Ask an Atheist with Sam Mulvey

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Darwin for Science

Sam welcomes Miles Greb, organizer of Seattle’s March for Science. Dan explains ozone. [Ranjan does something].





Do keep talking about politics. As one of an agnostic persuasion, I think it is important that our community discusses all aspects of our lives and how we connect and interact with them. Politics, especially in the current situation, is part of that in deep, meaningful, and often threatening ways. If our community doesn’t engage and talk about politics, we won’t be represented in politics. I appreciate the fact that there is side talk, personal talk, and funny talk. It helps the weighty issues go down more easily. I particularly appreciate when not everyone behind the mike agrees but everyone engages with integrity and thoughtful dialogue.

Side note, I’m currently living in Chicago but I used to live across the Puget Sound from Seattle and went into Tacoma frequently. You give me a taste of home each week! And I’ve gotten other family members hooked!
Bethany from Chicago

Hi Sam,

I wanted to let you know that I enjoy the show in its latest iteration as much as I have enjoyed it in the past.

I first heard your show when my friend Three Ninjas was on the show as a musician. This would have been just a year after I realized that I had been an atheist for some time but unable to admit it to myself. I was working as a music director at a Southern Baptist Church, and this was around the same time the Dennet/LaScola study on pastors who were secretly atheist (which led to the founding of The Clergy Project) began making the news rounds. The president of one of the SBC’s seminaries wrote about it, stating how terrible it is that people like those in the study exist and how they should feel ashamed. [My] pastor wrote a short thing from the same perspective in the church newsletter. Reading it was the most eye-opening moment I’d had in a long time. I realized I was one of those secret atheists working in the church.

When I did start listening to podcasts regularly, to stay sane while working in a very conservative church under a super fundamentalist pastor (who actually believes that eagles have talons and sharp, strong beaks to crack open COCONUTS since no animals ate flesh prior to the flood) your show was one of the first I subscribed to.

The change from being mostly about atheism to being more a mixture of atheism and social justice coverage is one that mirrored my own journey. These days, now free of the church, I think very little about religious belief (as little as one living in the Deep South with a Southern Baptist pastor for a father can do) and much more about the issues effecting those with less privilege than I. I have embraced humanism, feminism, and LGBTQ rights as causes I care about, along with a separation of church and state, so I enjoy hearing these things covered. I also love the science segments.

So basically, this long e-mail is to say: I’m still listening, I enjoy the content, and keep doing what you’re doing! I feel the name of your show, “Ask An Atheist” is still apt as you’re still an atheist and it does inform, and is informed by, the other aspects of your life.

I did consider fast forwarding through some of the baseball talk in that one episode, but I stuck with it. 🙂
Nick from The Internet

I’m enjoying the show’s break from atheism and skepticism. We need to talk about Donald.
Teri from The Internet

De Vos, possible repeal of the Johnson amendment…? I think these entirely intersect between the Cheeto in chief and atheism. Keep up the good work.
Pat from The Internet

If it’s any consolation, I didn’t really pay deep attention to the show until you guys started talking about all the things in life that are around and tangent to being an atheist. That turned you (for me) from representatives and talking point vectors into humans with whom I can relate. I am much more comfortable with the podcast and I listen more closely because, in addition to the news stories and information, I find out about who you are, which helps me judge the information better.

Also, you won my heart with the “LARPING as a baseball fan” line. Thanks a lot.
Murphy from The Internet

The Best Words This Week

Not all of this was covered, but it’s worth documenting what the week was like.

  • Federal Appeals Court upholds district courts’ rulings on executive 7-country travel bans, allowing immigration and travel to continue WaPost
  • Trump hints that “nothing is off the table” with regards to issuing a new executive order restricting immigration, and indicates he’s still invested in “extreme vetting”CNN
  • Trump attempted to insult all democrats and those of Native American ancestry by tweeting that “Pocahontas is the new face of the democratic party,” referring to Elizabeth Warren
  • FBI is investigating Standing Rock activists Guardian; Army Corps of Engineers grants final easement to finish DAPL CNN
  • Alec Baldwin more believable president than actual president, as Dominican newspaper accidentally features the comic’s photo BBC
  • Trump has hissy fit because his press secretary Sean Spicer is being portrayed by a woman actor on Saturday Night Live (Melissa McCarthy) TeenVogue
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