

All the while, I thought Dave handled it beautifully, as he so often does. You *have* to see this video. It’s worth the 5 minutes. And just look at the awesome screenshot they use to introduce the video:

Dave summarized the whole conversation afterwards on Twitter:

While watching that, I had all kinds of nasty words running through my mind to describe the female panelist… but I won’t mention them here. Because that wouldn’t be very nice. And the feminists would slaughter me.

Not that any of the other panelists had decent arguments to counter Dave, either.

What he says is good advice for anyone, atheist or not: Stop praying and go take care of yourself, your family, and your neighbors. When the hurricane arrives, God’s not going to help you.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Rich Samuels

    Good thing he was prepared for Fox News’ panellists to be total douche-bags.

  • Michael Gibb

    I’m not going to bother watching the video, intead I’m just going to ask what the point is for asking the question. I’m serious when I say this, but on first seeing the headline/question I became confused. While it is absurd to go on FOX to discuss the hurricane in the first place, the greater absurdity is in the question it self; what logic is there that makes this a legitimate question to ask?

  • http://www.facebook.com/Shadist Eric Terrell

    I am reminded of the old chestnut about the man on the roof of his house during a flood and him calling out to god for help all while ignoring the help being offered.

    • dauntless

      You should go tell that joke at Pharyngula. PZ loves it.

      • Heidi

        Every time I hear that it makes me think of PZ. LOL.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

          And PZ has developed a bit of an eye-twitchy reaction to it. (It’s apparently a bannable offence.)

  • Anonymous

    All they do is mock him for not believing in the supernatural then claim he’s mocking them every time he tries to get a word out. He’s getting good at this though and he has a quick answer to every one of their ridiculous talking points. You’ve got to love how “fair and balanced” it was to surround him with a panel that wavered between unjustly calling him either a bully or an idiot.

    Yeah well maybe we do mock you theists, but that’s our right and you deserve it. Don’t dish out the criticisms if you can’t take them.

    My favorite part,

    “Do you think god could stop the hurricane?”

    “Noooo!”

    “Then he’s not all powerful.”

    *brief moment of silence as the rusty cogs turn*

  • Robert Crompton

    That is simply incredible!  If believers like that really do exist then maybe there is a tooth fairy after all.

  • Robert Crompton

    That is simply incredible!  If believers like that really do exist then maybe there is a tooth fairy after all.

  • Denis Watkins

    That woman was such a screeching harridan.  Not much of an advertisement for her faith. As usual a rational and intelligent atheist outnumbered and harangued by close minded christian bigots.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for the misogynist slur. Wouldn’t be a vid with a woman in it without one.

      • Fenrir

        If a woman calls a man a prick, is that sexist? Relax…

        • Anonymous

          Maybe we should just stop using gender-specific insults and instead just call assholes of either gender “assholes.”  ;-}

      • Peter Mahoney

        Ibis3: Just checking… do you publicly object each time the atheists blogs/videos chant the mantra of “Don’t be a dick” (when advising against being a jerk while antagonizing theists)? Do you find that phrase to be anti-male? If not, why not? If so, do you publicly object to it? If not, why not? Just curious. Peace. 

        • Drew M.

          I don’t know about the Offenderati in question, but a lot of people rationalize it with some bullshit about how privileged classes are immune from being the target of sexism/racism.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Astrokid-Nj/100000972850767 Astrokid Nj

        Ibis3, Thanks for policing the world. Dont you wish we soon invent a brain plugin to read people’s thoughts,and then you can police them to a greater extent? We will be one with the god freaks then.. punishing people for thought crimes. Thou shall not covet..

      • Anonymous

         So is it a “misogynist slur” every time a woman is criticized? What if
        the criticism is justified? Can I get away with calling the screeching
        harridan a screeching harridan because I’m a woman?

        BTW, I consider myself a feminist and I get royally pissed when the
        “misogynist” card is played unnecessary. Makes us look like a bunch of
        weaklings and whiners.

      • Drew M.

        This ain’t misogynistic, but thanks for crying wolf about it.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        Aah, language policing. How… Orwellian.

      • http://www.facebook.com/daen.de.leon Daen de Leon

        I’m sure there *are* calm-voiced female Christians out there, but FOX, for some reason, seems not to have their contact details.  The one they DID get hold of was a pretty much textbook example of what I imagine a screeching harridan to be like.  That’s to take nothing away from Stuart Varney being a pompous English git.  And I’m English.  I know one when I see one.

      • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

        If you were a dude, I’d probably tell you to nut up and shut up. 

        The woman was a screeching harpy and deserves to be called out as such.  Varney is a pompous British ass, does that mean I’m being an Anglophobe?  When someone is acting like an asshole, it’s not a smear on the whole gender to point it out. 

        Every time the misogyny card gets thrown out in a situation that doesn’t call for it, you make women look stupid.  So, thanks a buttload for that.  I do so enjoy having others of my gender act like idiots and make the rest of us look bad for owning a vagina.  You, my dear, are helping to take the rights of your fellow woman straight down the toilet.  Good job!  I hope you’re proud of yourself!

        Learn how to chill out and recognize TRUE misogyny and gender discrimination instead of all this “OMG HE SAID SOMETHING MEAN ABOUT A WOMAN (that was totally accurate and in no way aimed at me)!  NOW I MUST BEAT MY CHEST AND CRY TO THE SKY ABOUT WHAT A DIRTY, ROTTEN, MISOGYNIST PIG HE IS!” crap.

  • Katherine Sirgey

    My reply was to Michael Gibbs. Looks like he took his comment off. 

    • Michael Gibb

      I didn’t take it off. I did post it, and even managed to edit it. But it would seem to have vanished for no apparent reason.

      • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

        I’ve been having that problem, too. I’ve posted multiple comments, and they all seem to be vanishing.

        • Anonymous

          To all having this “vanishing post” problem: try changing your sort order from the default ‘Sort by popular now’ to ‘Sort by oldest first’.

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

            Hell, I just use that as the default setting, anymore.

          • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

            I always sort by “oldest first,” so I don’t think that’s what was causing the problem, at least on my end.

  • Alison

    I’m sorry, but I have to ask why this was even a topic at all. If you’re getting to the point where you’re discussing how different faiths/or lack thereof prepare for a natural disaster, you need to find something else to talk about. This is absolutely ridiculous. On one hand, I understand that if they’re going to bother doing segments like this, then at least the atheist perspective is being included, but honestly, I’d almost prefer that atheists not get involved in segments this truly pointless and ridiculous.

    • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

      But it is good theater which is what Fox wants.  People, even religious people, like to tune in for the drama.  Its good for ratings.  Fox will keep inviting Silverman back because he plays the part so well.  Fox loves him.  He is good for business.  Hemant included it for those of us who occasionally like a little theater as well and like to see an atheist hold their own in a Fox-styled “fair and balanced” discussion.

