Episode 12 – Everything Gets You Soaking Wet

This week we interview Ronn Bauman (Scaramouche) of the Tortuga Twins about 12 hours after we first interviewed him because Tim was a dumb fuck and overwrote the original podcast.  So yeah, this whole podcast is us trying to remember how interesting we were the first time we talked about all of this stuff.  You be the judge.  Ronn is a huge fan of the podcast and promises that if he ever relocates to Minnesota, he will find a way to get himself included in every podcast in a creepy stalker fashion.  We talk about how we, as atheists need to avoid underestimating the “opposition” and Ronn answers our five questions.

P.S:  We had such a great time talking to Ronn, we recorded a second podcast (that Tim did not delete) and we’ll be airing that one sometime in the next couple of months!

Edit to add: Hi everyone, Molly here. I want to apologize for misquoting the study I mentioned about atheists. I said the study found people would rather leave their child with a terrorist than an atheist. I misremembered the actual study I meant, which shows that those polled trust rapists more than atheists, and would rather leave their child with a random religious person than a daycare run by an atheist. I deeply regret the error, and I hope you can all forgive me my off-the-cuff mistake. I would also like to state, for the record, that terrorism is perpetuated by all races and creeds; if I say terrorist, I never mean “Arab” or “Muslim” any more than I mean “Christian” or “pro-lifer” or “Black & Tan.”

Show notes below the fold:


We briefly mention the Ark encounter in Kentucky.  If you haven’t heard of it, you can check out their official page.  Yes, this is a real thing.

A little bit of information about “Brights,” which we incorrectly identify as starting with Richard Dawkins.  That’s right Richard Dawkins, everything that we don’t like about atheism is YOUR FAULT – even when it’s not!


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24 Responses to Episode 12 – Everything Gets You Soaking Wet

  1. Which study are they referring to when the woman says people prefer to leave their child with a “terrorist” over an atheist? oh you must refer to the social distance studies where it is “Muslim” not “terrorist” congratulations on activating a prejudiced stereotype to counter a prejudiced stereotype of atheists. Neil Degrasse Tyson has come out and claimed to be agnostic yes, that is his personal belief which has no relevance to his position of being a scientist and an educator. Price of fame? He’s not a celebrity, he is a scientist…

    • Tyson is an astrophysicist and science communicator; he’s also on television very frequently. He regularly makes appearances on The Daily Show, Colbert Report, and Real Time with Bill Maher. He is slated to be the host of the next incarnation of Cosmos, making him a TV personality. That’s fame, man. Being a scientist and a celebrity aren’t mutually exclusive.

      I’m not sure which study she referred to, but I’m sure she could look for a citation for you, if you’d like, and if Molly mispoke or misquoted, I bet she’ll correct her statement in a comment.

      Edit to include:

      You are probably assuming she was quoting the University of Minnesota study: Atheists As “Other”: Moral Boundaries and
      Cultural Membership in American Society

      Perhaps she meant to say rapist, instead of terrorist, and was referencing this:


    • For the record, her name is Molly. It’s all over the site and we mention it on every podcast. At least twice.

      I’m just wondering what makes you think that someone must be a scientist or a celebrity.

      I would argue that Tyson is both. Celebrity is not a vocation. It is something that happens if your vocation puts you in the public eye. Actors are not celebrities simply by virtue of being actors.

    • Nick is right, and I meant to quote the second study, where it says people would rather leave their children with a known rapist than a known atheist. I deeply regret the error. Beyond saying so here, I’ll make sure to say something on the site as a blog post. Thanks for pointing that out, but I wish you’d given me the benefit of the fucking doubt and not jumped to the conclusion that I intended to perpetuate a racist stereotype.

      Also, as Tim said, my name is Molly. I’m not The Woman. You must be thinking of Irene Adler.

