What Do Atheists Do in Crisis [FOX 8-26-2011]

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Comment by Skycomet the Fallen Angel on August 29, 2011 at 5:53pm

I think Silverman could have handled that better. The last thing you want to do is to do what Fox wants and appear as a stereotypical atheist.

Comment by Justin P. on August 29, 2011 at 7:50pm

Silverman was very subjective by using words like "delusional". To a passionate Christian, using these type of terms of course will sound like they're being mocked. That word especially because it associates with psychological problems (I know, I know, but still). He seemed ill prepared to go on FOX News and actually intelligently talk with people of that mindset. He also could have answered the one and only question that really asked him "what would an Atheist do..."

Comment by James on August 29, 2011 at 8:55pm

Damn, that lady's voice was annoying... Per-usual, Silverman could have handled that much better. What he should have focused on, if he wanted to push the preparedness angle, was people that pray and do nothing else. That would highlight faith as a shortcoming, but people that prepare and pray aren't really that much different than those who just prepare.

Comment by Troy C on August 29, 2011 at 9:11pm

He looks better since he shaved his Satan-esque facial hair. 

Comment by Ron V on August 29, 2011 at 10:35pm

Seriously, how can you not mock them?

If an adult says they seriously believe in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy and base their political decisions, legislation, education of children, etc. on such nonsense, how can you not call them out on their delusional thinking?  There is the same amount of evidence for god, prayer, etc., as there is for Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.

I agree, I think he could have handled it differently and possibly "better," but the delusional thinking needs to be called out for what it is- how that is done is a matter of preference, but I do not fault him much for calling delusional what really is delusional.

Comment by Kairan Nierde on August 30, 2011 at 1:06am

Does this guy care about the atheist community at all or is he just trying to build a name for himself?  This is so disappointing because he comes off as arrogant, intolerant, and irrational.  You have to know your audience.  That style is good for getting laughs in casual conversations among atheists.  He doesn't have the cultural currency with theists to make many of bold declarations we take for granted without laying the groundwork of where he is coming from first.  Take Speech 101.  There's got to be a better communicator at American Atheists. 

Comment by Dustin on August 30, 2011 at 3:10am

I mean , look at what the guy had to go up against ... that annoying woman , I can't even begin to explain the agony I felt when she kept whining.  The host was just off the wall too .. if they are going to invite a guest on , shouldn't they show more respect for THEIR opinions even if they think they are wrong?  Dave was performing better here than usual.  He had to defend himself quite a bit.

Comment by Robert Karp on August 30, 2011 at 8:47am

So I wrote to the entire Board of American Atheists and below is the response:

 

Dear Mr. Karp:

Thank you for sharing your feelings with me and the rest of the Board of Directors of American Atheists. As a past president of this organization and as a veteran of over 400 radio and television interviews and debates, however, I must tell you that I think Mr. Silverman is doing a far better job than could be expected, given the realities of our political opposition and the crushing weight of the Murdoch empire as realized in Fox News. I can tell you from painful experience of more than fifty years of Atheist activism in the media that for many years now it has been quite impossible to have a reasoned exchange of ideas on commercial television. A speaker who is "reasonable" by humanistic or scholarly standards simply will be bowled over by the bloviation of the religiously biased hosts and then will not be invited back—or wouldn't want to experience such humiliation again and would simply drop out of the fray.
It should be noted that part of your criticism of David was also said of Dr. Madalyn Murray O'Hair, our founder. She was "too abrasive" and "disrespectful of her religious opponents." But both out of principle (not wanting to give the impression for a millisecond that there was anything about organized religion to be respected) and out of pragmatic consideration, she "put on a good show" and became a media star. She made America a much safer place for Atheists. David is following in her footsteps. 
It is sad to relate, but it is true that serious dialogue is not possible outside of that endangered species we call National Public Radio. Elsewhere, "dialogue" is nothing more than a contest of sound-bites. Whoever gets out the best sound-bites "wins." In the case of Fox News and other religious channels, even getting out the best sound-bites may not be enough. These programs edit what we say and on at least one occasion I have been made to appear to say the exact opposite of what in fact I argued. 
You must realize that you see and hear only a part of what Mr. Silverman said. Given such a media reality, I must tell you that there is very little that David could do to "earn the respect of our opponents." Voltaire knew very well that satire and ridicule are the most effective tools for religious disputation. He too knew that his opponents were seeking political and economic power, not truth. David knows that also. That is why he was the Board's unanimous choice to be president and successor of Madalyn Murray O'Hair.
I am respectful of your criticism and am certain that there are many other Atheists who share your feelings. However, the "War on Ignorance" is far more complicated and difficult than you seem to realize.  It would be wonderful if the media operated with a sort of Geneva Conventions in conducting its war of ideas. You and I both would prefer that. However, we are in an age of guerilla warfare and reactionary media have a wide variety of "snipers" who try to mute or silence us.
In conclusion, I wish to assure you that President Silverman is performing as well as possible given the realia of the media today. He learns from his mistakes and we cannot expect more than that. In fine, we are proud of him.
For Reason,
Frank R. Zindler
Comment by Rick on August 30, 2011 at 9:30am

@Robert: That’s a rather disappointing response. Basically what I hear him saying is that the opposition is completely irrational so the only way to reach them is to fight fire with fire. When they act like fools, instead of taking the high ground, we have to one-up them. They’re going to bully the opposition into submission. Sounds like they want to fight a war of attrition. Oh, bother….

 

At least you got a real response. All I got was “Thanks for your input.”

Comment by Frankie Scott on August 30, 2011 at 6:47pm

Fox news is putrid.

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