    • http://twitter.com/arensb arensb

      Yeah, one of the side effects of going from three national stations to umpteen TV and cable stations plus satellite, Internet, and all the rest, is that there’s more time to talk about news than the news actually calls for. So you get nonsense like “How’s Brad Pitt’s armpit hair doing today?” and “how do atheists prepare for hurricanes?”

      • http://ouchimoo.blogspot.com/ Ouchimoo

        Er seems to me that the news gets pushed out of the way in favor for “how’s Brad Pitt’s armpit hair doing . . .” Journalism seems to be a thing of the past because it’s all about selling commercial time

  • Denis Watkins

    Prayer is asking an omniscient god to change his mind.   Instead of prayer I suggest reading the “Encheiridion” (Manual) of Epictetus as the ultimate antidote to stress.  Epictetus, former Roman slave, Stoic philosopher and the man who was a huge influence on the great Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.  

    • David Marshall

      Epictetus was a passionate believer in God, whose soliquys are robust expressions of spiritual trust.  God created all things, “stationed” us in the world to observe his creation and serve him, and knows our thoughts.  (2.14.11)  Our duty is to sing hymns of praise and thanks as we plough and rest.  “What else can I, a lame old man, do but sing hymns to God . . . I will not desert this post . . . and I exhort you to join me in this same song.”

      Glad to hear Marcus Aurelius read this man. 

      • Denis Watkins

        David Marshall:   Sorry David, but I don’t agree with you.  You have misunderstood Epictetus.  Anyway, I suspect that you will not be convinced by me so let me refer you to  Professor A.A. Long a leading scholar on Epictetus and later ancient philosophy.   May I refer you to Professor Long’s book “Epictetus: a Stoic and Socratic Guide to Life.” (Oxford University Press.)

        Page 3.  Epictetus has also been misunderstood because his appeals to theology, which are ubiquitous, have been consciously or unconsciously, read in the light of Christianity.   In my opinion, Epictetus’ deepest ideas are remote from the main Christian message…………………….His ethical outlook includes stark appeals to self-interest, which ask persons to value their individual selves over everything else.”

        Page 146.   …….Epictetus, like other Stoics again, will sometimes use language that could suggest a god who is distinct from his creation.   But this is not to be taken literally.” 

        Page 146. “Physical nature, not a sacred text or revelation or inspired prophecy, is the Stoic’s guide to the divine.   The Stoics’ outlook on God is this-wordly in the sense that there is no supernatural domain for which we should be preparing ourselves in this life, no ‘end of days’ when lives will be judged.   The life we have now is what requires all of our attention; the only punishment for those who neglect the principles of Stoicism is to “stay just as they are” emotionally disturbed and disconnected.”

        This seems to me to be remote from Christian teaching or faith.

        • David Marshall

          Denis: I didn’t say Stoicism was identical with Christianity: it wasn’t, but Epictetus’ faith was a whole lot closer to Christian faith than it was to atheism.  One can’t read his teachings and miss the immense similarities. 

          Long may not want to “take seriously” when Stoics talk about God as distinct from creation.  But they do that all the time.  Much of what they say about God would be meaningless if we assumed a strict pantheism: read Cleanthe’s Hymn to Zeus, or go through Epictetus from start to finish.  He’s an enthusiastic, committed, passionate theist.   That may have been at odds with official Stoic doctrine, so much the worse for the official doctrine. 

          The same is mostly true of Balbus in Cicero’s On the Nature of the Gods. 

          As for “self-interest,” so does Christianity, but more than Stoicism.  Epictetus didn’t really explain why a lame old man should praise God, without a clear view of an afterlife: Paul did.

          Christians have always recognized an affinity with Stoicism and Platonic thought (Medieval and Renaissance literature is full of references), and so did many pagans: which is why they converted.   

  • Craig D

    If there’s one thing that’s become more evident to me with each passing year it’s that NOTHING FAILS LIKE PRAYER. Anyone who claims otherwise is living in pathological denial.

  • Doggy

    Christian: God exists!
    Atheist: God doesn’t exist!
    Christian: YOU ARE MOCKING HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT AS FACT!

    • Anthrosciguy

      More like

      Christian: “God exists.”

      Atheist: “God might not exist, and personally I don’t think God exists.”

      Christian: “Help! I’m being repressed!”

      • http://twitter.com/aynsavoy Anne Sauer

        To be fair, “God might not exist, and personally I don’t think God exists” is definitely not the line that Dave Silverman takes. He’s pretty candid about his views being the objective truth and says that people who do believe in a god are delusional. 

        • Anonymous

          People who believe in a god and talk to it and think it talks to them, and who think it’s responsible for everything they like and its antithesis is responsible for everything they don’t like *are* delusional. But it’s one thing to believe that and quite another to say it on national teevee without getting slammed in a set-up “discussion.”

  • http://beyonddimensions.wordpress.com/ Beyond Dimensions

    Her voice is simply grating in that video. Not something I wanted to hear this morning. O.o;

    • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

      This comment is as random as Pinkie Pie.

      I ♥ your avatar! :)

  • Achess

    You gotta love David Silverman. Always making the best out of every situation; even a Fox News situation…

  • http://reedbraden.com Reed Braden

    “We want a calm discussion” : “We want YOU to be calm while WE ritualistically slaughter you on TV.  We want a punching bag, not a pugilist, capisce?”

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

      Fox “News” in a nutshell, right there.

    • Anthonyjwmoss

      I understood everything apart from “capisce”.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        Capisce — “Got it”, or “understood”.

        • Judugrovee

          I think, he was referring to an old joke from The Simpsons, in Episode 3F07:

          Brodka: Hey, kid: one more thing. If you ever set foot in this store again, you’ll be spending Christmas in juvenile hall. Capisce? Well, do you understand?Bart: Everything except “capisce.”

  • Peter Mahoney

    AWESOME. I am a HUGE fan of David Silverman and American Atheists (AND of many other atheist groups!).

    It was SOOOO ironic when the host guy tries to argue that David is the one who does not have objective evidence for David’s assertion that there is no god. AS IF the host has “objective evidence” that there IS such a god.

    David did a FANTASTIC job in a hostile environment.

    • Anonymous

      No. No. He wasn’t the one making the assertion. The burden of proof is on them

      • Peter Mahoney

        Actually, in this video David DID make the assertion that their beliefs in god/prayer/etc were delusions (false).  He doesn’t merely say “Maybe the prayers might not work” or “maybe you don’t have a spirit life that exists outside of your body”. Instead, David is polished enough at media soundbites to to come out and blatantly state the facts, as he sees them (and I happen to see them as he does).  

