Saturday, December 3, 2011

Fox News vs David Silverman

I think this is kind of funny, because David Silverman, president of the American Atheists, obviously knows exactly the kind of reception he's going to get on the Fox Business Network, so he comes out swinging and never lets up.

What do atheists do, since we don't pray during times of trouble? Well, personally, I've always liked Tom Bodett: "But it's not like fifty years of living hasn't taught me how to cope, and I'm doing what I've always done when faced with a frightening and depressing new challenge. I get frightened. And depressed."

Heh, heh. That's truer than any of us would wish, no doubt. But seriously, we do what any rational person does. Even if you pray to some invisible god, that's not all you do, not if you have even a lick of sense. No one relies on prayer, and for good reason. It might make you feel better, but that's all it's going to do. Even believers pretty well recognize that.

But it's three on one here at Fox, just as you'd expect. Silverman can't afford to back down, not that backing down seems to be in his nature, anyway. :)

The host's name, I believe, is Stuart Varney. "Have you no life outside your own physical self?" That could be interpreted in different ways, but Silverman knows exactly what Varney is getting at. But when Silverman answers the question honestly, he's accused of "mocking people."

Is it "mocking" to disagree with people? Well, when you disagree about religion, that's commonly the claim. Why? Well, I think it's because believers normally get an exaggerated degree of respect here in America, so they've come to think of it as their due. They're not used to disagreement. (Silverman does mock them a bit later, but by then the discussion has deteriorated beyond repair.)

"But that's your opinion. That's completely your opinion." I don't know who that loud-mouthed blonde woman is, but Silverman replies with the truth: that's why he's there. That's why, supposedly, he's been invited on Fox, to say what he thinks.

But when he tries, Varney quickly calls a stop to it. "You're not going to get on a soapbox and teach me how to be a good atheist." Silverman interjects, "You asked!" But they didn't bring him on Fox to let him speak, did they? They had no intention of that.

Note that this interview probably took place in August, since that's when Hurricane Irene threatened the East coast. (It was just now posted by the UK atheist; that's how I saw it.) The general question is, "Where do atheists turn in times of crisis," but given the situation, Silverman tells them specifics about what atheists are doing right then, to prepare for the hurricane. As I say, believers are doing the same things, of course. No rational person relies on prayer for anything but comfort.

"Roman Catholics can prepare for earthquakes, too, believe it or not." I think blondie has gotten so upset she's forgotten that it's a hurricane, not an earthquake. "We buy candles. We buy water. And we happen to say prayers at night."

But that's the whole point. If prayers were effective, they wouldn't have to do all those other things. She knows that, or she wouldn't bother to buy candles and water. She just doesn't want to admit it.

Finally, Varney interrupts because "Dave Briggs has something to say." Heh, heh. Clearly, two on one hasn't been as effective as they'd wished, huh? (Well, at least Varney said his name. I still don't know who the woman was.)

So there's this priest who is, supposedly, praying for his parishioners while boarding up the windows of his church. Clearly, this is a guy who understands how useless prayers really are! After all, if God can't - or won't - even protect his church, despite the priest's prayers, why bother praying at all?

Then blondie again, in that piercing voice of hers, "How can you say that? Prayer brings comfort to so many people!" Yes, it's probably comforting, I'll give her that. It's just useless. Comfort is not the point. That's not why atheists don't pray.


Jeff said...

George Carlin: Religion is bulls**t.

WCG said...

Yeah, that's a great clip, Jeff. Thanks! I think I put it in a post some time ago, but it's always worth re-watching.