Is This Movie the Next Religulous?

A trailer for the new movie The Unbelievers (Black Chalk Productions, 2013) was released yesterday. The movie features Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss as they travel around the world and speak about the importance of science and why we don’t need religious ideas in a modern world:

The trailer paints the two men as equals — which seems like quite a stretch since Krauss has nowhere near the notoriety that Dawkins has — but maybe that’s to be expected since Krauss is credited as the Executive Producer of the movie.

The movie doesn’t appear to have any real plot, but it will have cameos by nearly two dozen celebrities (only three of whom, by my count, are women) who will presumably talk about why they’re atheists and why they support the work of Dawkins/Krauss.

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.

  • Mya

    Can’t wait! I see some Reason Rally footage near the end.

  • Jasper

    Krauss does seem to be getting more into activism. We shouldn’t discourage that – we need the scientific community to be more aggressive about opposing BS.

  • http://www.facebook.com/travis.myers.102977 Travis Myers

    “The trailer paints the two men as equals — which seems like quite a stretch since Krauss has nowhere near the notoriety that Dawkins has”

    Krauss and Dawkins are definitely equals as scientists. Being more famous doesn’t make you a better scientist.

  • Bob Speeter

    Black Chalk Productions must not think much of their film as it is not mentioned on their website or blog. Kind of disappointing when you try to check things out and gather more details and the production company has nothing.

    • WoodyTanaka

      It’s Black Chalk Films, not Black Chalk Productions. My guess is that these are two companies who are going to have a fight over their names in the future.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    Both Krauss and Dawkins are awesome and the line-up listed for this movie looks downright fantastic.

    I will definitely be adding this to my Netflix movie queue!

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

      Re: Netflix I must admit that they might never carry this one (The Unbelievers), just like they don’t carry Growing Up In the Universe (Dawkins), or Good Riddance (a Madalyn Murray O’Hair documentary).

      We should all be adding these to our Netflix queues to send them a message that consumers are interested in these types of movies.

      • flyb

        But Religulous is there.

        • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

          They do carry some fairly obscure stuff. If anyone’s looking for atheism-related DVDs on Netflix, you can rent The God Who Wasn’t There, The Atheism Tapes, The Four Horsemen: Episode 1 and The AAI 2007 Convention.

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            But, I think only TGWWT via streaming?

            • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

              As far as I can tell, you can get it both streaming and on DVD. I just added it to my queue to check.

      • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

        You can actually add Good Riddance and Growing Up in the Universe to your list of saved discs, and Netflix will add them to your regular queue if/when they start to carry the DVDs.

        • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

          Yes, I think I added “growing up in the universe” to my queue of saved/desired DVDs a year or two ago… and there it sits to this day.

          • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

            True, I have a bunch of discs in my “saved” section that have been there for several years. Some aren’t available on DVD at all, but others simply don’t appear to be carried by Netflix. You could always try contacting them to let them know there’s a demand for those titles!

  • http://www.facebook.com/cecelia.baines.5 Cecelia Baines

    Again Hemant?!

    WHat purpose does your idiotic little “by my count, I only count three women” statement make?

    You are more concerned about sex and gender than almost any other woman I know. What is it? You secretly wish to have a sex change and become one of us? Seriously. You always use the “preacher yells about gays so much he must be gay” argument, so based on that, and your near obsession with counting the women, you must secretly wish to lose the penis and gain a canal.

    GET OVER THIS NON-EXISTENT SEXIST PROBLEM IN ATHEISM.

    • Pawel Samson

      can’t tell if serious…

      • RobMcCune

        Cecilia does this a lot.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          As did ‘her’ previous incantations.

          Edit: er, not ‘incantations’, but I’m suffering brain-lock.

          • http://www.facebook.com/travis.myers.102977 Travis Myers

            “Incarnations”?

          • RobMcCune

            Yeah I was curious about that, I not a fan of Cecilia by any means, but I wouldn’t ascribe anything she does to witchcraft.

    • jose

      You mean you can’t think of one woman who has a lot more to say about the topic of the documentary than, say, Paul Provenza or Ian McEwan.

      Looking for the best makes the documentary better. Instead, they left some of the best out and picked some random people because cock.