        Meanwhile, I wholeheartedly, 100% agree with you that the “burden of proof” generally lies with those that assert the something DOES exist. Classic example: If I said that I have a real, live, pink unicorn on my head right now, the burden would be mine to prove such an extraordinary assertion (not your burden to falsify it, even if you blatantly questioned my sanity, which you should in that scenario).

        David never got to make the point that THEY have no basis for their god/prayer beliefs. But he didn’t need to, it was implied/understood from his assertion that they were delusional beliefs. 

        • GeeH

          Delusion (according to Google): An idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder

          Rational argument would have it that the truth value of “God exists” can be treated as false due to complete lack of evidence, so the term ‘delusion’ is perfectly fitting. It’s as much a delusion as belief in ponies with magical friendships.

  • http://godconfusion.com/ Xanthe Wyse

    what stupid reporters

  • Anonymous

    Put two groups in a house next to each other. Have one group pray and the other not pray. See which one does better

  • http://lovejoyfeminism.blogspot.com Libby Anne

    “While watching that, I had all kinds of nasty words running through my mind to describe the female panelist… but I won’t mention them here. Because that wouldn’t be very nice. And the feminists would slaughter me.”

    I’m sorry, why not not mention them because they’re (from context, I assume) sexist, rather than because you’re afraid some feminist will jump down your throat? Also, from context, it sounds like you’re saying you’re not a feminist. What?!? 

    • Theantibarbie27

      “Also, from context, it sounds like you’re saying you’re not a feminist. What?!?” Why would you be surprised that some people don’t wish to use the feminist label? I am a woman who believes in equality but I would never call myself a feminist… There are far too many wingnuts flying under that banner to make it even mildly appealing.

      • http://twitter.com/kariedgerton Kari Edgerton

        There are wingnuts flying under every banner. The only reason that people think that there are more feminist wingnuts than other groups is because the patriarchal media shows video of it and says “This is what all feminists are like!!!”

        Also, if you believe in equality between both sexes then you are a feminist. That’s the text book definition of feminist.

        • Theantibarbie27

          “There are wingnuts flying under every banner. The only reason that
          people think that there are more feminist wingnuts than other groups is
          because the patriarchal media shows video of it and says “This is what
          all feminists are like!!!” Bullcrap Kari. I have spoken with enough feminists to get a good idea of the misogynistic undertones as well as blatant misandry that runs amok under the guise of feminism. I want no part of it.

        • Greg

          Actually, although I can’t speak for anyone else, the only reason I think there are more feminist wingnuts than other groups is because I go on the internet, and actually come across them – including some that post on this very site. Of course, when I find feminists in real life, I find that the ratio of nuts to feminists decreases.

          Oh, I don’t have much to do with the ‘patriarchal media’. I virtually never watch television, never listen to radio, and – don’t read much in the way of newspapers.

          Also, I wonder if I made up a word called ‘masculinist’ and defined it as equality between both sexes… would you feel comfortable calling yourself it?

          I suspect not.

          Similarly, the very construction of the word ‘feminist’ prevents it ever being a neutral term.

          Personally, I just stay gender neutral and say I am pro-equality.

      • http://ouchimoo.blogspot.com/ Ouchimoo

        agreed

    • Anonymous

      Yeah. I thought the same thing. You know, Hemant, you can refrain from sexism because it’s the right thing to do. Instead you tell us how cowed you are by raging feminists, but if you weren’t you’d really let the woman have it. Nice.

      • Greg

        Actually, I’ll think you’ll find it was a humorous comment, making pre-emptive fun of people like you (in your response to Denis Watkins, below) who seem to have the opinion that if someone insults/criticise a woman, they are automatically being misogynistic, regardless of how much that woman deserves the insult/criticism.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mujica.alex Alejandro Mujica

    I think that prayer/heroin comment cost him, but he defended Atheists incredibly well. He had an answer to all the BS they were throwing at him.

    • Fredorama

      I agree that the the drug comparison may have cost him a little, but it is in fact spot on.  Your brain on drugs and your brain on religion is remarkably similar.  They can  both lead to delusion, hallucination, and incessant talking about useless things.
      Personally I would have said that Masturbation gives me comfort.
      Seriously though I really would have said the company of my friends and loved ones. 
      To that point : a person with a large support group is will most likely come out of a disaster better than those who dont. 

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        That’s why so many addicts end up being religious nutters — they’re not “cured”, they’ve just shifted the addiction from being focused on Drug X to being focused on religion.

  • Anonymous

    Who was mocking who again? I’m confused.

  • Michael Gibb

    If you’re suggesting that Dave Silverman went on this FOX News programme because he believed that the question presented to him deserved a response, then as far as I’m concerned, he is an idiot. As I have already pointed out the FOX News network is notorious for vilifying atheists, so when they offer an invitation to an atheist to discuss such an asinine subject as to what atheists do in a hurricane, the only intelligent response would be to decline the invitation.

    That is why I must question Silverman’s motive for going on the show, and why in that post of mine which has disappeared, I offered what I consider to be the only possible explanations for why he went on the show.

    By the way, Silverman did not come across sounding sane and rational, instead he sounded like an arrogant ass, but so did everyone else on the program. And since this is supposed to be a business channel, the whole discussion made the show look like stupid.

    • Fredorama

      Hold on, Fox is supposed to be a business channel?  Thats news to me.  
      Only if your business is religion or right wing politics. The only way to find an hour where they dont mention God or how democrats hate america is to ride a unicorn across a rainbow while looking for a pot of gold. 

      The whole purpose of having Dave on was to show that Atheists are stupid.  And Dave did well.   Will hard core fundagelicals agree with Dave?  No, but fence sitters might hear  the ” Can God stop the hurricane”, “no?” routine and have something click. Which is why he went on the show.  To take it where they live.  

    • Peter Mahoney

      I would guess that David Silverman’s rationale for going on the show is at least partly because it is free advertisement for one atheist viewpoint.

      Also, Fox viewers who rarely if ever here anyone blatantly question the validity of their religious delusions will get a couple minutes of hearing that. It shatters the taboo whereby believers/doubters/etc. normally feel that they can not publicly question the validity/sanity of religious beliefs. Thus, it can put a tiny crack in the wall of the religious delusions and isolated thinking. It is one step in breaking the spell that religions hold over people.

  • David Marshall

    The woman in red really is stupid.  Watching her spout off, one feels a tinge of jealousy: how hard can it be to get on a national show? 

    I went through hurricanes in one of the most religious Asian countries, and the least, and didn’t notice any difference in how people prepared for hurricanes.   This is a phony argument. 

  • Daniel

    David asked the woman if her god can stop the hurricane. She said god didn’t create it and god can’t stop it. David was right in saying then her god is not all powerful. But I would like to add… What exactly are they praying to god for then, if not to stop the hurricane?

