The Rational Response Squad Reboots

A few years ago, the Rational Response Squad was getting a *lot* of press, stemming from their “Blasphemy Challenge” project on YouTube and their debate against Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort on Nightline. (That debate was the first time we all saw the infamous Crocoduck. As we now know, that image disproved all of evolution…)

Years went by, the original group members went their own ways, and the website essentially went defunct (though it’s starting to pick back up).

Now, founder Brian Sapient is trying to restart the group. Part of that plan involves a new website called Atheism United:

The project aims to unite all atheists under one banner for the first time in internet history.

Well, it’s not like atheists will unite under one banner — on our own — for anything else, so I won’t try to stop them. But, um, good luck with that. With the proliferation of atheism on the Internet and in the media, I don’t know how anyone can honestly capture us all under one umbrella of anything. We’re too diverse and there’s way too many of us to assemble any sort of comprehensive list — it’d be virtually impossible to list every non-theistic group in the country, much less websites, blogs, Twitter users, etc.

Still, the “Longest List of Atheist URLs Ever” is an interesting (editable) document. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone continues to update the list as information changes for longer than a couple months. It has a *long* way to go but you can try to update parts of it yourself if you’re up for it.

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.

  • Josh Charles

    It doesn’t look like they’ve learned anything from the first time around.  I think I’ll sit out this time. 

    • Kevin_Of_Bangor

      Care to elaborate because I was not around for the first time.

      • Anonymous

        RRS was a giant drama magnet in its day. In a lot of the interpersonal mini-scandals surrounding RRS, you can’t really come to any conclusion about those involved except everyone got covered in shit.

        • http://www.facebook.com/brian.sapient Brian Sapient

          asonge, there are lots of lies about me out there.  I’ve seen people who know better tell them about me, so thank you for  accurately describing how a rational person should perceive it without all the details.

          • Kevin_Of_Bangor

            So Brian can you explain to me in a new comment why I should be excited about your movement?

            As in please start a new post instead of responding to this directly.

            BTW, I hate the logo you have choosen. It has a very cult like feel to it.

            • TiltedHorizon

              Have to agree on the logo, seems reminiscent of masonic/illuminati symbols and the pyramid on the dollar bill.

              • http://www.facebook.com/brian.sapient Brian Sapient

                I agree about the logo, it’s problem is that it needs its story.  Best way to get the logo changed is design a good substitute.  The logo was made by Lance and Josh Brown of weareatheism.com.  I think he and Lance took a lot of time with it’s concepts and were hoping to keep the logo.  

                “The inner and outer triangles are the tops of the red
                atheist “A,” the inner circle is meant to represent the bond of our unity and
                signify the safety and the strength that unity creates. The outer triangle
                represents the larger unity we can create if we are united as atheists.” – Lance
                Sievert
                 
                The concept is great, sadly it needs the explanation.  
                Please feel free to submit logo ideas.

          • Greydon Square

            *Flips table over*

    • http://twitter.com/atheismunited atheismunited

      Yes please elaborate how you can tell that RRS is comprised of people who learn nothing from life and are exactly as they were 5 years ago.  

  • Anonymous

    I love Kirk’s douche bag expression in that pic BTW.  Looks like the bad poker face meme.  What a tool.

  • TiltedHorizon

    The last time I came across such “proof” Kirk was holding a banana, claiming it’s design, (i.e. easy to hold, long, curved such as to be easily placed in the mouth) was was proof of god’s existence by it’s ‘intelligent’ design.  It only took half a second to mentally counter the claim, a certain male reproductive organ also shares a similar ‘banana’ design, which must mean god endorses same sex activity. I wonder is anyone ever pointed that out to Mr Cameron.   

  • Anonymous

    I’ll admit I was something of a fan of the Rational Response Squad when I first got into online atheism. However their penchant for drama, grandstanding and hyperbole drove me away. I much prefer the more measured conversations and friendly attitudes around here.

    A cursory review of the blog would appear to show their attitude has changed little, if at all. I hope they enjoy themselves with their scheme of “Uniting atheism” (seriously? Catholics have a POPE and even they aren’t “all united”). Have fun guys, be sure to send out a blast email when you’ve taken over the world and all. I’ll be around here.

  • Tom

    I was unfortunate enough to get involved with Brian “Sapient”‘s schemes a while ago when Dawkins was doing his “God Delusion” tour in the states and the Blasphemy Challenge was getting rolling.  I have a good sense of how Brian works, and it’s my guess that he is looking for a little extra cash with starting this new website.

