Talk Heathen is a weekly call-in television show in Austin, Texas geared toward long-form and on-going dialogue with theists & atheists about religion, theism, & secularism. Call 1-512-991-9242 every Sunday from 1-2pm CDT. Talk Heathen is produced by the Atheist Community of Austin.
The Atheist Community of Austin is organized as a nonprofit educational corporation to develop & support the atheist community, to provide opportunities for socializing & friendship, to promote secular viewpoints, to encourage positive atheist culture, to defend the first amendment principle of government-religion separation, to oppose discrimination against atheists & to work with other organizations in pursuit of common goals.
Talk Heathen 06.26 06-26-2022 with ObjectivelyDan and MD Aware
Welcome to Talk Heathen! Today we have ObjectivelyDan and MD Aware who will tackle the topic of abortion taking calls from people on both sides of the spectrum.
First caller is Mark in MS who is believes in the resurrection, but is also in favor of pro-choice stemming from his experiences as an OBGYN. You have to put a value of person-hood on the fetus. MD asks him, “Where do you draw the line? How late a term of abortion would you be comfortable performing?” What deserves protection and rights? Viability outside the womb as a practical criteria has its limits.
Charles, a Christian from OH, uses the “No True Scotsman” fallacy to attack the previous caller. He then proceeds to ask the hosts why they consider themselves atheists and what standard of evidence is needed for them to believe. We have not seen all the unique claims of Christianity to be true. You must be more specific than just saying the “Christian God”, and for every property you state, there must be justification as evidence. We have meaningful explanations for how our sun was formed, and there is no god required. How do you prove that something supernatural actually exists? Not only have we seen stars being formed, but we also understand how this happens. We want to know and use the best methodologies to get to the truth and this is a standard that no religion has met. Why do you believe what you believe? Is it due to observations or because a book made the claim?
Andrew from ME, wants to talk about the recent SCOTUS abortion decision. His claim is that it leads to a more democratic process because it throws the decision back to the states. When slavery was legal, and states had the right to determine if slaves can be owned, was that a good thing or a bad thing? Do you think that democracy is the best way to make these sorts of decisions? Should everything be decided by democratic decisions and is this a fair way to run a society? What kinds of checks and balances should we have? Does the will of the people have anything to do with people’s rights?
Laura from England discusses having a bi-polar condition and was pregnant at 17. She found out early and made the choice to have an abortion. She asks, “If people can’t look after themselves in this world, how can they have a child?” Our other rights could be on the chopping block and we need to continue to raise hell about this until we make that change. In Texas, there are no exceptions for rape, incest, and other things. Some people may not be capable of understanding the consequences of a pregnancy and the associated decisions to be made. These decisions need not be made by men!
Teo from Croatia asks if the hosts consider Christianity a hoax, and why they do not say that it is just a different path that may work for some people. This path decides policies and what rights to have such as the right to have an abortion. How do you measure who is right? It is not about what you believe, but it is about why you believe.
Thank you for tuning in, and huge gratitude to our essential workers! See you next week!
Talk Heathen 06.25 06-19-2022 with Katy Montgomerie and Kenneth Leonard
Welcome to Talk Heathen! Today host Katy Montgomerie is joined by the amazing Kenneth Leonard who will talk with callers who present a number of ideas to them for contemplation, and talk about wasp facts involving caterpillar AIDS. In light of Father’s Day, who was the worst dad in the Bible? Abraham? Lot? Noah? Jephthah? How about Yahweh himself?
First up is Davan in NE who argues the soul could potentially exist partly because of having out of body experiences, even though rationally he attributes these experiences to a dream. The idea of the soul as originally brought out by the texts is valid is his stance. How can any given experience be evidence for a soul if we know these things happen in the brain? Why would we use the “soul” label? Does the soul have some other component that is not part of the brain or body?
Next is Teo from Croatia who wants to talk about the possibility of a heathen experiencing a Christian god. Would you agree that it is possible for people to imagine things that are logical and make sense? How do we tell the difference between experiencing a god and our imagination? Is it possible to believe things on faith that are not true? How do you know you have had an experience with a god and if it is true? Why should anybody believe that a god has manifested anywhere? Could your same reasoning prove a genie? If you can’t prove something does not exist, does that mean you can prove that it does exist?