    Are they praying that god keeps them safe during the hurricane? Wouldn’t this imply that god was at least using his power to keep objects from being effected, or god at least steering the hurricane? These all still sounds like powers that I can’t understand why they consider possible but actually stopping the hurricane isn’t possible.

    David should have also asked if the panelists supported preparing in the sense of stocking on food and keeping valuables out of the basement because of flooding etc, OR if the panelists supported only praying. Because if they put so much faith in prayer, shouldn’t that be the only thing they need to do?

    Lastly, I will take a guess and say the Fox panelists knew ahead of time to say “You’re mocking us!” to give the impression to viewers that the atheist was being cruel at every stage of the discussion, while at the same time being able to sneak in their own insults. But so long as they kept freaking out as much as a soccer (football) player does in a game, to cause a penalty against the other side, they hoped to make it seem like David was causing discussion penalties.

    • Anonymous

      That was a point I was disappointed he did not make,  if their god couldn’t stop the hurricane, what was the point of their prayers? 

      Considering the way they attacked him, I thought he did a good job. He seemed to be the only one that could keep calm and actually consider the points made.

  • AnyEdge

    You are absolutely correct of course, that God won’t help anyone after a hurricane.  However, it has been repeatedly demonstrated that faith and religiosity can sometimes help in recovery.  Not exclusively, of course.  The effect seems to be about as reliable as placebo, positive and measurable, but not indicative of greater than placebo response.  However, placebo should not be dismissed as non-effective.  Harnessing the placebo response for improved outcomes can be a valuable treatment regimen.  Especially if there is no effective ‘real’ treatment.  

    http://ajh.sagepub.com/content/26/4/264.short
    http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/14659890903580466

    • Cobwebs

      I think that if the only thing being religious did was provide a helpful placebo effect, none of us would be fighting against it quite so hard.  It’s all the *other* stuff that being religious does (such as blind one to rationality) that’s the problem.  If we can someday whittle religion down to “it makes you feel good and doesn’t bother anybody else,” I’d call that a win even if it can’t ever be eradicated entirely.

  • http://rrlane.blogspot.com rrlane

    I don’t think they could get anyone more shrill than that woman.  She came across like an SNL caricature of a local access TV commentator.

  • Kelvin

    You know, it is actually possible to insult a woman without incurring the wrath of feminists; just don’t be sexist about it! Instead of characterizing her as “shrill” or “bitchy” you could say she was “obnoxious” or “malicious.” See? It’s not so hard to avoid being slaughtered by feminists.

    • http://rrlane.blogspot.com rrlane

      Shrill:  High-pitched and piercing in tone or sound. (from thefreedictionary.com)

      Why would I call her obnoxious or malicious when I was referring to the pitch and volume of her voice?  There’s no gender attached to the word, so your complaint really is off base.

      • Kelvin

        I was not complaining about you, I would have replied to you if I was.  Honestly, I had not seen your post when I made my comment. I used “shrill” and “bitchy” as examples for Hemant, because they are words that are commonly used to discredit women. I think this nicely shows how the term “shrill” is used to silence women: http://mimiandeunice.com/2011/06/28/shrill-2/
        However, since you seem to want to get into this I must point out that by attacking her method of delivery (her “shrill” voice) you completely ignore the idiocy of her message. How does the “shrillness” of her voice have anything to do with the quality of her argument?

        • http://rrlane.blogspot.com rrlane

          Yeah, I see you weren’t replying to me now. Disqus sends me emails of everything in a discussion I reply to, and I got the email of you response immediately after I put mine in.  

          Still, since you ask, her volume and pitch are used to drown out the points Silverman is trying to make.  She’s using her shrillness the same way Bill O’Reilly does; if you are louder and ruder, you think your point makes more sense.

          • Kelvin

            I have no problem with her loudly yelling that god doesn’t answer prayer.

            • http://rrlane.blogspot.com rrlane

              And I don’t have a problem with you having no problem with it.  I do have a problem with the use of nondescript words being called sexist, however.

              • Kelvin

                I disagree that “shrill” is nondescript. Although the dictionary definition is not gendered, it is almost always applied to women and used in such a way as to discredit them for speaking, while ignoring what they are actually saying. It has been commonly applied to Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Sarah Palin in recent years by people who disagree with them. Considering the history of its use, I would most certainly say that this word does carry with it a sexist connotation, which is why I used it as an example.

                • http://rrlane.blogspot.com rrlane

                  If it is normally applied to women, it is due to the fact that in general, though not always, women have higher pitched voices than men, and part of the definition deals with pitch.  I heard Howard Dean referred to as shrill as well after he gave his unfortunate pep speech years ago.      Type “Bill O’Reilly Shrill” into Google and you’ll get  a good number of blog posts and stories in which HE is referred to as shrill.

                  So, no, while you may consider it a woman-only term, it is not.

                • Kelvin

                  I did not say that it is a women-only term. Just because an insult has been applied to men as well, does not mean that there isn’t a sexist connotation. I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt that you were completely unaware of the stereotype of the “shrill, nagging woman,” but I assure you that it does exsist and that the term “shrill” is often used to demean women by focusing on a physical attribute (their voice) and ignoring what they are saying. Of course, insults that are used against women can also be used against men, it is particularly insulting to associate a man with a negative female attribute, because things that are seen as feminine are seen as lesser in a sexist society, so using a feminine-coded insult against a man is like a double insult. I hope that now that you are aware of the stereotypes associated with the word you might re-evaluate your usage of it.

                • http://rrlane.blogspot.com rrlane

                  I’ve re-evaluated it and still find it perfectly acceptable to use for men and  women.

                • http://twitter.com/Lochcelious Thomas Watson

                  I understand what you are saying but Kevin surely you realize that the same “feminist”-ic qualities are not universal on Earth and could, for example, only pertain to women in America. In my opinion, I will never stop using my English language to the fullest extent that I allow myself to use it. I love the language and will use any word I would so desire choose based upon its initial definition, NOT what people may or may not interpret said words to be. And in today’s age, damn near ANYTHING can be taken out of context. I will freely use my language without biased opinions of the general public. You all have a mighty fine day now.

                • Kelvin

                  You know what? My initial post was referring to the part of the post where Hemant said, “While watching that, I had all kinds of nasty words running through my
                  mind to describe the female panelist… but I won’t mention them here.
                  Because that wouldn’t be very nice. And the feminists would slaughter
                  me.” I was just offering a helpful hint for insulting women without incurring the wrath of feminists and I got completely dog-piled and derailed. Considering that Hemant and rrlane both live in the US, I think it was fair of me to use US-based examples. My post was directed at people who give a shit about what feminists think, if that’s not you then don’t take the advice!

                • http://rrlane.blogspot.com rrlane

                  In the U.S., “shrill” isn’ta word thatfeminists concern themselvesabout.  The results on Google prove that.  The problem is youperceive an issue when it is clear none exists.

