Libertarian History/Philosophy

Reason.tv: Penn Jillette on God, No!, Atheism, Libertarianism, and More

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Reason's Nick Gillespie talks with the one-and-only Penn Jillette about his best-selling new book, God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales, his friendship with Glenn Beck, skepticism versus cynicism, the role of religion in terrorism, why he's a libertarian, and much more in a wide-ranging conversation.

Penn Jillette is the larger, louder half of Penn & Teller. For the magical duo's official website, go here.

For Reason coverage of Penn over the years, go here.

About 15 minutes. Shot by Anthony Fisher, Meredith Bragg, and Jim Epstein; edited by Epstein.

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290 responses to “Reason.tv: Penn Jillette on God, No!, Atheism, Libertarianism, and More

  1. The persistent rumor has been that he comments here. I’m gonna come right out and say that he’s Anonobot.

    1. No way. He is having a good joke and is Tony and Double Asshole

    2. Way to try to throw us off your track, “Warty.”

      1. Warty the Defendant.

        1. So you’re saying Warty was in these:

          Music videos

          Ramones – “Something to Believe In”
          Run D.M.C. – “It’s Tricky”
          Katy Perry – “Waking Up in Vegas”
          Too Much Joy – “Donna Everywhere”
          Rascal Flatts – “Why Wait”

      2. Everyone knows Warty is Kim Kardashian, dude.

        1. Whatever, Snooki.

          1. No. He is The Situation. No question about it.

            1. Are you kidding me? You can see Warty’s gut from low earth orbit.

          2. Snooki want smoosh smoosh!

        2. You were pegged as Henry Hill in the Root thread. It’s perfect.

          And don’t bother denying it.

          1. As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.

            1. Did you ever read the book? I mean, after it was ghostwritten for you? Pretty good.

              1. The book is excellent. Different than the movie. The movie is probably the best adaptation of a non fiction book ever done or pretty close to that.

                1. I think we should stop talking about where Henry “Episiarch” Hill lives, because it would be sad if he got whacked. Let’s pretend he lives in, say, Costa Rica.

              2. I remember when Howard Stern used to call the real Henry Hill and talk to him on the air. Good stuff. Hill is kind of a callous asshole, by the way, which is exactly what I would expect from a mobster, especially a half Irish one.

                1. The Italian and Russian mobsters are much more sensitive.

                2. See? Perfect.

                  1. That’s-a spicy meat-a-ball!

                3. He spent his whole life making a dishonest living while in business with literal homicidal lunatics. The truth about Jimmy Burke and Tony Di Simone and the entire Valeo crew is worse than it even was portrayed in the movie. Burke used to lock the small children of people who owed him money in freezers. Di Simone just randomly killed people because he liked it. There is no way Hill could be anything but a callous asshole. Anyone who wasn’t, would have never lived that life.

                  1. Of course, but you had to hear him casually talk about–for instance–the killing of Spider. It was as if he was talking about a bug getting killed, nothing more.

                    But that’s why I said it’s exactly what I would expect from a mobster.

                    1. We’re a fucked up species, no doubt.

                    2. They are complete psychopaths. You should never have any dealings with them whatsoever. The only way to deal with them is to kill them. Because eventually you will get in a conflict with them and they will kill you.

                    3. As my grandfather always said, never get involved with them, ever. This was coming from a guy who knew multiple people who ended up dead in their trunks with their dicks cut off and in their mouth. While they were filming an episode of The Sopranos in Paterson near his store, he walked over and ended up talking to Gandalfini, and pointed out that the house they were shooting in actually was the spot of a mob killing many years ago.

                    4. You know, I can’t wait to see the Lord of the Rings/ Sopranos crossover now.

                      Who’s gonna play Sarumano, I wonder?

                      At least Jersey is a perfect stand in for Mordor.

  2. If he does, I’d like to cast a vote for him bringing back Penn Radio, which I loved.

    It’s Monkey Tuesday, incidentally.

    1. What does that mean? No Curious George references?

      1. What does Monkey Tuesday mean? Well, it was a feature on Penn Radio, with its own theme music and everything. And, in our own, poor way, we’ve continued the tradition at Urkobold.

  3. Yesterday I saw a bumper sticker with some “atheism is socialism” nonsense (or words to that effect). Barf. Way to make me even more contemptuous of you, people who shop at Target.

    1. Wow, that doesn’t even make sense. I hate when people make their car into personal billboards. 99% of personalized license plates, window decals, and bumper stickers are stupid and make the owner of the car look stupid.

      1. If it is on a bumper sticker, it is pretty much guaranteed to be stupid.

        1. “Know New Nukes” is stupid?

          1. Is that a bumper sticker produced by the Gingrich campaign?

            1. “Save the Newcular Ta-tas”

        2. My personal favorite bumper sticker…

          SAVE GAS, FART IN A JAR!

          1. Yes, when I do it, I have 2 options – huff it later or power my Yugo GV with it. Either are grand ways to use something that is normally a waste product.

      2. And the 1%? The guy who drives around Bowling Green, KY with “PORN LORD” on his windshield and bumper in 5 inch leters.

        PORN LORD!

        1. Wow, now there’s a story that needs tellin’.

          1. I used to see him driving around once or twice a week. Dirty late-80s Civic, rusty white with blacked out windows. Thin white guy, patchy facial hair. Kind of rat-like. But I guess he really, really liked his porn.

            1. Mullet? I feel like a mullet is pretty much required for an awesome guy like that.

              1. Always in a ball cap.

              2. Seeing as how we are talking about Kentucky, I think the synonomous Kentucky Waterfall would be more appropriate.

            2. I seem to recall joe bragging about driving an old Honda Civic. Coincidence?

              1. I’m sorry, but joe was no Porn Lord.

        2. In Kentucky no less. In Orange Country California it would mean something. But Kentucky? And please tell me he has a set of truck nuts to go with it. It really wouldn’t be complete without them.

        3. ASSMAN

          The greatest possible vanity plate, ever.

            1. The best part is that it’s not even a personalized plate; that just happened randomly. I saw one a few weeks ago that said: B4L 5AK.

            1. I love tofu? ASSMAN is better.

              1. I boss I had told me one of his friends got away with “PHA Q”. Still not sure if I believe that.

                1. 4NIC9…still my favorite.

                  1. Isn’t the 9 supposed to be an 8?

          1. Or EAT THE on a “Kids First!” specialty plate.

          2. A few weeks ago I saw a VA one that said “DRTYVAG.” No idea how that got through.

          3. Clerk: What’s your name again?

            Kramer: Cosmo Kramer.

            Clerk: [checks computer again] Cosmo Kramer. You *are* the Assman.

            Kramer: No! I’m not the Assman.

            Clerk: Well, as far as the state of New York is concerned, you are.

            Classic! Thanks for the laugh!

          4. You got that right!

          5. This is possibly the best thing I’ve ever read about vanity plates.

            http://bumpiershrimp.hubpages……re-So-Vain

        4. I love Bowling Green. I am a graduate of WKU. Have not been back to BG since about 1983 or so, but I have fond memories, AKA “the sunny slopes of long ago”…

      3. As someone who has a Kansas City Chiefs license plate frame, I believe this to be true considering the start of my season. /sadface

        1. I am not sure what is worse, the fact that they started that way or the fact that the organization is so filled with arrogant douches that even I, a life time fan, feel they pretty much are getting what they deserve.

          They hired a GM who married his way into making Bill Bellichek’s coffee for ten years. Who then hired a former girls golf coach who got his daddy to get him into the league as head coach. With those two and the fact that we are now onto the Hunt idiot grandson kind of sets the place up for deserved failure.

          1. Perhaps not the right place, but I’ll defend Pioli. I’ve met the guy and he’s a genuine dude and seems pretty shrewd from a football context. Haley I’m less sold on. I think Haley could be a reasonably good coach but is still wet behind the ears.