    • SphericalBunny

      Hmmm. You scream bloody murder and go on a tirade of abuse against people every time something gets mentioned about gender equality, and surprisingly your female friends either agree with you or don’t mention it?

      Shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you…

      • http://www.facebook.com/cecelia.baines.5 Cecelia Baines

        What’s your point sugar? Because if you are trying to make one, you are either just a wimp about it, or you have no skills in getting it across.

        • RobMcCune

          SphericalBunny is tired of you throwing fits at the slightest little thing, hows that for a point?

          Subtlety thy name is not Cecilia.

        • SphericalBunny

          Sorry Cecelia, I had no idea you’d be so completely threatened or flummoxed by mild sarcasm.

    • RobMcCune

      Of course another Cecilia Banes tirade complete with RAGING ALL CAPS over eight little words shows everything’s fine and no discussions is needed.

      • http://www.facebook.com/cecelia.baines.5 Cecelia Baines

        Yes, by all means, that is the more pressing issue.

        Strawman building 101 = RobMcCune

        • RobMcCune

          Hemant’s complaint about a lack of female atheists is a less pressing problem than you being extremely volatile about any perceived insinuation that inequality exists outside religion.

          Strawman building 101 = RobMcCune

          Yeah, I am a novice at strawman building, but judging by the comment below you got your training in it at crazy grad school. Do you have a master or a doctorate in it?

          You secretly wish to have a sex change and become one of us?

          • http://www.facebook.com/cecelia.baines.5 Cecelia Baines

            So tell me Sheriff, when did you get your badge for etiquette and enforcement of Internet posts?

            Look out y’all, there’s a Sheriff in town by the name ‘a Robby, and he is a swingin’ his shootin’ irons o’topic etiquette and what ta say….if’n y’all don’ go an duz what he sez, there’s gunna be trouble from him and his posse a’strawmen….

            You are total fucking clueless douchetool.

    • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

      You know, I think you made yourself perfectly clear about how delusional you are. You don’t need to keep bringing up and making yourself look so foolish.

      • http://www.facebook.com/cecelia.baines.5 Cecelia Baines

        What is so incredibly amusing is how you and the rest of the sheep here just fall all over yourselves to defend Hemant and his clear hypocrisy(yes) no matter what. You are essentially no better than the religious apologists and every bit as dogmatic. THAT is why atheism can never get any real foothold to make true change; because you fail to look at the facts and see things objectively.

        But hey, if you want to worship Hemant and his every word, go nuts.

        And have you taken the time to count the number of female posters on each entry? Or Indian? Black? White? Green? Red? Samoan? If not, why not? Are you racist?

        • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

          It’s amusing that you think anyone here is “worship[ing] Hemant and his every word.” Or that people who happen to agree with Hemant are “dogmatic” while you continue to deny reality in asserting that there is no sexism problem in atheism. But go on and knock down straw men while claiming to be so much more dispassionate and objective.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-GK/507761207 Joe GK

  • Pawel Samson

    I saw Krauss on Bill Maher last night and instantly became a fan. Can’t wait to see this movie!

    • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

      I saw him on The Colbert Report not long ago, too. He seems to be getting a higher profile.

  • Epeo

    Maybe I’m getting the wrong tone from this post, but Hemant doesn’t seem friendly at all towards this movie. Only three women between the ~24 celebrities? And how many chinese are there? There should be 5 of them to be representative of the world population. Is it really relevant?
    I look forward to the movie, it promises to be wonderful both for atheism and science. I profoundly admire Dawkins and Krauss.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cecelia.baines.5 Cecelia Baines

      Exactly! Hemant is more concerned with perceived injustices and keeping the mystical ledger “balanced” – but he only focuses on one thing – women! Hemant is obsessed in what appears to be an unhealthy way. I wonder if he obsesses over his female students in the same way, and if he does, if the super should be called!

      Seriously – if he is so concerned with the estrogen why not comment on how there were no Asians, or Polynesians, or Russians, or Inupiat, or Choctaw…

      The portion of atheists and secularists who are obsessed with this nonsensical and mythical sexism issue within atheism need to channel their energies elsewhere if they wish to be a positive force for true change.

      • RobMcCune

        Hemant is obsessed in what appears to be an unhealthy way.

        Say the person who comes unhinged at the slightest mention of inequality, ranting and raving about it no matter how tangential.