                  AndI think we’ve found the limits of the threading abilitiesof this blog.

                • Justin

                  This is the thinnest reply ever!

                • Shin Ji

                  Are you sure?

    • Peter Mahoney

      When I think of “shrill” as a slur in the theist/atheist debates, I usually assume someone is talking about Richard Dawkins, since that is the person in this arena that I most often heard it applied to (wrongfully so, in my opinion).

      Google search for: shrill “richard dawkins”
      and you will get over 84-thousand hits.

    • Kelvin

      Just to clarify, “shrill” is indeed an issue for many feminists:

      “The use of the description of a woman’s natural vocal range as a
      disparaging adjective is a textbook example of gender-coded language
      that has been around for a long time. Another common, derogatory term
      used is “shrill.” This type of language is demeaning, misogynistic, and
      reminiscent of the Victorian era.”
      http://www.thenewagenda.net/2009/06/16/sexist-blogger-margaret-carlson/

      “It’s a strange experience to be attacked in virulently misogynistic
      language by a woman. I’m used to ‘shrill’ and ‘rant’ and other
      gender-coded terms.… ”
      http://bitchmagazine.org/article/hard-times

      “Sexist Remark: Calling a woman politician loud, shrill, unattractive, or pushy.”
      http://www.stopsexistremarks.org/learning-to-effectively-respond-to-sexist-remarks-getting-started/

      …and if you wish to avoid being “slaughtered” by them, avoid using it. If you don’t give a shit what they think,  carry on.

      • http://rrlane.blogspot.com rrlane

        I would say to the people on those links the same thing I say here.  The word has no inherent sexual denotation or connotation, and it is used very frequently to describe men (thousands of times in just one reference, per Peter Mahoney).  The complaint falls flat because evidence of the word’s usage does not bear it out.

        • Kelvin

          You said,”In the U.S., “shrill” isn’t  a word that feminists concern themselves about.”
          I showed that it is.
          My point is not to convince you to agree with feminists, if you go back to my original post you will see that I merely offered some advice for those (such as Hemant) who avoid criticizing women for fear of being slaughtered by feminists. I suggested that such people avoid using sexism in their criticism and used “shrill” and “bitchy” as examples of words that feminists perceive as sexist and might criticize the use of. It really doesn’t matter if you think that feminists are completely wrong about their perception of this word or not. I tried to explain to you what they dislike about it, but you do not care, which leads me to believe that you are the kind of person who does not give a shit about avoiding “slaughter” by feminists, and therefore my post was not directed at you in the first place. So, why are you going on about it?

          • http://rrlane.blogspot.com rrlane

            I go on about it because I don’t appreciate language being hijacked by the thin skinned.  

            • Kelvin

              Well congrats rrlane! You succeeded in derailing me and completely obscuring my original point all while feeling superior and never once considering things from an alternate point of view. You win.

              • http://rrlane.blogspot.com rrlane

                You came on lecturing people on how OTHER people would take their words, and you have the audacity to claim others are acting superior? 

                • Kelvin

                  I made my suggestion in the context of replying to this only: “While watching that, I had all kinds of nasty words running through my
                  mind to describe the female panelist… but I won’t mention them here.
                  Because that wouldn’t be very nice. And the feminists would slaughter
                  me.” Not to apply to every person in every situation, just those that are somehow worried about bothering feminists. You are the one that took it personally and thought I was referring to you when I was referring to Hemant’s statement.

                • Rike

                  I haven’t quite made up my mind yet whether I find it interesting to watch two guys getting shriller by the minute….

        • http://www.facebook.com/marcoiris Marcos Andrés Williamson

          Actually rrlane, you’re wrong that “shrill” has no inherent sexual denotation or connotation, and you yourself admitted it earlier although it seems you didn’t realize it. You said that “in general, though not always, women have higher pitched voices than men”. Tell me, is there an equivalent word to refer to men who are considered annoying due to nothing more than their natural vocal range being very *low*? If there is, I don’t think I’ve heard it before. Words to describe low-voiced men are generally seen as positive – saying someone’s voice is booming, melodious, etc. On the contrary, extremely high voices, which are usually associated with women, are described as “screeching”, “shrill” and “shrieking”.

          I’m not hijacking anything because I’m not telling you how to talk, and Kelvin wasn’t either. We are telling you what some people think, and why we agree with them. If you want to go on using language the way that you do, that’s your first amendment right. Nobody’s hijacking anything, get over it please.

  • http://www.facebook.com/maik.both Maik Both

    David did well to get a large slab of the air-time, and to make the other people look foolish. I guess we atheists are supposed to always be polite and PC to help our ’cause’, but I *do* take a certain pleasure in seeing it being stuck to the religious folk sometimes, just for the pure bloody hell of it.

    • Donalbain

      He could have just answered the question. There was no reason to bring in the subject of prayer at all. It was not relevant.

  • Fredorama

    What I found most interesting is that the female panelist essentially admitted that praying doesnt do anything (like stop the storm), but it makes you feel better (comforts).  My mouth dropped when I heard that admission. 

    • H_aic

      That’s why Paulus wrote 1 Tim 2:11  (joke)

  • Marylynne7

    I couldn’t watch it.   I got as far as “You live in poverty.  If you think life is just about getting in candles. . . ”    I used to wish I had a chance to have conversations with people of faith outside of the internet.   I recently had Jehovah’s witnesses at the door : 

    “No, don’t want your magazine.   I am not a person of faith and I don’t think there are any higher powers, so I’m not interested.”

    “OK, OK.   Do you mind me asking, just for my own information, why you think that?” 

    So I did.   When he tried to quote from Bible I offered to go get War and Peace and quote that at him.   At each piece of evidence he presented, I would share the natural explanation.  
    He said, “The Bible says like comes from like, and we see that!  My kids look like me, yours look like you.  Dogs come from dogs.  That’s proof of the Bible.”

    I shared the science, then said “The Bible doesn’t explain why kids sometimes look different from their parents, or why they have physical disabilities when parents don’t.  Evolutionary theory explains all of that.”   

    After going  around and around for 40 minutes, he said, “That wasp nest – look how perfect it is, it’s amazing.  Where do you think that came from?”  
    “Evolution!  Selected through environmental pressures to function in the environment . . . ”
    “No, no.  Well, what about those ants?”   
       
    I went back in the house, my daughter’s tutor had overheard and asked about it.  We had a laugh about the Witnesses – then she started explaining why they were wrong, and Catholics and Jews have it wrong because their faith is based on doing things instead of just faith.  I think – I was so done by then.   

    “It’s interesting because you say you are an atheist, and I believe you, but there is such a spirituality about you.”  

    So – I’m glad people are out having these conversations, it is so necessary, but it was so frustrating and I felt like I got exposed to toxic levels of stupidity.    