            The biggest problem is QB. Seriously, our defense didn’t do half bad early on against DET, but when you’re turning the ball over thousands of times a game, the pressure it puts on the defense is overwhelming.

            Matt Cassel is done in KC after this season. We will have a highly touted rookie QB with promise this time next year. And I think it’ll make a dramatic difference in the franchise.

            1. My only hope is that this disaster will lead to them getting Andrew Luck, who really is the second coming of John Elway. Of course that would assume that the idiot Hunt son isn’t too cheap to sign him and trades him away.

              As far as Pioli goes, two guys from his first draft are still on the team. One of them is a kicker and the other is the ever worthless Tyson Jackson who would have been cut long ago had he not been the number three pick in the draft. Pioli’s first three decisions as GM were to draft Jackson, hire Haley, and trade for Cassel. That pretty much sealed his fat in Kansas City. I bet him and Haley are out at the end of the season.

              1. Is it okay to say such negative things about Pioli?

                What if he thinks that reason is a forum designed to facilitate libelous postings about him?

              2. I’d love Luck. I doubt we have a shitty enough season to land him, but I think we’d be fine drafting Foles or Barkley just as well. We need a first round talent at the QB position, and this draft is deep in that regard. Luck may be the can’t miss, but there are others with upside too.

                As for Pioli, the 2009 draft class was pathetic top to bottom. The only player error he made there is that Raji might’ve been a better pick than Jackson. But Jackson is honestly better than people give him credit for. As the RDE in a 3-4, his responsibility is only two-gap control, taking double teams, and not letting blockers get the LBs at the second level. He’s actually pretty solid at that. Dorsey, OTOH, is supposed to be the penetrator/passrusher and he’s been a bit inadequate in that role. Cassel certainly isn’t a QB that can carry a team, but he was a reasonable stop gap at the time considering that there wasn’t any other known commodities in 2009 worth making the run for at QB position (Sanchez had only a year starting and was a big risk in that regard). Pioli opted to take a fairly known commodity with potential upside and build the rest of a depleted roster around it. Now that he’s built the rest of that roster (and we have some legit talent up and down the roster), he can finally make the bold move for a franchise QB this coming offseason.

                As for Clark, he’ll not only do it, he’ll require a QB be selected in the first. He’ll tell Pioli that if he doesn’t want to draft a QB, he better tender his resignation immediately. First round QBs give hope to fans, and sell jerseys and tickets. And with the new rookie cap, they’re much less risky in financial terms.

                1. I think the team should be shitty enough to get Luck. This is a disaster. Yeah, it is the Chiefs and they will probably win two games at the end of the season and ruin things. But I think Haley lost the team. This team really has a shot at 0-16 or maybe 1-15.

                  1. I think that with some of these younger teams, the shortened OTAs hurt them more than more seasoned squads.

              3. Wow, you guys play for the Chiefs?

                Yeah yeah, I know it’s a figure of speech. There’s nothing more insufferable than superfans who refer to the local sports team as we. Except for maybe people who refer to the military as we.

                1. Get over yourself sparky. Nothing more insufferable than people who whine about sports fans using “we”. Really? Who the fuck are you the former and current NFL players police?

                  1. Oh get over yourself John, don’t be such a crybaby.

            2. I just wanted to say:

              Beat by the Lions!!

              hahahhahahahhahaa

              1. Yeah go ahead. Kick a man when he is down.

                1. Okay. As a Broncos fan, I thought they were locks for last place in the AFC West. Now, I’d peg them for 3d.

                  1. Good call.

                    1. The Dolts.
                    2. RAIDER NATION BITCHEZ! (Yes, I’m a Raiders fan).
                    3. Denver.
                    4. KC.

                    See? Last season was a fluke of the worst order KC fans. Please do no delude yourselves into anything else. Just sayin’.

                    1. Now please tell us if any of them will go .500.

                    2. The first two on my list will have at least .500 seasons.

                  2. We beat the Steelers

            3. “Matt Cassel is done in KC after this season.”

              How did Matt Cassel get started in KC? OK, he had one season as the fill in QB for the best organization in the league for one season. However, one imagines that he was not the #1 QB for any team he was on since high school for a reason. The Patsies carried him while Brady was out, how could anyone expect Cassel to carry a team with less talent and lower caliber coaching?

      4. “Warning: The gun in the driver’s hand is larger than it appears” made me laugh though, so it gets a pass.

    2. “If you don’t believe in a religion thought up centuries ago by foreigners, you can’t be a real ‘Murican!”

    3. That reminds me of the “Communism is Zionism” bumper sticker I saw not too long ago.

    4. I always thought it was Objectivism.

      1. At least that’s what my mother told me after she saw Ayn Rand on TV.

  4. I watch Penn’s videos “Penn Point” on Youtube all the time. Good stuff.

    1. I’m a huge Penn fan and I’ve tried to watch “Penn Point”, but they’re just too long and rambling.

  5. In the interview, Penn says people mostly come to atheism gradually. Not so in my case. I remember being in first grade and being stunned that one of my classmates claimed to believe in hell literally. I couldn’t believe people were really that stupid. Oh, six-year-old me, how much you had yet to learn of the depths of human stupidity.

    1. Here is the thing Dagny. This is why people tend not to like atheists. It is one thing to have an opinion and disagree. You don’t believe in God that is your choice. Some day we will both find out who is right. But it is the conceit that only stupid people could ever be anything but an atheist that makes atheists no noxious to be around. There is about a five thousand year tradition of people a lot smarter than you or I who were not atheists. Maybe all of them, from the writers of the Vedas to Augustine to the great Islamic scholars really were just stupid. But I kind of doubt it.

      1. Some day we will both find out who is right.

        Not likely.

        Maybe all of them, from the writers of the Vedas to Augustine to the great Islamic scholars really were just stupid. But I kind of doubt it.

        Before, say, the mid 19th century, you could be an intellectually honest theist. Over time, though, as science and naturalistic explanations for, well, *everything* closed the gaps ever tighter and tighter, that position became harder and harder to maintain.

        1. It is quite easy to be an honest theist. Nothing science has done disproves the existence of God. At most it disproves the literal interpretation of the bible. But so what? You can’t be an honest fundamentalist.

          Again, the arrogance is just astounding. Are really so insecure in your beliefs that you have to deny that anyone could honestly disagree with you?

          1. I’d posit that you can’t be an honest Christian without fundamentalism.

            The central tenet of Christianity, the divinity of Jesus of Nazarath, requires a belief in a scriptural work which is riddled with stories that science would show impossible.

            That does not mean one cannot be a theist, but if you begin thinking of things simply in a deism/theism context, you are also forced to rethink the very Western perception of God, which is a personification. I think a reasonable position can be a belief a creative power, a necessary being. But I fail to find any evidence for a God with will, benevolence, or vision manifested in the world.

            1. I agree that you can be an honest Christian. As far as evidence for a God who vision manifested itself on this world, I think there is lots of evidence for that. But that is a different debate that will never be solved in this forum.

              1. Either you didnt read what he actually wrote or you have an unusual definition of the word “agree”…

                He says he might respect the rationality of the philosophic concept of a necessary being, but he’s flatly denying the exsistence of the God of the Bible…

                There is a somewhat legitimate to be won for the need of some sort of original entity

          2. Nothing science has done disproves the existence of God.

            Nor has it disproved the existence of unicorns, Tony, etc. But they are highly unlikely, not supported by evidence, and often simply not needed to explain anything.

            1. Yes, no atheist can ever have an argument without mentioning unicorns. Atheists love unicorns like hookers love money.

              And there is a huge difference between God and unicorns. Namely, we know the realm upon which unicorns should exist, namely earth. We do not know the realm upon which God exists, the entire universe in nearly as well. Thus the whole unicorn thing is nothing but a pathetic bit of sophistry.

              1. Namely, we know the realm upon which unicorns should exist, namely earth.

                We know this how, exactly? It has not been disproved that there are other Earth-like planets with Earth-like life but again, highly unlikely, etc.

