David Niose Speaks with S.E. Cupp on MSNBC’s The Cycle

Earlier today, David Niose, president of the American Humanist Association and author of the excellent new book Nonbeliever Nation, did something many atheists have wanted to do for a long time now: He went on live TV, head-to-head with S.E. Cupp.


Hmph. David didn’t take the bait at all. He had a respectable, civil conversation and all the hosts seemed to agree with his comments. He’s ruining the epic battle I was imagining in my head…

Side note: I’m sure many of Cupp’s questions were for the audience and not herself, but I was surprised to hear her refer to the “American Human Association,” ask whether Secular Americans believed in God, and ask why non-believers would ever “want to rebel” against organized religion. As an atheist, shouldn’t she know the answers to those things? And, if she does, wouldn’t she interject at times with her own analysis?

In other words, how can someone whose atheism is part of her public persona be so far removed from what’s happening with atheism-at-large?

Right. It’s S.E. Cupp. I’ve answered my own questions…

(Also, how did the fact that Cupp said she would never vote for an atheist president get completely ignored during the conversation about a potential atheist president?!)

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  • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

    Saying that S.E. Cupp isn’t really an atheist, doesn’t fall into the “No True Scotsman” fallacy… the evidence is simply overwhelming that she is either lying to herself, to everyone around her, and/or is just baiting and trolling people for the lulz.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

    Not sure if you were implying it, but I never said she wasn’t an atheist

  • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

    I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that you had claimed any such thing. I tend to start comments mid-thought. It’s more of an extension of a conversation that we tend to have on here. I just skipped a few steps. 😛

    My comment should have said something like, “I don’t think S.E. Cupp is a real atheist. And before anybody says anything, saying that S.E. Cupp isn’t really an atheist,…” etc.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

    No worries. Like I said, I know she’s an atheist, which is why I was surprised!

  • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

    I, for one, remain skeptical of that claim. *Fry meme face*

  • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613


  • JapesMacfarland

    Why are you sceptical that she’s telling the truth about that? 

  • JapesMacfarland

    Do you think, logically, that one can hold to a conservative or libertarian ideology, rather than the ideology of leftism, and also be an atheist? If not, why? 

  • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

    Oh, I’ve seen and talked to conservative atheists. That’s not why I doubt Cupp’s claim of being an atheist… it’s the anti-atheist statements she’s made that causes my doubt. Saying she would never vote for an atheist president, being against separation of church and state, saying that Christians are persecuted in this country… even saying that she wishes she had faith in a god — not that she wishes there was a god, but that she had faith in one. It just sends up red flags everywhere.

  • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

    Also, “liberalism” is fine. Nobody calls conservatism “rightism”. 😉

  • JapesMacfarland

    Do you think, logically, that one can hold to a conservative or libertarian ideology, rather than the ideology of leftism, and also be an atheist? If not, why? 

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    I don’t think anyone here would disagree that one can be conservative or libertarian and atheist.  Many of the regulars are.  Our skepticism has nothing to do with her ideology.  It has to do with the confused way she presents many things about atheism (and not in a question setup kind of way) and how she derides atheism and other atheists.  Saying she would not vote for an atheist because she wants someone in power who believes in God? 

    I personally think that we have to take her word for it, but the position she presents if frankly baffling.

  • http://twitter.com/tastelesschap tasteless chap

    Every time I see this woman (S.E. Cupp), she strikes me as a bit disingenuous. A bit phony. She’s like the atheist version of “gay for pay.”

  • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

    And what is it with Right Wing female commentators? The social conservatives are all about controlling Teh Sex, and yet there are numerous examples of RWFCs that are out there sexing it up. S.E. Cupp deliberately wears tight blouses, high heels and short skirts. And glasses, I presume, to lend her an air of intellectualism. I watched her on Real Time with Bill Maher and her contributions to the panel discussion were pretty weak sauce for someone with a regular gig on her own commentary television show.

  • LesterBallard

    “to lend her an air of intellectualism”
    Now that’s a bad loan.

  • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

    That “Real Time” appearance was pure torture to sit through. Weak sauce is being too kind, IMO.

  • flyb

    She’s a pretend atheist for the lulz. Even Toure laughed at her “I’m an atheist” statement around 4:40.