        I wonder if he obsesses over his female students in the same way, and if he does, if the super should be called!

        Stay classy raving lunatic, stay classy.

        The portion of atheists and secularists who are obsessed with this nonsensical and mythical sexism issue within atheism

        Actually there are 2 issues, sexism, and under representation. Sexism is very real given the misogyny torrent that arises whenever someone mentions sexism, but it’s not the issue Hemant raised. Sorry to burst your ranty bubble, but the offending (to your bizarre logic) eight words were about under representation. I think you’ll have a hard time arguing under representation is not a bad thing.

        • Epeo

          It was not tangential, the mention of inequality was one of the only two comments about the movie that were not purely informative (the other one being the difference of notoriety between Dawkins and Krauss, which is even more silly). So no, it was not tangential.

          And about under representation, how many celebrities in the movie come from the U.S.? Isn’t the rest of the world under represented? Should we make sure that, in any atheist event, there are no more than 4% people from the U.S.? Is this really relevant?

      • baal

        Hemant’s statement is mild and relevant. I don’t think we can chalk this particular statement up to the excesses of feminismists.

        • Epeo

          I agree with you, up to the fact that Hemant did not say a single positive word towards the movie, which enormously increases the importance of the negative comment. If it was a small comment in the middle of a more profound analysis, it wouldn’t bother me at all.

    • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

      If there are well-known female celebrity atheists who could have been included but weren’t, then yes, that’s a problem. Hemant didn’t condemn the movie; he simply noted the evident disparity without suggesting any reason for it.

      • Epeo

        I disagree, if you find that Hemant was completely neutral in his post, you are either deluded or a hypocrite. He avoided direct confrontation, but his post is clearly negative towards the movie. There are not direct attacks, but there is not a single positive word either. Not a single one. He could have mentioned that the movie features Stephen Hawkins, or Woody Allen, or even Cameron Diaz, which can make people curious about the movie, but no. Only “Krauss is shown as Dawkin’s equal” and “there are few women”.

        The first conclusion I get by reading this post is that there will be a movie with Dawkins and Krauss. The second conclusion I get is that Hemant utterly dislikes Krauss. If this was not the intention, Hemant messed up his post, in my opinion at least.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      I hadn’t really paid attention, but reading it again, there’s an insinuation that the movie (or the trailer at least) falsely treats them as equals, and it’s Krauss’s doing since he’s an executive producer. Like Krauss is trying to ride Dawkins’s coattails.

      Which is at odds with how often Hemant has posted Krauss videos in the last month, with nary a derogatory wag.

  • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

    Looks good! I’m not sure why Hemant doesn’t seem more enthusiastic about it. I’m definitely excited to see this film.

  • Inferno128

    “(only three of whom, by my count, are women)”

    Seriously? If they are indeed celebrity cameos, it could simply be the case that there are a larger number of male celebrities that are active in the atheist community than female celebrities (that agreed to do a cameo). Unless you are trying to suggest that there is active discrimination against women occurring in the making of this film, I don’t see why you didn’t also focus on their race or political affiliation, and making sure those numbers were comparable as well.

    • http://de-avanzada.blogspot.com/ Daosorios

      Just what I was gonna say. So, Hemant, how many gays did you count? And blacks? And Latinos? And bisexuals?

  • aoscott

    Reliigulous actually had the best explanation for the Trinity I’ve ever heard – I think the guy who plays Jesus at the amusement park (been a long time since I’ve seen it) was the one that said it. Bill Maher asks him to explain how it’s possible, and he says he likes to think of it like water (or rather the different forms of matter) – You have ice, water, steam, just as you have the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. You could tell Bill Maher was actually taken aback and I think he comments on how it was a good explanation.

    • Drew2u

      But isn’t the Trinity supposed to be all at once? Water can only be in one state at at a time, but doesn’t the Trinity myth say that the god is all three states at the same time? If not, then who did Yeshua cry out to on the cross? Or for that matter, if Jehova/Yeshua are the same entity, why cry out to yourself at all?

      • aoscott

        I’d say you could have pot of boiling water, or a block of dry ice, and have all forms existing at the same time. I thought it was a good explanation because like you said, it’s supposed to be all at once, just like you could have a block of ice, a glass of water, and steam in front of you all at once. It’s the same element, but three different instances of it.