                Feel free to substitute “unicorn” with Zeus, Thor, Vishnu, lower-case g “gods”, …

                BTW, my wife is a Christian. She recognizes her beliefs as irrational. That’s honesty!

                1. If you want to believe in unicorns go for it. There is nothing irrational about thinking that in the billions of planets that exist in the known universe that one or two of them there is something resembling a unicorn. In fact it is probably a good bet.

                  You are an atheist. So you do love them. So why not?

                  1. “Do you know, I always thought unicorns were fabulous monsters, too? I never saw one alive before!”

                    Well, now that we have seen each other,” said the unicorn, “if you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you.” – Lewis Carroll

                    “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” – Stephen Roberts

                    1. “I contend that we are both theists. I just believe in one fewer form of non-theism than you do. I disbelieve in Marxist atheism, Objectivist atheism, Ayersian atheism, agnosticism, etc.

                      I suspect that you believe in at most one of these forms of atheism. So you reject far more kinds of atheism than you accept; hence, you’re basically a theist.

                    2. I suspect that you believe in at most one of these forms of atheism. So you reject far more kinds of atheism than you accept; hence, you’re basically a theist.

                      Uh, if so it’s completely by accident. I’m an atheist because I don’t believe in any gods. Where did this idea of forms of atheism come from?

                  2. If the universe is infinte, and there is some evidence to indicate that it may be, then not only is it possible that unicorns exist somewhere, it is certain.

                    1. Dammit. Read the thread they say, read the whole damned thread.

              2. Namely, we know the realm upon which unicorns should exist, namely earth.

                Wrong.

              3. I have sex with unicorns not for unicorns

              4. Hey … at least atheists aren’t threatening you with eternal damnation in the scolding pits of hell..

                Just out of curiousity… do you believe God impregnated Mary via supernatural sperm ?

              5. Well the unicorns evolved into narwhals.

            2. In an infinite universe, unicorns, and God, are as likely as you.

        2. Science has, at least to date, only taken us so far. The questions of cosmology are still beyond the ken of what science can reveal, and likely will be for eons to come.

          1. Sure, you can put God at the Big Bang, or whatever other unknowns there still are in cosmology. But is saying “God did it” any different from saying “I don’t know”?

            1. Well, “I don’t know” is what every atheist is forced to say. So in the end, they are both in the same lot aren’t they?

              1. I agree completely. Honest atheists are just more upfront about it. I know that believers in God don’t generally claim to know the true nature or intentions of God, but just claiming the existence of God seems to me to be a case of claiming some knowledge of a topic when such a claim is really not well justified.

                But I could be wrong. Having never been a believer, I may have an inaccurate notion of what that means.

              2. Look I don’t claim any special knowledge for why God doesn’t exsist, and therefore don’t go around telling people that he doesn’t …

                All I ask believers is that they show me the same respect, and stop cloaking they have psuedoscientifc proof that backs up the Bible..

                1. Are you asking me to believe that people didn’t exist at the same time as dinosaurs? They did. Except now we call them “birds”.

            2. Well, the issue is that the very term “God” is loaded in Western societies. Due to the history of the West, when someone says “god” there is a whole plethora of preconceived notions wrapped into it which can best be summarized as a personification.

              What I essentially advocate is a rethinking of the very notion of God as something other than a thinking, willful being. A necessary force that has always existed, that is comprised of some central current that runs through all things. Almost a Taoist conception. Although one could argue that what I’m describing ceases to rise to the definition of “God” but all I’m looking for a some imagination on the nature of it.

              1. We in the west personalize God way too much. There is simply no way to know and understand the mind of God in human terms. Can’t be done. He is not and cannot be an old man looking down on all our lives. He may in fact intervene in our lives. But if he does, he does so in ways that we are incapable of understanding. We as humans are never going to get it.

                1. So then you agree with the poster above, that the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon concept of God is silly nonsense… because you really can’t have it bother ways… if God made us in his image, as the Bible claims, then your going against the Bible..

                  1. What does god look like? What is ‘His Image’? I think you’re all going to laugh about that one when you find out.

                    ..if you’ve still got mouths then, I can’t remember….

              2. By the time you’ve started coming up with your own new age, vague definition of God, you’re effectively a non-believer in the eyes of someone like a Southern Baptist. As far as I’m concerned you’re sitting in the same boat as those of us who call ourselves atheists at that point.

            3. “I don’t know” is very different from “God did it”.

              “I don’t know” can be followed with “so, let’s find out!”. “God did it” leaves no such room for further inquiry.

              1. Of course it does. Who is this God? How did he do it? What were his means? His methods? Why did he do it? There is tons of room for further inquiry.

                1. There is tons of room for further inquiry.

                  Not according to some guy named John:

                  There is simply no way to know and understand the mind of God in human terms. Can’t be done. He is not and cannot be an old man looking down on all our lives. He may in fact intervene in our lives. But if he does, he does so in ways that we are incapable of understanding. We as humans are never going to get it.

                  Emphasis mine.

                  1. Looks like somebody just got served…

                    … just kidding, I don’t want to give you a hard time john..

                    Sometimes I find it hard to remember that all Christians aren’t part of the Christian coalition etc…

                    Your believes are your believes… lets just keep religion out of politics and government, then we all win!

                    1. Beliefs********

                2. Navel gazing is not the same thing as inquiry.

            4. Sure, you can put God at the Big Bang …

              Unless you subscribe to Hawking’s description of space-time in which time also began at the big bang, so nothing could have existed before it because there was no time for anything to exist.

              1. Why do you need time?

                And Hawking’s wrong. The Big Bang could not have happened without time already being in place–it is a durational event. Time just ‘started’ here. Prior to the Big Bang, there was no here to have duration in. Time begins, for durational constructs, at the moment of inception.

                Stop being so provincial.

          2. Is there some kind of philosophical Viagra you guys take?

            How do you keep it up?

            I was bored with this subject by age 10.

      2. Some day we will both find out who is right
        Maybe. But you do not consider the possibility that there may be a god, but no afterlife.

        1. If we are dead and that is it, I would say we found out didn’t we? Even if we are not around to know.

          1. I don’t know. If you are dead and that is it, I’d say you don’t know anything about anything anymore as you have ceased to exist. We could discuss this for hours without getting anywhere, I am sure.

          2. He’s saying there’s the possibility that there is a God, but there is no life after death. Therefor you would still be right that there was a God, but you’ll never know it..

      3. Yeah, I hear you. I was more saying that there is not necessarily an innate inclination towards belief. As a naive kid who had not been exposed to religion, I thought it was goofy that people believed in something that seemed to me as ridiculous as make-believe. There was never any belief to unlearn. I promise I am always polite to the theists I know and love. 🙂

        1. I love talking about philosophy and religion. But I find I can’t do it with many atheists. They just get angry and start hurling invective. It is a shame really.

          1. You know, I avoid bringing up my nonbelief with most people IRL out of fear of the exact same thing. Unfortunately, most people of any belief-ism go straight for the emotional/defensive reaction.

        2. And if you honestly believe that all religious belief is stupid nonsense, you are missing out. You don’t have to believe the underlying premise to get something out of it.

          1. That would be the community, the hanging out with nice people who generally want to live the best lives they can, maybe singing some songs or eating some food? I could get down with that if we 86-ed the actual religion part.

            1. I am not down with organized religion either. And you know what, neither was Christ. The church part came later. But if the church part hadn’t come with all of its attendant evil, the whole thing would have died out. Ultimately the world is a hard place with no perfect answers.

              1. Like John Wayne said, “Life is tough. It’s tougher if you’re stupid”.

          2. Why do we doubt the existence of Zeus or Thor or Krom or Ra or whomever?
            Surely, they “answered prayers” to the same extent as God. But these gods behaved like assholes and the Christian God doesn’t. So we gravitate to God who loves everyone. And you are right;even Objectivists can find redeeming values in Christianity. The Golden Rule works fine for someone who believes he doesn’t live for the sake of another nor ask another to live for his.