Judy from IN has an insight that we are stardust because fluorine from another planet is connected to the fluoride in our body. Katy explains who things formed including large stars, nuclear fusion, and supernovas. Scientific claims need to be supported by evidence. Truth is valued differently in the scientific community than it is the Christian community. If we have a claim, we should be able to test that model.
Tony in NY feels that atheism only works in the physical world and that money is a god that we worship. Does not believing in Santa Clause only work in the physical world? Money is real and has transactional value as currency. What is the evidence of there being a non-physical world? Why do you think that thoughts are not physical? What in money maps the claim that god exists? Is there anything that religion is essential for, and we could not achieve through secular means? As atheists, we are not saying religions do not exist. We are only saying it is possible to exist without religion.
Chris in Scotland would like to know if it is possible to be moral without knowing how bad you can be. He wants to know if you can truly know the best without knowing the worst. Morals are not well defined. Without defining morals, this statement is as ridiculous as not running a marathon if you never had cancer. Can you climb Mt. Everest without making your bed?
Thank you for joining us today and to the essential workers! We will see you next week!
Talk Heathen 06.24 06-12-2022 with Jmike and ObjectivelyDan
Welcome to Talk Heathen where we have Jmike joined by ObjectivelyDan who will see what caller has evidence the gospels are historical.
First caller is Devan in MI who describes proof as the handy work and god as the mechanic. How do you falsify this position? Why does it have to be the Christian god? We can all construct a hypothesis about anything, but it must allow for falsification. How would you know what a non-designed thing looks like? The gospels make particular claims about the world and the life of Jesus, and this is where we take issue. If this is hard to swallow, why do you believe it? What other stories like Joseph Smith and Muhammad can we consider to be plausible?
Zach in NY is next, who used to be a follower of Sam Harris and wants to talk about free will. His position is that it is difficult to claim any kind of truth without it being grounded in faith and there are gaps and limitations in what atheists know as truth. When we think something is true, there is a justification for that belief, not faith. Free will means there are intentional states laden with the ability to choose. Does an agent's attitude towards a proposition have anything to do with whether or not that the proposition is true? How does volition sneak in when there is this entire trail of explanations? Did you conclude Jesus rose from the dead before or after considering these arguments? The strength of a secular world view is we don’t have to explain the claims made in scriptures.
Here To Serve in NY questions the use of the word faith in relation to the hosts being former Christians and that the hosts were never true Christians. Why don’t you make us true Christians by giving us evidence? An argument using logical propositions is not the same thing as evidence. Arguments do not lead to evidence. We look at evidence first and that leads us to the conclusion. Whenever you have a trail of reasoning, the premises must be true. Ad hominem fallacies do not prove anything about the seven day cycle.
Thank you for tuning in this week and please join us next time to see who can provide the evidence that gets us to believe!
Talk Heathen 06.23 06-05-2022 with Johnny P Angel and Kenneth Leonard
Greetings! Today we have the talented duo of Johnny Angel and Kenneth Leonard who will patiently present questions to callers that cause deep thinking about how to determine what is true.
First caller is Ernie from CA who has proof of Jesus. It is because the Bible, which has always been true, talks about giants and we can find fossils of giants all over the world. Then there is Nimrod, who is why we have continents and the earth no longer has Pangea. Where is the connection between all this and god? When is it time to believe something is true? Why is the Bible a reliable source of truth? How do you know what Jesus said about anything? Did you know that the Rig Veda has been around longer than the Bible?
Next caller is Sasha from OR who is exploring Reiki and Astrology as spiritual practices. Love is when you are operating through your heart chakra. How do you define spirituality, the concept of love, chakras, and energy? Can these things be measured by any kind of scientific instruments? Why is the medical industry not making money off of Reiki? How do you tell the difference between feeling the effects of these things and something your brain is doing? What is the experimental design for proving these claims? How do you know something exists other than tradition?