  • JapesMacfarland

    Beig an atheist does *not* have to mean you have Leftist values, world view or ideology. That’s where you’ve tripped yourself up on the logic.

  • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

    Straw-man argument. flyb did not claim that her conservatism was the reason for his doubt.

  • Ntngander

    This woman got famous, got a career, and got rich on a lie.

  • JapesMacfarland

    You’re accusing another person of being a liar (ie. a bad person). So back it up, else that makes you the bad person. ..logically…since publicly shaming another is considered akin to murder in the Torah.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Is this a drinking game?  You drink every time S.E. tells us she’s an atheist?

  • LesterBallard

    My curvy yellow ass she’s an atheist.

  • Wintermute472002

    She’s godawful. When she identifies herself as secular in the very beginning it immediately felt like a dirty word. The hell with MSNBC for giving her a platform for her pandering bullshit.

  • JapesMacfarland

    Use reason, not attacks on the person, please.

  • Gordon Duffy

     actually Wintermute attacked SE’s inconsistency and her bullshit, not SE herself.

  • GregFromCos

    At times she almost strikes me as an Atheist Poe. It’s close, but something is just not right. Maybe she has just said she’ll do her own thing, but she just ends up looking like someone who has not thought through her positions very well.

    But then again, I always get annoyed with those who try to tightly define the word Atheist, and maybe I’m doing the exact same thing. Considering, Ayn Rand, some Buddhists, and Stalin were all Atheists, I may be trying to pigeon hole other Atheists too much. Instead of understanding that not all Atheists are humanists.

  • jose

    Many atheists are apathetic to any sort of movement as Mr.  Niose said, so it would be normal for them to not know about foundations, conferences and all that. But when your job consists of being an atheist and talking about it, that kind of detachment does feel puzzling.

    But the interview was not about her but about Niose, and I think her last question is very appropiate because it allowed him to explain why his book and his organization exist in the first place, why atheists organize at all… something a good portion of her audience is very likely to  have learned in that moment. So kudos where it’s due.

  • Keulan

    Every time S.E. Cupp speaks, she makes me more convinced that she’s not actually an atheist like she claims.

  • JapesMacfarland

    I’m guessing she appreciates the good that’s come from Judeo/Christian value system; although doesn’t really believe in it’s core herself. That’s what makes her conservative or libertarian, or, she holds to her Americanism more than Leftism. 

  • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

    Again with the “leftism”. Do we call conservatism “rightism”?

    And yet again, you’re acting like we all think her conservatism is the reason for our doubt. Stop straw-manning.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/47IDX2QAR6VU6ZAILFU6I23ACQ Joseph

    American Human Association?  Didn’t George Costanza come up with that organization as a scam to get out of giving Christmas presents at the office?

  • Gordon Duffy

    SE may or may not be an atheist, but she is definitely not Secular. 

  • JapesMacfarland

    I don’t get your distinction?? Maybe you have an obscure definition of the word/..

  • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

    You don’t understand the difference between “atheist” and “secular”?

    Atheism = no belief in any gods

    Secualrism = belief in separation of church and state, that government should be neutral in all things religion

    S.E. Cupp may be an atheist, but she is definitely not pro-secularism.

  • Gordon Duffy

     Plenty of religious people are secular.

  • David McNerney

    The objective of an atheist president is a bit silly in the first place – for the same reasons that atheism is not a religion.  The objective should be to have more and more presidents who recognize the importance of the separation of church and state, and for whom religion is not an issue.

    (I don’t watch MSNBC – but is that other woman really called ‘Krystal Ball’? Like some kind of psychic porn star.)

  • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

    There’s no such thing as an “atheist president”. Did you mean “president of an atheist organization”?

  • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Thomas Lawson

    Yeah, Mr. Niose did a great job staying on target. I wish he would have corrected S.E. Cupp about the AHA’s name, though.

    I like and trust Secular Touré a whole helluva lot more than Atheist S.E. Cupp. Touré was in that “Black People Don’t: Do Atheism” video last week and his version of God sounds like god is the universe. And he admitted on “The Cycle” that he is not a superstitious person.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=692069453 Dana Logsdon

    S.E. Cupp is NO atheist.  I’m actually beyond skeptical.