            1. The benefits that would accrue to mankind would be enormous if all humanity would practice the Golden Rule, even if divorced from its Christian roots in the West. And the USA would benefit if Christians realized that the Golden Rule applies to their dealings with sinners just as much, if not more, than it does in dealing with fellow believers.

              Don’t point a stick at me and I won’t point a stick at you makes a lot of sense morally when you think about it.

              And isn’t that what libertarians are saying? Absent force or fraud, none of us has the right to point a stick at someone else, that sentiment is perfectly congruent with the Golden Rule.

              1. Randy, that is a good point. Libertarianism is really just the philosophy of, “do unto others…”.

                1. I’m not into being the receiver in ana… never mind.

      4. There is about a five thousand year tradition of people a lot smarter than you or I who were not atheists.

        Like that fuckin pansy Pascal?

      5. There is a difference between an athiest and an anti-theist. I am the latter, but in a peaceful, I’ll tell you if you ask, but you really don’t want to ask, kind of way.

    2. That’s pretty much been my experience with religious stuff as well. I grew up going to church, but I can’t recall ever actually believing any of the mumbo-jumbo.
      Though, I don’t think that it is stupidity that causes other people to believe. Most religionists seem to believe just out of habit and don’t really think about it much. The true believers who claim some direct experience of divinity are either a little bit crazy, or have a hard time telling the difference between internal and external experience.

      1. I was probably unnecessarily flame-y with the stupid. There are people on these here boards who are (much) smarter than me who are also religious. I happen to think their religious beliefs are stupid, but they’re not. They might think my taste in clothes is stupid. I can live with that.

    3. I became an atheist at the tender age of ten. It was a strange combination of Cosmos, my reading of ancient history – Greek, Roman, etc., and growing up a conservative-CRC suburb.

      Carl Sagan (*yikes*) introduced me to Skepticism and scientific inquiry.

      History introduced me to the fact that men have worshiped other gods. Who was I to cast dispersions on Caesar, Augustus, etc because they did not believe in a Judaic deity?

      And last of all, I’m a rebel at heart. I hated the small-town conservatism and loved having an opposing framework to work with.

      1. I forgot to add that as far as other people’s beliefs – they are free to practice whatever they want. To a certain degree, I feel a little jealous of my more religious friends since they find comfort and solace in something that I find illogical.

        but I still love watching Ben Hur!

        1. When scientists can create life from non living substances, I’ll reconsider my Catholocism and re-consider the theory of evolution. Until then, I’ll follow the peaceful teachings of Christ, and what I’ve learned from two people who “died” and came back.

          1. Those near death experiencens are nothing more then hallucinations … if you’ve messed around with a lot of psychedelics, then you would realize just how powerful brain chemistry can be…

            Hell you don’t even need to get high… I’ve heard of thus crazy new drug that lets you see imaginary things that can be so lifelike… its called dreaming

      2. A lot of non-Christian, “primitive” or “pagan” religions have some concept of a Supreme God – not the Jewish God to be sure, but it wasn’t all fertility orgies and bull sacrifices.

  6. One disagreement with Penn here. The very end of the interview he contests the world will get better because it’s always gotten better. That may be true for humanity writ large, but you could make the case that the fall of Rome and the descent into the Dark Ages was a substantial worsening of situations throughout Europe.

    The idea isn’t that the entirety of the planet will be worse off 20 years from now, only Western civilizations due to their completely unsustainable fiscal structures and failure of imagination to deal with the problems ina forthright and sensible manner.

    1. I agree. People who beleive things will always get better, at least in the time span of a few lifetimes or even centuries, don’t know much about history. Everyone should be required to read The Anglo Saxon Chronicles and Bede. The basic message of both can be summed up as “and then things got worse”.

    2. KInd of the flip side of Keynes “In the long run, we’re all dead.”

      Yeah, sure, but I’m kinda invested in how things go before then, you know?

      1. RC,

        We live in a world where most people completely lack imagination. They have no idea things really can get worse and the lights really can go out. We have been so rich and well protected the last seventy years, we have lost the ability as a society for existential anxiety. We just think things will always be this way because they have. Well maybe. But if you read much history, real history written by the people at the time, which few do anymore, you would know that there is no guarantee that the worst won’t happen.

        1. Like this blog being shut down because we don’t do as we are told.

          1. You should maybe lay off, Mike, seeing as this blog is provided free of charge to you. It isn’t servile, it’s polite.

          2. Oh, get over it. You have the rest of the Internet to say whatever you want to on.

          3. I’d cut them some slack. They did step up and fight the claim, including the part naming commenters, which I think is plenty. Respecting their wishes here to avoid more dancing with this one particular plaintiff doesn’t seem like abject surrender.

            1. Respecting their wishes here to avoid more dancing with this one particular plaintiff doesn’t seem like abject surrender.

              Agreed. Until I am willing to foot the bill for litigation expenses I shall not name he who shall not be named.

            2. Without naming names could you clue me in to what exactly your talking about? The suspense us killing me!

              1. Read elsewhere on Hit and run about a report of some long running litigation Reason has been engaged in.

          4. This blog will never be shut down. In fact, it will be possible to use our property to talk hella-shit about us all day long, as your performance here today attests.

          5. Mike–I think we got your point a while back.

            And Matt has shown incredible restraint in not dropping the banhammer on you.

            1. Second!

          6. They did step up and fight the claim, including the part naming commenters, which I think is plenty.

            You get that, Mike? They paid their money to stop this from hitting you as well as them. AND you get a free place to hurl your invective AND you can still whine about how lame they are for not letting you force them to pay some more.

            Kinda makes your whole act seem kinda petty, no?

        2. Very true. There have been major civilizations in the past that lasted far longer than ours has so far. And even our civilization (depending on where you consider it to start) has had a lot of ups and downs.

  7. Nick Gillespie: Central Casting’s response to a request for a ’70s British fighter pilot – jacket included.

    Loved the interview.

    1. but not the flaccid committment to free minds and free markets.

      1. I am looking forward to your competing media product. Especially the comments section.

        1. The banhammer would hover above your head like the Sword of Damocles.

        2. I can’t believe I am telling Matt his but “DON’T FEED THE TROLL!”

          LM didn’t used to be a troll but lately…

      2. “but not the flaccid committment to free minds and free markets.”

        I missed the details, but the non-vintage whine is sounding like Patty Smith claiming censorship when her tax subsidies got cut.
        Hint: No one is stopping you from posting anything you please. But ‘free speech’ does not include someone else providing the stage for your show.
        Property rights and all that.

  8. In the interview, Penn says people mostly come to atheism gradually. Not so in my case.

    Mine either. Heard about God, went “WTF no,” seldom thought of Him since?even in the context of religion. Because there’s no Him in my conception(s) of the world.

    Came-to-it-gradually “atheists” are, I find, seldom actually atheists?their minds are God-shaped?and, worse than being deluded or lying about themselves, they’re usually insufferable emo fucks. Whether they’re showily kind to religious people in the way Penn (who’s not a good example of this, really, but he’s here) is, or showily shitty to them like Dawkins and his cult, they’re showing.

    Because they’re ashamed of themselves. For having fallen.

    There’s a fable-type thing in the Bible about this phenomenon. Good story. Ancient precursor to Freud.

    (JOOS)

    1. I don’t think atheists are ashamed of their disbelief (well, some may be, I don’t know every atheist out there). The reason some atheists like to flaunt their disbelief is because they’ve come to the same conclusion as you (“WTF no”), but can’t quite understand why other people haven’t and why the obvious truth (again, “WTF no”) is seen as a source of evil. I know there’s a tinge of presumption involved in knowing what’s rational and what’s not, but when 30% of a nation believes Jesus is coming back any day now, that presumption is pretty justified.