  2. At 7:43 “….but people are so terrified of being out as an atheist. People trust atheists less than almost any other category of people…less than Muslims…like they did a poll where it was like would you rather leave your child in the care of a known terrorist or an atheist”

    If you’re going to cite social psychology experiments on implicit attitudes, you may want to review implicit measures, which you gave a perfect demonstration of.

    • Was the above response not satisfactory enough where the continued conversation merited a new thread? Please help me understand what you’re trying to accomplish. Why the truncated quote, specifically not including the other groups mentioned?

      Also, is it Tim or Anon? Why the different credentials for the second post?

    • I apologized. I said I misremembered and misspoke. I edited our post to reflect this. Beyond that, what more can I do? I’m not in possession of a time machine. I don’t understand what you’re trying to accomplish. I admitted I fucked up and apologized for it, and righted the error the best I could.

  3. Here’s what bugs me, whoever you are:

    1) Molly apologized for the mistake and has done everything but asking me to re-record the podcast a third time and you either don’t care or didn’t bother to read what she wrote.

    2) You went through the trouble of finding an exact moment in our podcast and transcribing it and yet you couldn’t even be bothered to learn Molly’s name or apologize when it was pointed out that she had one.

    3) Your comment about Neil Degrasse Tyson being a scientist and not a celebrity was absurd, as Nick and I pointed out. You have chosen to ignore our comments – I imagine because you recognize your point was ill conceived but you are unwilling to concede the point.

    So basically, you got an apology for a genuine error and we put a correction on the site but you aren’t willing to apologize for the basic error of failing to find out the name of who you were talking about or even acknowledge that an apology was offered.

    Feels to me like you’re trolling. At the very least, if you are only interested in hammering the same point over and over again, I’d suggest that it is time to stop.

  4. Well…The different credentials, and most probably the reason for the new thread would be because Anon would be a different person from myself…that person being my spouse who listened to that portion of the communication. There was no truncation, it is not ellipses within brackets for omitted information that she used, but rather ellipses representative of the pauses during speech.

    I believe the point she was trying to make was that Molly transitioned directly from the word Muslim into ‘known terrorist’ context in her speech. This is irrelevant though as cognitive tension will serve to create a further cycle of diversion and derision.

    Thanks for the article information I gave it a look over and it was interesting but not surprising as it is the norm ingroup vs. outgroup reaction. Though the webpage link you provide is so very heavily skewed I can see where so many misconceptions stem from. I think the paper gives a much clearer perception:

    “Matters are different for atheists, however. If belief in moralizing gods is used as a signal of trustworthiness, it follows that those
    who explicitly deny the existence of gods are not merely expressing
    private disbelief; they are also sending the wrong signal. A key
    consequence of religious prosociality, therefore, is distrust of

    • This is in reference to society being built upon a moralistic ingroup belief system around religion to eliminate freerider effects as society grew larger. This is not to say atheists are void of morals (nor freeriders) before someone takes it down that often cited defunct route. The sample included 351 Americans the break-down was “Christian (67%), Jewish (1%), Atheist2 (3%), Agnostic (4%), “None” (17%), and “Other” (9%). On a binary Yes/No question assessing belief in God, 14% (n  49) indicated that they did not believe in God.”

      Given the reported religious affiliations of the sample it is clear to see atheists would be considered an outgroup by many of the participants, even outnumbered by agnostics in the sample.

      An important distinction to note it was not general religious belief which predicted distrust of atheists, it was response to “importance of God in your life” rating which was shown to significantly predict distrust of atheists. Why’s this important? Well a person can be religious and still find atheists trustworthy if they don’t center every aspect of their life around it, or they can take it to an extreme in which case they may be more likely to distrust atheists. Again this is simply what has been found to be the most likely outcome (not absolute) given the sample taken and conducting ANOVA and regression analysis on the data.