Mark from MS no longer believes some of the things in the bible such as the original sin, 6,000 year old earth, and the flood, but still considers himself a Christian. He believes in a creator but it should not be taught in schools. Why are you still a Christian? What does it mean for someone to be a Christian? If you don’t believe in original sin, what is the purpose of the crucifixion and resurrection? Why do you believe he died in front of his disciples? Is there independent extra-biblical evidence for this? What tools are we using to arrive at our conclusions?
Drew from WA would like to know how to respond to friends when they get offended from being told that god isn’t real. We say that we don’t believe that god exists and ask for evidence. You want to produce a conversation, not a confrontation. If friends are using slurs or hurtful terms, you do not need to hang out with them. Look at some of Anthony Magnabosco’s work and Street Epistemology for ideas on how to address this. You do not owe anyone an explanation of who you are.
Aelora in OR has a question about advice heard from witches on TikTok that is inducing abortion by taking different herbs. People who have taken this advice ended up in the hospital or dying. They want to know about this in light of Roe Vs. Wade. This is one of the effects that magical thinking has on the mind. There are people that are science educators who listen for this kind of stuff and make response videos. Look for doctors on TikTok such as MD Aware, that address this and tag them so that it can be effectively dealt with.
That is it for the show! Keep up the good work and support of our essential workers. See you next week!
Talk Heathen 06.22 05-29-2022 with JMike and ExXtian Erin
Explore with us how theists describe what they believe and why with Jmike and special guest ExXtian Erin!
First caller is James in Canada who wants to talk about the utility of using philosophy as proof for god. If a perfectly syllogistic argument is presented that shows god is true, do we become theists? The hosts explain that sometimes people think that if they are a Christian, it will convince the audience better than scripture or facts will. Syllogistic arguments have just not been presented to us yet. Oftentimes words are used differently or incorrectly.
Amanda in TX would like to talk about Christian forgiveness in cases of child abuse. Erin explains that the idea of being forced to forgive everyone is one way abusers escape accountability. There is no need to forgive everybody and encourage further victim blaming. It does not always help to be forced to move forward with something before you are ready. Anger is a valid emotion and tells us something to stay safe or prevent further harm. There are some things that we need to stay angry about.
Bee in VA who has an acquaintance that does not want to talk about religion but brings up strong opinions on the LGBTQ community. This person has been told about what is in the Bible but has not read it. They are not accepting that sex and gender distinction is based on a text they have not even fully read. It helps to go through the person’s reasonings and discuss ideas. If what they believe is true, there should be nothing to fear with investigations. You will have to break this down granularly. Ask yourself what you want out of this friendship or if you are worried about this person. Avoid getting your friend on the defensive and try to figure out some good boundaries.
Patrick in FL asserts that atheism is a leap of faith exactly the same as theism. He describes atheism as a rejection of any possibility of god. What do you think atheism is? Our distinction is that there is not sufficient evidence for god. We don’t reject the idea that there would ever be any evidence in the future. Which god do you believe in? If we do not believe there is an even number of atoms in the universe, does that mean that we believe there is an odd number of atoms? What is the evidence for the god you believe in?
Michael in AZ asks what a prosperity minister would say if there was a news report of a more advanced extraterrestrial civilization contacting us. There are already teachings that are working these ideas into their doctrines. You can always hide god behind something in every case. He also asks if it is true that god wanted the first born of all the Egyptians to be killed before the mass Exodus. These are just stories and no reason to believe that these things happened.
Thank you everyone for tuning in huge thanks to the essential workers. We appreciate you!
Talk Heathen 06.21 05-22-2022 with Katy Montgomerie and JMike
Hosts of Talk Heathen, Eric and Jamie, must be one of the sweetest men in podcasts about atheism. They're the kind of people you want to talk when you're unsure of what are your beliefs and where you are going with them and especially when you feel scared to talk to anyone. They frequently try to provide resources and help for the listeners who are at the crossroads of their life. Eric and Jamie won't leave the caller hanging - and in nearly every episode they let listeners to know what happened to the callers from the previous episodes as the phone calls usually carry over multiple of episodes. It creates the sense of continuity and growth on an individual level. If you look a show about atheism that has humane approach and kick ass intro, Talk Heathen is for you.