      I’m a gradualist atheist, but there’s no God-shaped hole in my brain – at least not anymore. I used to see and feel the world in a teleological way, but my worldview nowadays is completely devoid of theistic or deistic influences. Your generalization is thus a little bit too presumptuous – if you haven’t tried being a theist and then becoming an atheist, don’t speak on behalf of those who have.

      1. ‘WTF no’ How cute.

        ‘the obvious truth’ How touching!

        You don’t have the truth–much less ‘the obvious truth’ yet. You are not even intelligent enough to see that it’s an infinite recession.

        Have you found the smallest particle?

        How about the particles that it’s composed of?

        Have you even theorized about the Larger Particle?

        You can aquire knowlege. Truth is more elusive.

  9. I just caught up on the threads from today, and I’ve got to commend Matt, Nick and the rest of the gang for their restraint. Had I been in charge, I would have made a point of not only blocking Libertymike’s IP, I would have found his address and disclosed it to the rest of us so somebody could go and punch him in the fucking face.

    Jesus Christ. I know the overwhelming majority of posters on here would love to continue the lampooning of the idiot who caused this mess. And if we could do it without financially jeopardizing Reason, I’m sure the editors wouldn’t mind if we did. That said, when idiots like Libertymike’s put our forum at risk, action needs to be both swift and permanent, especially in light of the numerous pleas and remonstrations for respect and decency.

    1. I too am impressed by reason’s restraint in this, and I hope it is because they appreciate our independence and unwillingness to compromise our principles.

      That said, there is no reason to make this more difficult or expensive for them, and we should realize that they took the time to explain it to us rather than just censor.

      An asshole lost a battle, and the right people won. It’s over.

      1. You guys will never know how proud i am to be a co-litigant.

    2. You can call this a cheap ass rationalization, but I don’t give a fuck. To me, there is a difference between Reason wanting to avoid litigation involving he who shall not be named, who is a private citizen, versus say, bowing to the wishes of the Department of Homeland Security or those cocksuckers at the Drug Enforcement Agency.

      I gave Tim, or it might have been Matt, some shit about the Mohammed cartoons. I thought about it and I am not willing to put these guys at risk of physical harm for me to exercise my 1st amendment rights.

    3. What sloopy said.

      Thank you to Matt, Nick and the rest of the Reason crew for making this community possible.

  10. So, Penn, when are you going to call out the Muslims and Scientologists on their “fables”?

    Never? Right, you chickenshit.

    1. I don’t see how how he needs to call out the shopping list of formal religions to have his points apply…did you think he was picking on a particular religion?

      1. We haven’t tackled Scientology because Showtime doesn’t want us to. Maybe they have deals with individual Scientologists?I’m not sure. And we haven’t tackled Islam because we have families.

        In short, yes. My short hairs aren’t in a wad because he’s “picking on Christians.” Christianity has plenty of able apologists. What I object to is Penn playing Mr. truth-teller, especially when there is truth to be told, but only when there is no foreseeable cost to him.

  11. thank god for Penn Jillette. as for god, we will find out (or not) if he exists when we die.

    you can’t logically argue for or against the existence of god in any convincing way. that’s why the whole debate is better suited to satire (e.g. south park) than wanky philosophical posturing.

    although i like trey’s take: “Basically … out of all the ridiculous religion stories which are greatly, wonderfully ridiculous ? the silliest one I’ve ever heard is, ‘Yeah … there’s this big giant universe and it’s expanding,? it’s all gonna collapse on itself and we’re all just here just ’cause … just ’cause’. That, to me, is the most ridiculous explanation ever”

    iow, the only thing more ridiculous than believing in god, is believing he does not exist.

    1. Well then Trey is a fucking idiot because the world of cosmology has done a lot better job of explaining the universe than any stupid religion has offered.

      And John, why some of atheist get so bent out of shape is because the idea of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent god is so mind numbingly stupid given the evidence. The cognitive dissonance is like say the cop who is beating a paralyzed man screaming “stop resisting, stop resisting” is hyper-benevolent.

      1. well, there you go. the classic elitist atheist retort (similar to the retort of many religious folks) –

        translation: well, you are just stupid if you don’t recognize the obvious truth ™ just like i do

        yawn

    2. As much as I love the South Park guys and almost everything they have done, they seem to suffer to some extent from the same lack of understanding of what science is as most people seem to. Science has nothing to do with answering questions like why we are here. It is just the process of creating a model which is consistent with all observations.

      1. correct

        however, given certian observations , like “we exist” , “life happens” etc. science has naturally sought answers, as has religion

        science and religion can live together perfectly fine, just as a scientist can be religious or not, and do an equally fine job

        science has also certainly fallen to political/ideological pressure and always will, just like religion

        science can never be truly objective at all times, because it is performed, interpreted by people

  12. “iow, the only thing more ridiculous than believing in god, is believing he does not exist.”

    First time I have ever really, really disagreed with you.

    The notion of a “being” who sits (or lies, or floats somewhere in whatever space exists before the universe exists) and commands a universe of incomprehensible mass to suddenly spring into existence is simply beyond what I am willing to accept on faith.

    1. you aren’t disagreeing with me. you are disagreeing with trey. i wasn’t saying “i believe X”. i was quoting trey, to try to explain one train of thought

      hth

  13. There is a British science web site that often tries to refute any religion and the commentors are almost violent with hatred for any form of religion, yet they keep presenting scientific articles that claim to show that the human mind is genetictly geared to believe in a god. So if we are ingrained to believe then it matters not weather there is or is not a god and even if you are an athiest are you not just making a religion out of not believing. As far as I’m concerned you can believe anything you want even unicorns as long as you don’t deny me my right to practice my beliefs or try to force me to follow yours.

  14. “even if you are an athiest are you not just making a religion out of not believing.”

    No, I am not religiously atheist. I don’t spend my time talking in tongues, or self-flagellating, or dreaming about 70 virgins. I simply dismiss the notion of “God” and get on with my daily life. I am content to ignore the religious beliefs of others, and I do my best to keep my mouth shut lest I offend my religious friends and family.

    It offends me, though, to hear the, “atheism is just your religion” crap. That is, frankly, an invention by the religious to combat the secular nature of our government.

    1. strong atheism is a religion, requiring a leap of faith. weak atheism isn’t
      this point gets hashed over every single time atheism gets brought up

      1. “strong atheism is a religion, requiring a leap of faith”

        Assertion minus evidence.

        1. It is a leap of faith to accept that the universe ‘just happened’ when, observationally, nothing ‘just happens’. For every action there is an actor.

          Most sane atheists aren’t atheists at all, they’re agnostic, the stance that is the only one supported by logic–‘I don’t know if there is a god or not’.

          Fortunately, I have abandoned logic and given myself over to the madness that is the only choice that arises as one edges nearer and nearer to sanity.

  15. Dr. Duncan MacDougal in 1907, put dying destitute paitients’ beds on scales. In those days there weren’t machines hooked up to patients, so it was easy to put them on a scale. At the moment of death, the scale showed a loss of 3/4 of an ounce. And there are many stories from people who have died, had their souls float above their bodies, and reported what was said and done after they were brought back. Just thought I’d throw a little science into the discussion.

    1. an ounce of prevention is better than 3/4 ounce of floating souls.

    2. Very little science.

      His sample size – six patients – was ridiculously small to have any scientific significance. His ability to measure tiny increments of weight such as that on an industrial strength scale was non-existent.

    3. There is a way little problem with defining the moment of death…..unless maybe you nuke somebody but that would screw up the scale.

    4. Mr.Citizen please provide a description/definition of the human soul that advocates of such an essence all agree on. Then point to anyone who has replicated MacDougal’s experiment.

      1. Below is a link to snopes page about MacDougals experiment. Apparently snopes can not be reproduced without permission.
        Click the link and read that MacDougal himself did not claim his experiment was conclusive.
        http://www.snopes.com/religion/soulweight.asp

    5. “At the moment of death, the scale showed a loss of 3/4 of an ounce.”
      Assuming that’s true (which is a hell of an assumption), it means nothing.