    Thanks for the opportunity to share – This has been stewing a bit and I’m glad of the chance to tell it is to people who understand.   

    • Heidi

      I’ve always wondered what people even mean when they say you are “spiritual,” even though you’re not religious.

  • Anonymous

    Wonder if the panel will jump on the hate train after the hurricane when the uber-fundies come out to tell the world it was “God washing away the gay!”

  • Anonymous

    This brings up another reason why I look forward to the “Jesus who?” era: Prayer has always given me the creeps. I remember feeling that way about it as a child. It looks like behavior you’d see from people in a psychiatric facility. 

    And if praying to Jesus really does “work,” why hasn’t Jesus “returned” in answer to the prayers of all those millions of christians over the past 2,000 years? Christianity started out as a doomsday cult with a short time horizon; ironically its longevity provides evidence against its validity.  

    • Joshua Fisher

      I know what you mean. my family has communal dinners with my Mom and her foster kids. She is a Mormon and each meal has to be preceded by a prayer. Part of the standard format is the line, “Please bless this food, that it will nourish and strengthen our bodies.” It takes no small amount of self restraint to keep from pointing out that for 15 years food has been “nourishing and strengthening my body” without gods help. What a waste of time.

      As for the short time horizon providing evidence against validity, good luck with that. The bible says the return will be within the life of those talking to Jesus, and that hasn’t done much to curb everyone’s enthusiasm for Armageddon.

  • http://thingsfindothinks.com AndrewF

    Stop praying and go take care of yourself, your family, and your neighbors.

    False dichotomy (unless, of course, you have a strawman-like understanding of what prayer actually is..).

    • Volunteer

      >implying praying can take care of family

    • Anonymous

      Still a complete waste of time and a detraction from doing more

    • Drakk

      If you are praying, you are not, at that moment in time, taking care of anyone.

      Such a waste.

      • http://thingsfindothinks.com AndrewF

        Who says you can’t pray while doing stuff? (unless you’re assuming that prayer requires certain rituals / psotures / locations etc. ?)

      • Drew M.

        …said the guy sitting on his ass reading blogs.

    • Drew M.

      I am sure some people have spent an entire day praying instead of preparing, but the vast majority do not. I come from a very religious family, and while I now believe it was pointless, praying only took a few minutes – not long enough to “take care of anyone.”

      This isn’t really a zero-sum issue. As AndrewF states, you can do both.

  • Alan E.

    It should be noted that Roman Catholics officially have the weekend off from going to Mass because of the hurricane. They have been told that their prayer service is not as important as taking caution.

  • Ken McKnight

    Ed Brayton this morning posted a pertinent observation on this topic:  “The Futility of Prayer” (@Dispatches from the Culture Wars).

  • http://diaryofamessylady.wordpress.com/ Lauren

    Wow. Sometimes there’s no words for the stupidity and douchebaggery of Fox… Oh wait! Looks like I found words after all!

  • guest

    sorry, that was silly. why would you go on Fox News to “discuss” how atheists prepare for a hurricane. WTF? That’s so clearly a setup for some fine atheist bashing (David is trying hard but it was painful to watch)

  • Devysciple

    Okay, that finally does it! After more than two years in the Atheosphere, I finally give up. Why, you might ask… Well, there is the severe whiplash injury from furious daily shaking of the head at the inanity of the godbots. What is worse is the 400+ $ bill for pain medication that I had to take to shake of the effects of repeated face-palming and even double-face-palming. But when I was diagnosed with a severe concussion after seeing videos of the presidential canditates of the Republican Party, and then this piece of repulsive stupidity, I knew something had to change. Thus, I will only watch fluffy puppies henceforth!

  • KEH

    I LOVED the comparison between religion and heroin and the comfort they both bring.  That was awesome!!!

  • Patrik

    Those people are idiots. Silverman is incredible for putting up with them.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    I really don’t understand why David keeps allowing himself to be soiled this way.

    A few months from now, news will be slow…

    Varney: “Headaches. We all get them from time to time, but what do atheists do when they get a headache? Well, our guest tonight is David Silverman, president of American Atheists. So David, what do atheists do about heaches?

    David: “Well we take a Tylenol or aspirin, drink plenty of fluids, and rest. . . . . . But we don’t pray! Praying doesn’t help head…”

    Varney: “But that’s mockery! How can you just sit there so smugly mocking they way millions of decent, moral, law abiding, patriotic, God-fearing Americans respond to their headaches?! You can’t just say that, it’s just your opinion! Not a fact! Blah blah blah blah, rant rant rant rant, pontificate pontificate pontificate pontificate, straw man straw man straw man straw man, pious indignity, pious indignity, pious indignity pious indignity, posturing of moral superiority posturing of moral superiority posturing of moral superiority posturing of moral superiority, . . . . . . .”

    David: (thinking to himself behind his now-famous open-mouthed WTF expression of incredulity.) “Why do I keep falling for this? Hmm. Maybe I should really re-think this whole helping-Fox-News-promote-its-own-righteousness thing.”

    • Parse

      There’s a number of reasons why I’d think David does it.
      1) If he didn’t, they’d find somebody else who would.  I’d much prefer the sucker Fox brings on to at least be capable of responding coherently to their points.  If not David Silverman, then they’d find somebody of their own making.
      2) It’s possible, now more than ever, to have your world’s inputs be filtered by source.  I freely admit that I don’t watch Fox News, because they play fast and loose with objective truth.  If you are a conservative Christian, you can do all your socializing through church activities, your casual information gathering through Conservapedia, your news through Fox, your children’s education through homeschooling with Christian materials, etc.  It’s possible to effectively seal off everything else but the worldview that you want; what David is doing is forcing his way into that, trying to burst that bubble (blocking out that atheists exist).
      3) Taking the confrontational approach can get some people on the road to questioning their beliefs, at least according to PZ Myers.  If nothing else, being the ‘brash, confrontational’ atheist who doesn’t back down helps shift the Overton window on atheism.  The ‘extreme vocal’ atheist takes gruff, making just the ‘vocal’ atheists more acceptable.
      4) It gets American Atheist’s name out there.  Like the articles about “ZOMG An atheist billboard eleventy-one!”, this helps drive publicity and awareness to his organization.

  • Anonymous

    “When one panelist said Roman Catholics can prepare for a disaster just
    like atheists can, she cited how they would get candles, water, and pray
    to god — though only two of those three things might actually improve
    her situation.”

    Actually, only one of those things might be helpful — and it sure ain’t the candles or the prayers. Only an idiot (and a suicidal one, at that) would use candles during a hurricane. Sheesh!

    • Westley

      Who would use water during a hurricane, for that matter?

      The candles and water are useful AFTER the hurricane, when electricity and running water may not work.

    • Drew M.

      You’re joking, right?

      • Anonymous

        Having worked as an EMT who has seen far too many fires caused by unattended candles, NO I’m not joking.