        I mean the Trinity is bulllllllllshit (just like Transubstantiation, Predestination, Original Sin, you name it!) – but still, I’d say give credit where credit is due. I found it to be a good explanation.

        • Drew2u

          I get that part, but you can’t have water in both steam and solid form at the same time, not mentioning all three at once. A pot of boiling water is heated liquid that undergoes a process and turns into gas/another form of matter (generically put). A block of dry ice sublimates – goes through a process – but it’s still one state at a time.
          But I agree, as flawed of an analogy as it is, it’s probably the best one.

          • baal

            Please go back to chemistry 101 college level (maybe HS, it’s been a while); water does have a triple point. http://www.sv.vt.edu/classes/MSE2094_NoteBook/96ClassProj/examples/941.jpg

            “I think he comments on how it was a good explanation.” I haven’t seen the move but strongly suspect Bill Mahar was either allowing the metaphor to stand for itself (i.e. poorly) or was being sarcastic.

            • Drew2u

              Please go back to Ettiquette 100. Facts and Information can be shared with waspish assholism; which would have been mitigated by simply leaving out your very first sentence. Do I believe you to be an asshole or a wasp? Certainly not, but your comment does nothing to add to the discourse. (“Just the facts, ma’am.”)

              Can’t say I’ve ever seen that chart before in my high school and college years. As far as I’ve learned; water->ice=freezing, ice->vapor->sublimation (I think), vapor->water=condensation, water->vapor=evaporation.
              With that said, wiki’ing “Triple Point” is certainly very interesting, and I thank you for bringing that to light! I would argue semantics, though, upon initial reading of the description and say the substance at triple point isn’t solid/liquid/gas, but reads to be something else entirely that, when pressure and temperature are manipulated, changed into one of those three states.

    • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

      That view is decidedly heretical, actually: it’s called modalism. The truth of the matter is that if someone tells you they have a perfect way of explaining how the Trinity is one god in three persons, they’re lying to you.

  • WoodyTanaka

    Thanks for holding the producers feet to the fire on the lack of women, given the vile anti-woman garbage in the atheist community as of late.

    • http://www.facebook.com/travis.myers.102977 Travis Myers

      There are very few people who are anti-women in the atheist community. There are anti-feminists, though.

      • WoodyTanaka

        I don’t see how one can be anti-feminism and not be anti-woman. A person who is anti-feminism is someone who says that women are either bound with limitations based on their sex or should have limitations placed on them because of their sex. People who believe such things (aside from deserving a hearty “go fuck yourself”) are necessarily anti-woman; they view women as objects of one type or another (often as mere adornments of the anti-feminist) and not as individual people. No one can be pro-woman with such an attitude.

        • http://www.facebook.com/travis.myers.102977 Travis Myers

          Someone who is anti-women believes that women should not be treated as equals, whereas someone who is anti-feminism just believes that women already are treated as equals and so feminism is pointless.

          • WoodyTanaka

            The problem with that statement is two-fold.

            First, women do not enjoy full equality, not in the US and certainly not in the world. Not legally or practically. So the person who makes the statement you did is either a liar or has some defect in cognition such as insanity, mental retardation, factual ignorance, etc. So unless he displays such a defect in cognition, it is fair to assume he is lying and that, in fact, he doesn’t believe that women should be fully equal, or that they should accept the current level of inequality. He is someone who doesn’t want to be thought of as a barbarian because of his opinions, but does not actually believe in female equality. Hence, the lie.

            Second, your argument also hold no water because even if equality is achieved, feminism would still be necessary to preserve that state. The same forces which required feminism in the first place would return us to a state of inequality if feminism were removed. Thus, it cannot, in any reasonable, objective sense, be “pointless.”

            Therefore one cannot be fully informed, rational and still be “pro-woman and anti-feminist.”

  • Pseudonym

    Betteridge’s Law of Headlines states that the answer is “no”.

  • Jan Kafka

    Hemant wrote: “… it will have cameos by nearly two dozen celebrities (only three of whom, by my count, are women)…”

    According to the trailer: “Appearances by…” [List of twenty-some famous people] “…and many more”

    I guess we’ll have to wait for the movie to get the facts.


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