What’s It Like Behind the Scenes at FOX News? Dave Silverman Explains

Are there any atheists working at FOX News?

Is Bill O’Reilly really that clueless or is it all an act?

Why didn’t American Atheists’ Dave Silverman tell O’Reilly how the tides actually work?

All those questions are answered in this interview between Dave and David Pakman:

(Thanks to Mike for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Elliott776

    Well said Dave. I see how Bill like you said. I’m aware of conversation controllers and techniques to control conversation. Good play and composure while on that show Dave. Kudo’s to you.

  • http://twitter.com/TortugaSkeptic A secret red slider

    So it begs the question, why go on Fox and continue to legitimize them?

    • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

      It’s about legitimizing us, not them. Don’t mean to be so harsh but we need be legitimized. We need to be in the media to do that to a wider audience. Being on Fox extends that reach to people who are unlikely to notice or care about any of our other efforts to be legitimized.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve long suspected that the people at FoxNews, like religious leaders, are either atheists or only nominal theists. I just think it’s highly unlikely that anyone smart enough to make money and reach a position of power will truly believe the shit they spew.

  • Tom

    red slider: because going on his show legitimizes American Atheists in return.  Give and take, baby

    David Pacman is not an atheist, as Silverman says.  Silverman wants people like Pacman to think they’re atheist so they can further empower “the message.”  God belief is an ancient, archaic thing to educated religious moderates.  They definately don’t believe in the Old Man in the Sky.  Like Pacman says, he’s more attached to the idea of a nurturing force that lives in some other tier of existance he has no access to but affects our world.  Is that called a god, a diety?  He says a higher power.

    This issue is why I think atheism is a pretty lame thing to give as much attention to as some people do.  Wouldn’t it be clearer to ask Pacman if he is a naturalist, a believer in measurable forces and things in this world rather than a supernaturalist who holds out for some ghost or intelligence to whisk us away from our inevitable deaths?

    • Rich Wilson

      I started out disagreeing with you, but now I think I do agree with you.  That is, I know what I think, but I’m re-reading your comment and it’s sounding more like what I think.

      I think the Davids missed the pertinent point.  They discussed whether or not it was ‘a diety’ but skipped over the “it’s possible”.  If Pacman thinks “it’s possible but extremely unlikely” then he’s no different than any other soft atheist, e.g. Dawkins.  If he thinks “it’s not only possible, but I think there’s probably something out there” then I’d take him as agnostic.

    • Greg

      I think the thing is that David Pacman actually went out of his way to say it wasn’t necessarily a god. That pretty much means he can’t believe in one. And so he’d have to be an atheist as a result.

      I mean, it is perfectly consistent to say that you are an atheist, and you believe that human life was seeded by an advanced civilisation. (And that’s pretty much how he described it.)

  • Edmond

    So, is there a Ms. Pakman?

  • Rich Wilson

    Now matter what David’s intent was in letting the ‘Tides’ comment go, it was a huge win for him, and stumble by O’Reilly.  That meme has slipped the surely bonds of the atheist-echo-chamber and touched the face of the Internets at large.

  • http://evolutionguide.blogspot.com/ William

    I wonder what will happen to fox news if someone in a very high position of power came out as an atheist.

  • BenFromCA

    AOL??  Are they still around?

  • http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Joshua Zelinsky

    This segment was overall good. It does make the clear point about how much of O’Riley’s persona on camera is completely made up. This makes me dislike him more, not less. He’s not stupid. He just acts that way and knowingly spreads ignorance and stupidity. That’s not cool.

    This segment did lose me towards the end (around 7 minutes in) when David starts talking about what he means by atheist. Arguing over definitions is generally not a good thing. Words have different meanings. Unless you are some sort of platonist, there’s no reason to think that there’s a correct definition of “atheist”. It is more useful to when there’s a disagreement over definitions to simply use different labels for each definition. So one can say that someone is atheist_1 but not atheist_2, or better in this context one can say explicitly that Pakman is not an atheist_Pakman but is an atheist_Silverman. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

    I like the labels. Labels can be ambiguous and cover a broad group, so I don’t think of them as tight fit boxes that you’re either in or out of. Labels can mesh together and you can have varying degrees of multiple labels.

    I think Silverman is right in pointing out that if you don’t hold a belief in a higher power, then you are an atheist. Thinking something of a higher power is possible but not particularly holding a belief in it or holding a belief in it to some degree can still label you as an atheist. But it can affix other labels such as agnostic and deistic along with the atheist label.

  • mat

    Silvermans assertion that our default position as humans is atheist requires further examination. I suspect that this typical lack of philosophical rigour is hiding a social and political motive, a highly subjective interpretation and not the ideological concensus reality of ordinary people. What Silverman neglects to inform us is the tacit “buying into” attitude of the Silverman Atheism. Your nominal atheist will have just as much a sense of belonging to a larger community of like minded people than followers of other ideologies. The rancour has its roots ih the rhetorical jostling of shoulders with the religious communities and cults he rightly in my view wants to deride. his rather absolutist and strictly coded definition of an atheist is contradictory, ambivalent and hypocritical. At one point he brow beats the host (and fails) to convince that if you don’t (think/feel/recognise) some god then you fall into his universal set of silvery atheists. the trouble Silverman has is when people like myself that willingly accept membership of the former set of “non-believers” resolutely defend our rights not to be coerced into membership of what is growing into an aggressive atheist cult. I hope this is this OK.


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