        • Shouldbeworkin’

          “Having worked as an EMT who has seen far too many fires caused by unattended candles, NO I’m not joking.”

          I don’t think that’s the fault of the candles…

  • Anonymous

    Brilliant. I think Silverman did a good job and the hosts did us all a big favor. He was clearly the only sensible, confident person in the room, and kept it up while they all turned into screaming, feces-throwing chimps. 

    And yeah, this can’t really be said enough – Flashlights! Not Candles! Open flame is not a good idea when there’s a lot of stuff shaking and flying around! 

  • treedweller

    It was a good effort to get an edge in wordwise, considering the four-pronged attack he was under. But, next time, if any of us happens to be in a similar situation, I hope we will say, “We are not just buying candles. We are talking to our family and our friends and our neighbors to see how we can all help each other, same as you, perhaps by getting extra candles and taking them to someone who can’t get to a store. We just don’t spend any of our time talking to unseen, unresponding entities that cannot be proven to exist.” Or something like that. The implication that preparing for a disaster without also praying is somehow sad or nihilistic is the most galling part to me. We connect with people, not gods.

    And, again acknowledging the difficulty of his position, I thought he should have let go of (never mentioned?) the part where they are delusional. It just gives them an excuse to change the subject and argue a moot point. My focus (if I were calm and rational enough to make it in that crucible) would have been on the fact that god is irrelevant to disaster preparation and should never even come up in the conversation.

  • http://daniel.bottle-imp.com Daniel

    I’m kind of late to this conversation, and I can’t read through all the comments. What ones I do see are generally defending Silverman. I just… I don’t like the way he handles these interviews. And I cannot in good faith blame Fox here. And I hate Fox. A lot. But, Silverman is not good at choosing vocabulary, and he comes off as antagonistic. I realize there is this defense that, well, atheism is inherently offensive to people of faith, and I agree that this mentality exists and that it is highly faulty, but that is not what is going on here. He calls them delusional with little provocation.  His “can God stop the hurricane” argument is immaterial to the topic at hand. Its a great argument for discussions on morality of belief, but its out of context here. The point of the segment was about “What do atheists do in a crisis?” and he started to answer, and allowed himself to get pulled away into a petty “god doesn’t exist” type of argument that never had a future. Some of this is Fox being Fox, but most of it was not. 

    I’m starting to wish someone a bit more eloquent were representing atheists on Fox. I think they like this guy because they’re good at making him look bad and he takes the bait. I admire what he does for “the cause”, and he’s really good at articulating his arguments objectively. I just don’t think being argumentative, concise and objective is what is needed, you need someone diplomatic, persuasive and eloquent. You beat Fox by not stooping to their level. He tries, I really get that he does, but I think he causes more damage than he helps.

    • GeeH

      Silverman is straight-up, honest, and hard-hitting, which is exactly what FNC pretends to be about. If you’re watching FNC with a receptive mind, you’re already probably the sort who is swayed by loud, possibly antagonistic arguments. I think he’s not stooping so much as tailoring his presentation to the audience at hand.

      And I do think there’s something to be said for the straight-forward approach. Trying overly hard to be diplomatic (especially when the “other side” isn’t) looks cowardly, and in a format like this it compares negatively with the other speakers. He’s not throwing out insults, he’s not arguing with ad-homs, he’s simply speaking the truth in a simple manner and starting to do a very very good job of sounding like the voice of reason amongst nutjobs. Hopefully if anyone watching was in the questioning state, they’re leaning further towards rationality now.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

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    Imagine how differently this interview would have gone if
    David had not fed them any of the lines about prayer or god, etc. that
    they were eagerly waiting to instantly pounce upon. Imagine instead that he
    only answered their questions:

     

    Varney: “So David, what do atheists do when facing a
    hurricane?”

     

    David:  “We
    prepare. We get food, water, batteries, everything

    we’ll need, and we help our families, friends and neighbors
    to prepare as best we can.”

     

    (awkward silence)

     

    Varney: “. . . . Uh, so you don’t prepare in some
    spiritual way?”

     

    David: (blandly) “No.”

     

    (awkward silence)

     

    Varney:  “.
    . . . Well, . . . that seems impoverished to me. I think you live an
    impoverished life. ” 

     

    David: (blandly) “Oh.”

     

    (awkward silence)

     

    Varney: (beginning to sweat, realizing this interview is
    bombing)

    “Well… harrumph,  how, how do you feel about my saying that??”

     

    David:  “I
    feel fine. Are you feeling alright?” (ignoring any response, David turns to the camera) Everybody! Get prepared! Have
    food, water, batteries, everything you’ll need, and help your family,
    friends and neighbors to prepare as best you can!” (then he
    turns back to Varney with a bland,
    expectant smile)

     

    (awkward silence)

     

    Varney: “. . . . Uh, okay, well… (glancing off camera
    for help from

    his producer) I guess that uh, is all the time we have for
    this.  We’ll be back after these messages.”

     

    (extra long string of commercials followed by another news
    item) 

     

    David would have come across 100% sensible and caring,
    Varney would have come across 100% lame stuffed shirt, and Fox News would have
    come across 100% boring.

     

    • Greg

      And, unfortunately, Dave would never have been invited back again, and they’d have invited someone in (or made one up) who would get really confrontational.

      I think (although I’m an outsider looking in not being American) that you need someone who’s willing to play the FOX News game – you just have to make sure you play it well. 

    • Anonymous

      Sure.  And then people would not know what supernaturalists and naturalists disagree about.  We don’t agree about the existence of supernatural souls or deities and it’s pointless to try to paper over that disagreement.  We’re still in a situation in this society where a simply statement of naturalism is enough to cause people to accuse us of mockery and impoverishment.  That has to change.  I’d rather that people keep stating what naturalism is about rather than coming across as “100% sensible and caring”.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=719095026 Zach Johnson

    The first time I saw Dave Silverman I was distinctly uneasy about this guy being like the de facto spokesperson for atheism, but I am SO glad we have him.  I love that guy.  He takes a hard and unapologetic line against theism, and he’s very firm and unyielding in the face of rank nonsense.  I’m not surprised he said “we prepare!” when asked that initial question – he is a consummate preparer; every time I’ve seen him he has ready answers for absolutely everything.

    I also love how this little five minute segment was like a full debate on the efficacy of prayer in microcosm.

    “Prayer doesn’t work.”
    “Yes it does!”
    “Could god stop the hurricane?”
    “No.”
    “Then he’s not all powerful.”
    “But prayer makes people feel better!”
    “So does heroin.”
    The end.

  • Ssmeier1

    FOX: somehow finding a  way to link Hurricane Irene with Atheists. Ah’ America.

  • Ssmeier1

    FOX: somehow finding a  way to link Hurricane Irene with Atheists. Ah’ America.