      “And there are many stories from people who have died, had their souls float above their bodies, and reported what was said and done after they were brought back.”
      Did you hear the one about……?
      Yes, there are *many* stories

      “Just thought I’d throw a little science into the discussion.”
      Good, let’s see it.

    6. “And there are many stories from people who have died, had their souls float above their bodies, and reported what was said and done after they were brought back. Just thought I’d throw a little science into the discussion.”

      Maybe they knew what was said and done because they weren’t dead and they also happened to be in the same room with themselves.

  16. Great interview –

    Penn’s refreshingly articulate and knows where to draw the line on things he disagrees with and things that deserve scorn/derision.

    I was a fan of his (& Teller’s) act, but the show and his interviews make me respect him even more.

  17. Sorry dude, String Theory requires just as much faith as Christianity. The “science precludes faith” meme is only sufficient when you’re actually the one providing real, testable evidence. Most people, whether theist or atheist, are gullible fucks.

    1. “Most people, whether theist or atheist, are gullible fucks.”
      Speak for yourself, gullible fuck.

      1. Tell your mom to stop begging, it’s pathetic

  18. You want to believe in God – fine.

    You don’t want to believe in God – that’s fine too.

    Me, I believe in God.

    I also believe in physics, evolution, mathematics, and the scientific method.

    I don’t see any evidence of God. Religious belief is faith and nothing but faith. I believe because I just believe. It’s irrational – and I don’t care.

    However, you don’t see me trying to force the world to give up incandescent light bulbs or telling other people what size toilet tanks they can have. You don’t see me calling on government to give my tax money to companies like Solyndra to subsidize a product that can’t make it in the free marketplace (cough, ahem, cough, cough…BIOFUEL SCAM!!!).

    But, people need to follow some sort of moral code – wherever they get it or however they come up with it. Without a firm idea of what’s right and what’s wrong, you get crap like people demanding that government allow them to live off the production of others through government confiscation and redistribution of wealth. There will always be looters among us, but it sure would be kinda handy if we could keep it down to about a fifth or so of the population, don’t you think?

    There is no system of laws, no matter how carefully and cleverly written, that absolutely and precisely establishes acceptable conduct in every situation. Determining the right thing to do requires judgment and respected, trustworthy guidelines. Without a moral code and earnest attempts by individuals to adhere to a code, you end up with a society that acts just like the scum-sucking kleptoholics that my fellow Americans keep electing to high fucking office for reasons I cannot possibly fathom.

    And also this guy needs to get his show back on the air.

    1. I hardly see a difference between theism and atheism in the true sense of the words. Some might be anti-christian or anti-muslim, but theism itself isn’t that bizarre of a concept. I think that “atheism” (in a normative, real-world sense) is more closely related to a deeper will of not wanting to be hoodwinked, so then the notion of God becomes mere “religion”, and then anything connected to that criteria is demonized. Faith and Belief, the prerequisites for theism is almost a prerequisite for most science too. To be an atheist you would have to reject the “theory” of anything as dogmatic mysticism. Really, the “Big Bang” is just a creation story with no proof… there’s no real way to even prove that “time” exists.

      I may think Tarot Card readings and Tantra whatever is hippie bullshit, even think most written down religions are bullshit too, but to me, religious texts don’t invalidate theism entirely. Thus the reason I will always be agnostic.

      1. “I hardly see a difference between theism and atheism in the true sense of the words”
        Do you see a difference between bleeving in Santa Claus and not?

        1. The amount of faith that is needed to believe in Santa Claus is identical to the amount needed to believe in subatomic particles. I accept there is material in chemistry, for example, that I don’t have the means to prove. A hydrogen molecule has one atom.. have you ever actually seen the one atom? “somebody else has seen it”… so somebody else essentially did the work and you’re just believing it to be factual. No different than somebody saying they spoke to God and God gave them commandments. Sure, in most sciences you have some kind of means to “test evidence”, but my point is that the average academic thinker (who is also atheist) tests these “truths” as much as any kid questions Santa Claus.

          1. “The amount of faith that is needed to believe in Santa Claus is identical to the amount needed to believe in subatomic particles.”

            Wrong.
            Plenty of evidence for sub-atomic particles.
            Try again when someone finds evidence of Santa Claus in a particle accelerator.

            1. There’s evidence under the Christmas tree every year. If someone is told that Santa put them there, and they believe it, then Santa is real. Just like subatomic particles exist as long as you take the word of particle physicists… I mean, really, how often have you tested the evidence?

              1. “There’s evidence under the Christmas tree every year”

                Uh, well, what can I say?
                If you see that as “evidence”, I sorry I wasted my time on an ignoramus.

                1. The act of telling a child that Santa put the presents under the tree and the kid believing that it was actually Santa is the same event as a physicist telling you that there are subatomic particles and you believing it actually exists… what’s the difference? If you do not actually investigate the evidence yourself, you’re just as guilty as the “bleevers”.

                  1. “The act of telling a child that Santa put the presents under the tree and the kid believing that it was actually Santa is the same event as a physicist telling you that there are subatomic particles and you believing it actually exists..”

                    Truly, one of the most idiotic statements I’ve read in years.
                    Are you familiar with even concept of “evidence”?
                    Or just one more ignoramus willing to offer sophistry to support your ignorance?
                    You don’t have a lot of other options.

                    1. Right, I get ya buddy… but here’s the real reality of the situation… being an “atheist” doesn’t buy you some kind of passage into pure enlightenment and reason.

                      Some idiot kid says he’s an atheist and I’m supposed to think he’s some kind of critical observer of the universe immune to the flaws that faith and emotion produce? bullshit.

                      I don’t believe in God, I don’t adhere to any religion or thought system that includes any kind of paranormal entities, but I do accept the fact that when I study physics and chemistry, etc, etc… I’m utilizing “faith” that the person before knew what they were talking about. .. which, inevitably leads to alot of people being wrong. ..

                      Atheism to me is more of a social, political system of thought and it’s sad how dogmatic it has become.

                    2. “Atheism to me is more of a social, political system of thought”

                      Yeah, and your stupidity is your problem, not mine.

                    3. Dude…*face palm* Not another atheist who calls everybody stupid. Might as well just wear a sign that says, “my dick is tiny and I never get laid”.

                    4. “Not another atheist who calls everybody stupid”

                      Sorry. You’ve exceeded the bullshit quota.
                      Stupid beyond imagining.

                    5. You’re stupid

                    6. pessimistic meta induction 😉

                    7. Tell me, sevo, are you a particle physicist? Any kind of physicist?

                      Is there any evidence that you can be given for the existence of subatomic particles that you can comprehend without help?

                      And if you can, how many people can do so as well?

                      This is what better than you is talking about. Many people who think of themselves as sane, rational people are accepting the word of an authority that X is, and there’s scientific evidence of X. They have no way of actually knowing without a middleman.

      2. “Faith and Belief, the prerequisites for theism is almost a prerequisite for most science too.”

        How about the (Kantian?) point of, “I think, therefore, I am.”

        If that is the only thing of which I can be sure, then I really don’t know if any of the rest of you are really there, or just figments of my imagination.

        And then there are the weaknesses in assuming causation because of observed association (holy anthropogenic global warming hoaxes, batman!).

        1. Ren? Descartes

          1. “Although Descartes maintains that God’s existence is ultimately known through intuition,”
            http://plato.stanford.edu/entr…..tological/
            IOWs, ‘revelation’ or ‘voices in my head’. Good call.

  19. To clarify, what I mean is that an atheist may use, for example, the bible to disprove theism or point out anamolies..as if the text itself was the grand evidence of God…The logic goes: prove the text is flawed, you prove God is flawed… but it’s really just semantics and quibble.

    1. “To clarify, what I mean is that an atheist may use, for example, the bible to disprove theism or point out anamolie”

      Yeah, an atheist might do that.
      Or an atheist might just point out there is zero evidence for the claimed existence.