      I am also unable to find mention of any case of preferring to ‘leave your child in the care of a rapist/terrorist over an atheist’. What the study demonstrated was that with high trust jobs, such as daycare, the respondents preferred someone with religion (makes sense in light of ingroup offspring care) over an atheist or rapist (by the way the confidence error bars between the two had huge overlap). As stated “Only people with a proven track record of untrustworthy conduct—rapists—were distrusted to a comparable degree as atheists.”

      This is far from an ideal perception of atheists to equate them with rapists, and thus it is good more atheists begin to come out and openly identify themselves as such (same with agnostics). We tend to stereotype and derogate minorities with negative actions due to their being uncommon to us and that we focus on the negativity or extreme acts and build strong associations between the action and group.

      • The issue I address here is the misinformation which your broadcast presented with regards to this study. You identified which study you referred to, I looked into it and I found inconsistencies between what was said (e.g., preference for rapists over atheists) and tried to explain the possible reasoning behind the reported distrust.

        This may seem like small potatoes but it is important to keep information as accurate as possible when relaying findings from research studies (note it wasn’t a poll as stated). Just as bias tends to occur when encoding and influences retrieval of the information, how many will go on to perpetrate false information that people trust rapists with their kids over atheists.

        I’ll also agree with something you all said on another point, creationism and religion do not belong in a [science] classroom in my opinion (sorry I don’t know which person said it, just as I did not know Molly’s name. I merely followed the link from the Tortuga Twins’ facebook feed update.) Atheism does not belong in a science classroom either. They are both belief systems and are beyond the scope of empirical testing, only theory and that which is testable belong in the realm of science. We should leave questions of theism to philosophy or private/religious based schools.

        Anyway thanks again for introducing me to the article, no offense was intended by “the woman” referral (i.e. woman’s voice most distinctive contrasting with 3 ‘men’/or Scaramouche(Ronn), Nick, and Tim)

        • Hi Tim, I’m Tim. Nice to meet you, now you know who I am. I read what was written, previous replies contain an apology. Sorry I don’t see Tyson as a celebrity any more than I saw Sagan as a celebrity though both were in the public’s view. It just doesn’t fit my schema of celebrity, just as President of the US, nor British Royals fall into that category for me. I composed a long reply which had to be broken down into now 4 posts, as timestamp shows they were directly after each other as I pasted them into the limited character text box provided. So sorry you’re ‘bugged’ or feel I’m ‘trolling’. It appears commentary (or nonconforming commentary) is not welcome here. Also as pointed out you’re lumping together two separate individuals who posted

          I leave the last word to you all, and quietly leave the ‘geeks without god’ sandbox to return to my own. As a parting gift, a quote from Tyson related to the merits of being scientifically literate.

          “If you’re scientifically literate, the world looks very different to you. It’s not just a lot of mysterious things happening. There is a lot we understand out there, and that understanding empowers you to first not be taken advantage of by those who do understand it, and second there’s issues which confront society that have science as their foundation” – Neil Degrasse Tyson

          • OK, we’ll all calm down here. Nonconforming commentary is welcome. We approved all of your commentary. That doesn’t mean we have to agree with it, does it?

            The three of us are opinionated and like a good argument. We’re going to defend our opinion vocally. That’s who we are.

            When we get two comments coming from the same IP address that refer to the same thing, it sure seems like it’s the same person and when the issue has already been addressed, it feels a lot like trolling. My apologies. I made an incorrect assumption in the heat of an argument and that is most certainly unfair. I’ll do better next time. I promise.

            Given that the most common definition of “celebrity” is “a famous person” and Neil Degrasse Tyson is unquestionably a famous person, I have no idea why you are resistant to defining him as such but I couldn’t disagree with you more. Tyson (and the President and the Queen of England) are celebrities, whether you see them as such or not.

            There was an excellent BBC series called “Fame in the 20th Century” that is difficult to find but it addresses how celebrity changed in the 20th century and it looks at actors, musicians, politicians and many other individuals through the lens of the changing phenomena of fame in the 20th century. If you can get your hands on it, it is a fascinating series.