     Just take a look at rationalresponders.com and see how many ways you can send money his way. One of his greatest heroes is shock jock Howard Stern, and Brian strove to surround his life with listeners, followers, and boobs.

    The Blasphemy Challenge, arguably Brian’s greatest idea, wasn’t his idea as he hopes you’ll assume.  His then-friend director Brian Flemming came up with it, made the now famous YouTube video, and asked “Sapient” to help with a grassroots campaign to bring awareness to the challenge and sell Flemming’s documentary.

    I don’t like Brian “Sapient” for many personal reasons, as I’ve had the opportunity to interact with him on a personal level too many times.  His sensationalist and cocky “aim” to gather atheists under one banner is probably a scheme for more income, and surely a stroking of his own ego.  And a veiled invitation for you to do so as well.

  • Ray Higgins

    I would like to add a pretty good resource although it’s weird. Creation Wiki has a rather long list of atheists on youtube http://creationwiki.org/List_of_Atheistic_YouTube_Channels#External_Links
    My  BigAtheist channel is on it. I’ve used it a few time just looking for new youtube atheist. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/brian.sapient Brian Sapient

      Good call, it’s been re-posted with copyright stuff out of the way: http://www.atheismunited.com/wiki/Atheist_youtube_channels

  • Alfonso Flores V

    The Triangle/Circle is a tremendously awful choice as it is a well known symbol for Alcoholics Anonymous. Possibly worse is that same symbol was used in magic. Super corny.

  • http://twitter.com/DangerousTalk Staks Rosch

    If you knew Brian Sapient the way I do, you wouldn’t be skeptical of this project. If Brian says he is going to do something, I would bet on him to do it. He is incredibly focused and a strong organizer.  

    • Tim

      I’d bet against anyone trying to herd atheists to do anything under one banner.  

  • Dan

    I am one atheist who absolutely will not be “uniting” under the Rational Response Squad. I watched the debate between the RSS and Kurt Cameron and his handler and was really embarrassed at how the RSS handled it. I found their arguments simpleminded and their behavior petty. I think most high school atheists could have represented us much better. I also think Brian Sapient acted like a huge drama-king in the many RSS dust-ups, especially the Greyden Square incident.

    All in all my perception of the RSS was that they operated more as a cult where no deviation from the leader’s vision was tolerated. I often use the RSS as an example of how atheism isn’t enough to keep people rational, you also need to be open to skeptical inquiry, if not even atheist groups can turn cultish.

    • Dan

      Oh yeah, I called them the RSS instead of RRS because I saw someone call them the Rational Spat Squad, since they seem more interested in getting into spats with other rationalists than confronting irrationality. I forgot to put that in my post.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

    I just discovered Thinkatheist.com. It’s a great site,

    but I’ll never leave you guys (even if you ask me to).

  • A Portlander

    Brian, good luck and all that, but start fresh.  Fold and bury the RRS identity as soon as your new endeavor gets traction. It’s an albatross and an invitation to a hailstorm of ad hominems;  I don’t even have to finish typing “response” before Google Instant suggests “rational response squad Kelly prostitute”.

    • http://www.facebook.com/brian.sapient Brian Sapient

      Portlander, the RRS identity is going to be far away from this project.  Even my name over there is “Brian.”  I agree that any project under the name RRS is not able to get universal support.  It’s a shame Hemant phrased it that way as I came on after atheism united already had 1,000 facebook members.  

      Hopefully after enough time passes people will let me be the person I am today rather than a person I was at some point in the past.  We all grow, surely I can’t be expected to be the same person I was in the past.  Surely people would think I could learn from mistakes?  Surely they would wait to see if I can?  I guess nowadays the disdain comes with the e-stage.  There are people that don’t like Hemant… I’m not one of them, just pointing out you don’t have to be an ahole to have e-haters.

      Hopefully people will realize that I individually have different views than the combined group did.   And of course I know what it was like living with that crew, and how we as a group would tend towards the type of thing that pissed people off.  I hope I can be more patient, calm, respectful, and keep out of anything drama filled… (Rook and Kelly almost always got too much adrenaline flowing in me). 