  • http://twitter.com/eccles64 Robert Tobin

    Holy Shit Yet  another example of Christian mocking of anyone who is not of their ridiculous beliefs.  It is shows how the God Virus is affecting the United CHRISTIAN States of America. The way it is going America will soon be a nation of brain dead bible thumping idiots and the Country will become a poor Third World Nation

  • Donalbain

    I couldn’t watch all of  that. Every single person on that screen was a moron. The question was asked “How do atheists  prepare for a hurricane?”.. the answer should have been very simple: Board up windows, get candles, have some tinned food, leave areas that are low lying etc etc..
    Not only is that a factual description of how atheists actually do prepare for hurricanes, it would show the fact that atheists are just like their neighbours. That is the issue for American atheists, they are perceived of as being different. A calm, sensible presentation of that fact would do far more good than the screeching and accusations that always come when you play the game that Fox obviously wanted him to play. Once he said ANYTHING about prayer, it was only ever going to go one way, and frankly, the atheist was a moron if he did not know that. And this wasn’t a sneaky gotcha question either, it was the title of the segment. He KNEW he was going to be asked about hurricanes, and instead he turned it into a piece about the existence and nature of god. Idiot.

    • Drew M.

      “Every single person on that screen was a moron.”

      That’s how I feel about blog comments. I couldn’t read past that statement.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        Nobody is forcing you to read the comments, man. Seriously, you no like, you go elsewhere.

        • Drew M.

          That whooshing sound over your head wasn’t a low flying airplane.

  • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

    It’s now secret that Fox news programs are crafted with a conservative viewing audience in mind. David Silverman gave Fox exactly what they wanted: an atheist whose buttons are easily pushed and will become angry and argumentative at the drop of a hat. Sure, most of the people on this thread are thinking, “Yeah! He told those idiots off!” However, I suspect that the average Fox viewer is probably thinking, “This atheist is saying hateful, disrespectful things to religious people who show care for their family members and community by praying for them during times of need. This guy is kind of an asshole.”

    Silverman made such a big deal out of praying taking away from more useful efforts which might be aimed toward preparing for inclement weather. I’m betting that more than a few viewers were thinking, “Wait. It takes at most a couple of minutes for me to pray for those I care about. How does that keep me from preparing for bad weather?” When you add to that the act of calling the bulk of Fox’s viewer delusional, Silverman’s words made him look small-hearted, mean-spirited, and ridiculous.

    This is why Fox keeps on inviting Silverman back.  He makes atheists look like petty, hateful people and this is good theater for entertaining their viewers. Yes, I know. You think that calling religious people “delusional” is simply telling it like it is. You think that prayer is stupid and counter productive. I’m quite doubtful that’s how it’s viewed by the average person in the US,where Fox news programs air. I’m certain that’s not how its viewed by the average viewer of Fox news. Watching him tell off a bunch of religious people on a news program might feel great. However, what has been accomplished beyond making you feel good?

    The people at Fox look for people like Silverman because voices like Silverman’s suit their objectives. Now, what might those objectives be? Keep in mind that media outlets such as Fox are very good
    at stoking the fears of  conservative people. Folks like David
    Silverman confirm those fears. Programing that stokes fear and controversy continues to generates viewers and viewership generates revenue. Thus, people like Silverman are inadvertently helping Fox continue their business model. Ironically, this business model also meshes quite nicely with the conservative political machine that holds a huge amount of power in the US. The same people whose fears are being stoked by Fox news programming are also part of the conservative political juggernaut that has been creating havoc for decades now.

    But, nevertheless, we sure showed them. Religious people are so stupid.

    While watching that, I had all kinds of nasty words running through my
    mind to describe the female panelist… but I won’t mention them here.
    Because that wouldn’t be very nice. And the feminists would slaughter
    me.

    So, now you’re baiting feminists, Hemant? Huh.

  • Michael Appleman

    My facebook news feed was full of status updates like: “An earthquake and now Irene? is it the end?!” To which I replied: “No. No it isn’t.”

  • Michael Appleman

    My facebook news feed was full of status updates like: “An earthquake and now Irene? is it the end?!” To which I replied: “No. No it isn’t.”

  • Godless in SF

    Just found this site, and I really like it.

    I don’t think this interview with David was good for the cause of Atheism.  He was definitely trying to get a reaction, and it worked.  “Invisible man in the sky” may be an accurate description of God, but it doesn’t help when it is thrown at Christians right out of the gate.  I think David looked bad in this clip and did a disservice to Atheism.  If he’d stuck to his story and let the other panelists look like idiots, that would have been better.  In the end, from my perspective, David looked just as bad as the rest of them.  That means that for the typical Fox viewer, he looked like the Anit-Christ.

  • sb

    “I had all kinds of nasty words running through my mind to describe the
    female panelist… but I won’t mention them here. Because that wouldn’t
    be very nice. And the feminists would slaughter me. ”

    Hermant, Please don’t say things like this and then, in other posts, talk about how the atheist community needs to be more inclusive to women and recognize the sexism within it. You are being dishonest and hypocritical.

  • Erick

    This is where religion DOES hurt.  The Toronto Start quoted a Barista (why?) comforting a client by saying “There’s nothing you can do, it’s all in Gods hands.  There’s nothing you can do.”

    Anybody who believes that and leaves it in god’s hands fails to help themselves.  Anybody who does board the church windows and get candles doesn’t really believe prayer will help them, so what’s the point? 

  • Fargofan1

    The woman is practically yelling at him. I think she and the host come across like they’re the ones attacking him. I like that he stays calm and doesn’t raise his voice.
     

  • Aubrey

    Oh. My. Dear. God. !!!! The expressions on his face were the best part. :) He was like, WTF????? Yeah, they just invited him to harass and verbally beat up on him….

  • BrentSTL

    For someone asking if Fox is a business channel – yes, they have a separate channel called Fox Business Channel. Stuart Varney’s been a business reporter for a long time, going back to CNN’s earliest days in the 1980s.

    I’ve always thought he was a stuffed shirt even then. IMHO, he fits right in with all those at The Ministry of Truth at FoxSpin.

  • Pete Spear

    Who was the woman on the show?  She was an embarrassment

  • JSug

    *Sigh*. I never understand why people like David Silverman so much. Every time I see him on one of these talk shows he just comes off as a tremendous jerk. His opening remark was carefully structured to start and argument. This whole thing could have gone much simpler:

    HOST: What do atheists do to prepare for a hurricane.

    DAVE: The same as any reasonable person. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Heed the advice of the disaster preparedness authorities.

    HOST: How would you respond to those who say you should also be praying?

    DAVE: I would say that you’re wasting time that could be better spent on further preparation, but that’s your choice. But let me turn the question around: if you have time to either prepare your house or pray, but not both, which are you going to do?


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