            Whether you agree with us, don’t agree with us or think some of what we say is awesome and some of it is full of shit – thanks for listening!

    • I know that there isn’t a point in the study that says people would rather leave their child with a terrorist OR rapist versus an atheist. I stated the correct results of the study when I added a correction on the podcast post above. I chose not to edit my earlier comment to you because I didn’t want to appear to be changing what I said behind the scenes.

      Edited to remove the rest of my reply here. I don’t feel like arguing this anymore. I stand by my apology and I know that I wasn’t demonstrating implicit measures, because that’s just not the way I think about terrorism. Terrorism isn’t the domain of any one race, country, or creed.

  5. Tim and his numbering. This Episode’s file is labeled “Episode-13…”. shouldn’t it be “12”?

    • You only just noticed that? File name couldn’t be changed after I uploaded it. At least there’s a file number on it – even if it’s wrong. Quit yer’ whining.

      I actually wanted to label it 12.1 since it was the second time we recorded it.

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  7. First time ever listening to the podcast – found you guys through Scaramouche’s FB – and wow! I’m only sorry I didn’t find you guys sooner. I’m about to go through the archive but I just wanted to say thank you for doing this! If this interview reflects what you guys usually bring to the table, then I know I’m in for a treat with each podcast.

    Oh, and thank you for correcting the mistake, Molly, about the survey. It’s still unsettling to think that there’d be so much of a difference of who parents would trust with their kids. I need to look into it, though, because I’m wondering if they had an “doesn’t matter to me” option. If they didn’t, then for people that it didn’t really matter to, they may have flipped a coin in their heads and that might’ve skewed the results. Or not. I shouldn’t be commenting on it until I’ve studied it more.

    • Oh go ahead and comment before you study it more! We do it all the time! That’s what the show notes are for!

      • Normally, I would, but I honestly had nothing to comment on because I had no base of knowledge. I finally read the linked article and what surprised me the most was that the whole “Richard’s a dick” passage. Ignoring the wonderful word play, people put down that they thought he was a rapist. What does hitting a car and taking a wallet have to do with raping? That’s like saying I bought two oranges, therefore I’m a welder. Logically, I could say that about all of the options, but the rapist option struck me as the most bizarre.

        Oh, and I think these answered were skewed because they didn’t offer a “none of the above” kind of option. Such as with the day care provider and waitress question. From what the article said, people had to say they’d put a Christian in one and an atheist in the other. The chart did not have an section called, “That’s not what I look for in a waitress or a day care provider.” It may not affect the results all that much but that option should be there or it’s like those internet personality/what character are you quizzes – none of the multiple choices really fit, so you go with the closest/most comfortable.

  8. Pingback: September 2012 – I’m going to try to make this short sweet and informative… like honey-coated dwarf with a GPS | Tortuga Twins Dev

  9. How can you draw parallels between being called an angry atheist and an articulate black? That is really offensive, especially noting how tied the modern atheist movement is to white privilege. I had really liked this podcast as an example of non-douchey atheism, but this episode with that comparison, and Molly’s utterly unashamed admission of anti-theist bigotry, has made me question that. I really hope you guys improve and going forth this is the podcast the first good handful of episodes were and not this episode.

    • I think it’s clear from the contentious comment thread on this episode that we made a few mistakes here. We’ve recorded over 165 episodes. If there wasn’t something in there with which you disagreed, I’d be shocked. We don’t edit the conversation; you get to hear exactly how it goes down. If you’ve never said something in a conversation that, in hindsight, you realized was not your best self, then I applaud you for it. You’re an anomaly. :)

      For what it’s worth, I don’t remember which of us drew that parallel (this was more than 3 years ago) but I agree with you that it’s a bad parallel to draw.

      I remain unashamed of my criticism of theism. I’m an atheist in part because I think religion is harmful to society as a whole. Criticizing beliefs or ideas is not bigotry.

      Here are some links which go into it more:

      Thanks so much for listening!