      Outside of the dynamic of RRS housemates, I am quite different.   I’ve realized quite a bit about my role in making people believe things about me that aren’t true.   I used to put the blame on others for not taking more effort to get to know who I really am.  I thought they were making errors in thought by arriving at a judgement without all the data.  Now I’m realizing that I should not put that responsibility on others.  It’s up to me to put out how I want to be perceived, but to do it more often…. or every time.

      I’m trying… we’re all works in progress.

  • Bo Tait

    all Atheits under one banner? Never gonna happen. I will avoid this group and I hope I’m not the only one. One banner, one leader one voice….sounds incredibly revolting.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    The project aims to unite all atheists under one banner for the first time in internet history.

    I don’t understand this use of the terms “unite” and “banner.”  Does “banner” mean the proposed atheist url list? That is not uniting them any more than a phone book listing the eight million residents of New York City would unite them. If “banner” in this context means some kind of unifying, central, essential ideology, or precepts, or commitment, then as others have said here, that will be a tall order, and perhaps not necessarily a desirable one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=728100712 Clint Ballard

    Atheism United is going to be much more than just a simple list of sites that may or may not be kept up and maintained.  The goals are much larger than just that.  It’s about giving people who are curious about Atheism a place to learn.  It’s about doing our part to see through the goals that all Atheists should have, the main one ultimately being a world without religion.  It’s about pushing our agendas on the local, state, and national level.  But most importantly it’s about putting forth a serious effort to bring people together in a collective network of other Atheist sites, shows, casts, blogs, etc.  We, as Atheists in general, have the most brilliant minds in the world on our side, but we can’t stop bickering long enough to do ourselves any good.

    Let’s face it, if our cause is to gain ground or momentum, we have to be much more collective in our efforts.  Religion is very united against us, and if you haven’t noticed outnumber us by a healthy margin.  Arguing and starting bs amongs ourselves accomplished nothing whatsoever.  All too often we are much to quick to argue and bicker over senseless details with no other motive than to try and prove how clever we are.  I’m guilty of it.  Most of you are, too.  It’s a curse of intelligence.

    We are focused on our goals at Atheism United, and have put in many hours of work into it already.  We seek the same things the rest of you non-believers seek, which is why I’m really surprised at all the negativity here.  Lots of your judgmental, derogatory banter reminds me of a certain religion which is prevalent here in America.

    So before you write us off, just let us show you what we are capable of. I think you’ll end up being pleasantly surprised.

  • Tim

    Anyone know where I can find that Greydon Square video with Sapient?  It was hilarious, and then it disappeared from youtube.  Someone has to have it.

  • brad_religion

    I became an atheist in 2006 at the same time all this stuff was going on.  I used my old Christian way of thinking that atheists were pretty much all on the same side.  But the more I investigated, the more fracture I saw.  I do think the Rational Response Squad was nothing more than an opportunist income fantasy.  After the 15 minutes of fame, it faded fast and got less and less popular and known.  They weren’t really activists, they were more like pseudo-intellectuals who were able to convince some popular speakers to be allies with them. 

    Brian’s newest scheme will fade just as fast as his old scheme.  His “atheists under one banner” is a plagarism on the Reason Rally going on today (March 24th, 2012).  The Reason Rally isn’t just saying it is uniting different atheists, it is actually bringing them together in one place.  Sapient can only blog about such things. 

    I also find that while Christians may be irrational, many I know will live as they believe.  They aren’t dead beat parents.  They love their kids.  Misinformed, but love nonetheless.  Brian’s buddy Kelly has nothing in common with such things.  You know how we make fun of those people who send their money to televangelists and then they regret it because they realize how foolish they were?  This is how I feel about the Rational Response Squad.  Remember Brian Flemming was making that movie to be released 6/6/2006?  Then he kept moving the date back.  Still waiting in 2012.  The rational response squad is a loser and you will have no future with them and if you give them your money, you might as well give it to Benny Hinn.

    I think Brian is a very convincing scam artist.  He is hooking onto whatever is the newest thing.  This is just another loser of an idea.  You’d think atheists would be a little smarter than following his lame attempt at being semi-uber famous.

    Brian needs to get a real job instead of trying to rip off donors for money.  He reminds me of the guy who lives in his mom’s basement running a blog.  He is just annoying to listen to.  His interview with Todd Friel (after the debate on ABC) was hilarious.  He got owned by Friel.

    Anyway, enough of my bitching and whining.  My buddy Ernest has done more in my view for the atheist perspective and world in his short time as PA Director of American Atheists than Brian and Kelly did in 2007. 

    Just don’t fall for the scam again!


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