      1. There’s really no evidence in String Theory either… nothing testable other than mathematics, which is just math… not reality. Yet, it’s still one of the leading studies in theoretical physics. What about the Fermi Paradox? Proof of our own origin?

        1. “There’s really no evidence in String Theory either… nothing testable other than mathematics,”

          Nice of you to change the subject. Any comment on my post?

          1. your mom’s breath makes my penis smell bad

  20. Reverse Engineer Consciousness philosophical thought experiment for atheists.

    1. That’s not an experiment. It’s a series of assertions.

  21. Um, no dude.. it’s definitely a thought experiment… If human consciousness is organic, and evolution is the cause for it, then it can be replicated once the science is advanced enough. If you do not think this is possible… why not? If it is possible, then couldn’t multiple people have the same consciousness? In that case, who would have the “dominant” consciousness and why?

    Or would you just prefer to believe that you’re unique and god made you in a day 😉

  22. “Um, no dude.. it’s definitely a thought experiment… ”
    Um, no dude.. It’s a collection of assertions muddied with bleever crap.

    “If human consciousness is organic, and evolution is the cause for it, then it can be replicated once the science is advanced enough.”
    False.

    “If you do not think this is possible… why not?”
    Define “it”

    “If it is possible, then couldn’t multiple people have the same consciousness?”
    Yes, and the moon could be made of green cheese. What was the question?

    “In that case, who would have the “dominant” consciousness and why?”
    Uh, why is the moon made of green cheese? Did you have a point? I’d like to see it in English.

    1. Translation, cannot be successfully refuted.

      Let’s restart on a more rudimentary level: What is consciousness and how did it evolve to be what it is?

      1. “What is consciousness and how did it evolve to be what it is?”

        Sorry, I’m dealing with one subject at a time.

        1. Sorry, I’m dealing with one subject at a time.

          A.k.a – Don’t know

          1. “A.k.a – Don’t know”

            Stupid, stupid, stupid and even more stupid.

            1. your mom gives good head

        2. Sorry, I’m dealing with one subject at a time.

          A.k.a – Don’t know

        3. Sevo and Better than You.

          You girls are both massive fags.

          And I don’t mean that in a homosexual, gay way.

          I mean you should just get a room and buttfuck each other. You know you want to.

      2. Oh, and I missed this gem:
        “Translation, cannot be successfully refuted.”
        It’s real hard to refute what isn’t stated.

        1. Oh, and I missed this gem:

          that’s not all you missed, sweety

          1. “that’s not all you missed, sweety”

            Stupid, stupid and really stupid.

            1. Yer mom’s stupid

  23. I am a new Christian. Following the example and teachings and life of Jesus is of course impossible. But the mere contemplation of that impossibility, the improbability too of his life, makes me want to be a better man.
    That is all.

    1. “I am a new Christian”

      Why not be a new Zeusian?

      1. I’ll have to agree with you on this one… If I were to worship a deity, which I probably will as soon as I’ve sorted out and refuted all other possible creation stories, then I’d have to go with Zeus.. only because he encouraged man to fuck as many women as he wanted. Cool god.

        1. How’s that sex addiction working out for you? “I have to watch an hour of gaping anus porn just to get morning piss wood” — Doug Stanhope(less)

          1. Zeus gives options 😉 You don’t have to fuck as many women as possible… it’s just highly recommended.

            1. “Zeus gives options”
              Uh, care to show Zeus exists?

              1. Uh, care to show Zeus exists?

                Prove that matter is made up of one dimensional strings that can’t be made any smaller.

                1. “Prove that matter is made up of one dimensional strings that can’t be made any smaller.”

                  Truly stupid.

                  1. Truly stupid.

                    So you’re saying string theory is truly stupid… I agree, it’s a theory that cannot be proven… much like the plethora of theistic theories.

                    Next step for you is to go to the closest University and start telling all the theoretical physicists that they’re idiots and that they might as well believe in Santa Claus.

                    –owned–

                    1. This argument is proposed more often than you probably imagine. The inherent error in the logic though is that theoretical physics isn’t necessarily a belief in God. When discussing atheism, try to remember that the topic is not afaith. Technically, an atheist can have faith in anything he/she wants to have faith in, as long as they have a lack of belief in God. Suggesting a physicist is a theist because he believes in String Theory is fallacious at best. If I reject the notion of God, but for some reason fear there is ghosts living in my basement or that crystals have healing powers, then that does not disqualify me from being an atheist. It just means that I’m an atheist who believes in ghosts and healing crystals.

                    2. Sigh. No one is calling atheists theists. What is being stated is that they have faith. They believe in something that’s as unprovable as the existence of god.

                    3. Sigh. No one is calling atheists theists. What is being stated is that they have faith. They believe in something that’s as unprovable as the existence of god.

                      I understand what the man is trying to say. I simply want to point out the fact that atheism does not mean anti-faith. It just means lack of belief in God. I even agree with him that people who feel they are “reasoned” and “logical” are usually just as willing to accept knowledge based on faith as any church goer.

            2. Good. I’m really happy you think it’s moral to get your tiny rocks off on women you’ve lied to. Really. A great argument against God.

              1. Isn’t there a bible-study class you could be at?

      2. Zeus isn’t real?

        1. He’s real if you play enough online roleplaying games.

          1. “A life” is real too if you bother to toss out your crusty copies of Swank and leave your parents’ basement.

            1. Nah, parents’ basements are cheap and mother will eventually get used to the sound of young women crying out in brutal, carnal ecstasy as the framed pictures of deceased loved ones crash onto the upstairs living room floor.

              I’m a libertarian, I gotta find ways to save money and not pay taxes while still appealing to a populace of pitiful women. Living at home best suits this endeavor. Money money money!!

        2. Shhh! You’ll confuse everyone.

          Generally he’s played by one of seven intersticed non-durational entities in the pleni in which he/she/it/they are observeable.

          But don’t tell the kids, their hair has just fallen out and they’re hoping for thunderbolts under their pillows.

    2. What’s so impossible about it?

    3. Kind of like John Galt.

  24. Some very smart people believe that, as we get closer to the singularity, it becomes more likely that the singularity has already happened and that we are living in something like an ancestor simulation.

    I’m coming around to this belief myself.

    The scary thing is if this is all some sort of 3D VR grand theft auto, then the programmer (“God”) might really well intend to wreak havoc on our souls for this or that reason after death. Anyone who has ever crushed an ant or played sim city can empathize with this impulse.

    1. “The scary thing is if this is all some sort of 3D VR grand theft auto, then the programmer (“God”) might really well intend to wreak havoc on our souls for this or that reason after death. Anyone who has ever crushed an ant or played sim city can empathize with this impulse”

      M’kay………..
      Avoiding eye contact, backing slowly toward the door…………..

    2. Since they’re gonna do it in about two thousand years, you might as well act as if it’s already been done because it’ll all be the same to you.

      But it’s not like a video game(though someone, somewhere will probably have seen and done this). It’s more the actualization of a realization.

      You want the sad part?

      At some durational point after ‘humanity’ re-initialized it’s entirety(meaning it’s totality of ancestry) they grasped the first ideas that would lead to >existence< in non-linear time(this is/was a side effect of the re-initialization, BTW) and took the first steps that will/would eventually lead to an understanding of non-durational existence.

      Reality was simply left running–but there’s no one home.

  25. NO JEWS

  26. Why do we exist? What’s the point?

    1. Your last question about Extra Terrestrials begs for revision of your entire premise. As I stated before, atheism does not mean a lack of belief, it means a lack of belief in God. This means you can be ignorant to the concept of God; simply not know (agnosticism), or just not care at all. The term atheism is very specific in dealing with the concept of God, not E.T or the drake equation or whether you believe Obama was born in Kenya. It’s about God, nothing else.

      This is where science method is distinguished from atheism totally; the same way that science is distinguished from theism. Science is a tool for providing evidence to support claims about our objective world in which we live, not necessarily absolute proof one way or the other. I can be an atheist and believe that non-carbon life lives on the sun or that zombies are possible or that we are living in the Matrix right now. Atheism does not mean absolute reason and logic, it simply means the lack of belief in God. The reason the debate about God always goes into stalemate is because two assertions can be made… (A) God exists, and (B) God Does Not Exist. Applying either to the scientific method would produce inadequate results because neither can be proven. If you say that you’re an atheist, and you avoid assertions about God’s existence, then the burden of proof will never be on you, no matter how typical it is for someone to ask, “If God didn’t do it, then who did!!”

      1. Also, I agree with you that the onslaught against theism is unjustified for the most part. Our political opposition should be based on careful policy considerations and revisions. It is typical for, say, a republican to vote against drug legalization because he believes in Christianity, so those who disagree with him will conclude that God does not exist and theists are all stupid, instead of just telling him that his policy is wrong. It’s easy to make these clumsy moves in politics. Let me put it this way, If I was a psychedelic drug user in support of drug legalization, and I invented a theory that God created our species but does not know why he himself exists or why the universe exists and simply examined our species to gain perspective…would that really merit the same kind of hatred for theism? Would those who would have hated the republican for voting against legalization hate my theism just as much? Good point.


  27. As much as I love the South Park guys and almost everything they have done, they seem to suffer to some extent from the same lack of understanding of what science is as most people seem to. Science has nothing to do with answering questions like why we are here. It is just the process of creating a model which is consistent with all observations.

    Exactly. Atheism is a philosophical dilemma that attempts to grapple with philosophical inquires such as Does God exist?.The conclusion being “no” for atheists doesn’t negate that it is philosophy. Science and Atheism are not synonymous.

    Atheism ironically attracts a lot of followers who mimic religious traditions such as inventing creation stories; developing moral and ethical thought systems; exhalting spiritual leaders (Richard Dawkins); and especially holding non-believers in vitriolic contempt.

  28. Exactly. Atheism is a philosophical dilemma that attempts to grapple with philosophical inquires such as Does God exist?.The conclusion being “no” for atheists doesn’t negate that it is philosophy. Science and Atheism are not synonymous.

  29. I agree that science and atheism aren’t the same thing, but that doesn’t make atheism a religion in itself as it looks like some try to suggest.

    You can be an atheist and also be religious (as long as your belief system does not include God), such as the Zen Bhuddists, but atheism is in itself not a religion. The reason is because (a; lack of ;theism belief in god) doesn’t necessarily mean belief in God’s non-existence. If somebody was living out in the middle of nowhere and never heard of the concept of God, would they “believe in God’s non-existence”? Ignorance is technically a lack of belief, and in this case, the ignorance would be a lack of belief in God. By default, then, we are all atheist. There are some very preachy and dogmatic people who are atheist who try to convert you to not being theist, but it’s not a religion and doesn’t require belief in anything.

  30. Good interview, I just wish I could have heard Nick’s zingers without Penn Jillette laughing over them while they were being told.

  31. You can have faith. You can have reason. You can have God. They are not mutually exclusive.

  32. As an agnostic I’ve always felt that both athiests and theist are full of shit. Both claim that they “know” what is impossible to know.

    1. It’s unprovable whether there’s a god that created the universe. And it’s not even that interesting of a late-night dorm room question.

      It’s when theists start claiming they know things about this god that its clear to anybody who is a non-believer that they are simply making up stories or repeating stories they were taught as children.

      Take Mr. Mark below: How does he know factoids about the Creator of the Universe such as that He gave Mr. Mark a fairly rational mind or that He is omnipotent?

    2. I never say I am an Athiest. When someone asks me what I believe in this area I respond: “On a 0 to 100 scale with 100 being non-belief there is a god, I am 99.999”

  33. Finally, after having been able to actually WATCH the video (previous environment having been inappropriate for that)…

    [Note I believe in God, but I accept that my belief is utterly irrational]

    1. Getting rid of “I feel it in my heart”:

    – If religious people were prone to acts of terrorism, there would be lots more stuff blowing up. Very few people actively participate in terrorism, and not all of them claim a religious purpose.
    – When examining a terrorist act committed by a group or individual that claims a religious motivation, you have to be able to distinguish between public statements (the narrative) and what really drove a person to do something. Consider that many of the attackers on 9/11 may have had more in common with the Virginia Tech shooter than with their fellow Muslims. Would they wish to wrap their act of violence in an honest proclamation of something they themselves regard as insanity? No, of course not – they choose something that they view as noble and worthy to wrap it in, and for an al Qaida suicide hijacker, Islam fits the bill. Does taking away that narrative prevent the act of terrorism? Don’t know for certain, but I suspect that the kinds of folks who attacked us on 9/11 would just seek out another narrative. Examples of secular narratives abound – just look at the various groups heavily active in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s: Baader Meinhof, Red Brigades, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Sendero Luminoso, et cetera. I think Osama bin Laden came up with this whole al Qaida thing for a purely personal, secular reason: He wanted to be a big shot, a hero, a sort of Islamic version of Beowulf. The narrative of Islamic Jihad certainly was convenient for him, but I think his story is only about 10% genuine religion and 90% personality disorder, with significant mixing of the two.
    – This fascination with “being somebody” comes up again and again in history with really, really bad folks. Examples include Mao Tse-Tung, Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Jim Jones, and Abimael Guzman. These people look like hard-core ideologues, but their ideology is really about one thing – THEM.

    2. The fundamentalist judge, jury, murderer question:

    – How does one make the leap from a person claiming that God told them to do something, and a religious person who shares their faith a.) believing them, and b.) viewing that (if they believed them) as something to exempt the accused from our laws?

    God doesn’t talk to me. If someone says that God told them to kill their family, my suspicions fall into two buckets: Either, a.) They’re lying, or, b.) They’re schizophrenic.

    If I’m wrong and somehow (against my intuition) God actually told them to kill their family, then I don’t believe that God would expect me to know that. I believe God, who gave me a fairly rational mind, would expect me to assume that the accused is either lying, or crazy.

    I suppose the confusion for people comes from the expectation that if God is benevolent and omnipotent, then there should be no unpleasantness in the world. This is a simplistic view.

    I believe that God created everything and that the existence of God is completely separate from that which God created – that the existence of God depends on nothing. Therefore, God is all-powerful and perfect. If God is perfect, then God’s will is perfect. So, if it is God’s will that the Black Death sweep across Europe – it’s perfect. If it is God’s will that the Titanic strike an iceberg – it’s perfect. It it is God’s will that Mao Tse-Tung should rise to power in China and oversee some of the worst mass murders in history – it’s perfect. It’s ugly, it’s sorrowful, it’s hard, it’s sad, it’s terrible, but somehow, once everything gets worked out, it turns out to be perfect.

    That does NOT mean that I believe in living life as if everything were deterministic (physics aside). If I see a problem, I should try to fix it. Should we have done something to stop the cultural revolution in China? Yes. Should the Titanic have avoided that iceberg? Yes. Should the people of Europe sought some solution to the Black Death? Yes. The fact that God’s will often yields results that are unpleasant does not mean that God’s will is malevolent – it just means we don’t understand it.

    So, belief in a benevolent, omnipotent God does NOT require irrational decision-making, acceptance of supernatural claims, or the acceptance of fate. One can be a theist and an otherwise rational thinker simultaneously. I believe in God, but I also believe in science – it’s not an “either/or” decision for me.

    Finally, can you imagine recording this interview and openly posting it in Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Pakistan? The kind of reaction you would get from doing something like THAT is illustrative of the most dangerous form of religion – the religion that can’t handle debate.

  34. “Things always get better.”??? Did Penn forget about the Dark Ages when books were burned on mass? That was progress?

  35. I wish the interviewer hadn’t clowned his way through this clip.

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