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I’m Not Writing About Ben Shapiro, But I Might Be Retiring

What Was New Atheism?

“The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh and Ben Shapiro gloated over Florida legislation whose sole purpose is to punish and silence an American corporation for its disloyalty to Gov. DeSantis. Never mind that it will likely never take effect.”

Saturday Essay: Sylvania bus battle

CNN Purge: John Harwood Stands For Democracy In Final Segment

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Show Transcript

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Doug Berger 0:02
In this episode, I point out what podcaster Tanner Campbell got wrong about his old remembered complaints over Atheism Plus, then I gave an update about the Sylvania bus dispute. And my thoughts on the remaking of CNN into Fox “news” light. I’m Doug Berger. And this is Secular Left.

Doug Berger 0:45
Okay, basically, I am a hobbyist in podcasting, as it were, I’m not making any money on this, I’m spending my own money to produce it. I hope that people donate, I’ve had one or two people donate, but it’s not something I’m looking to build a business out of. But I do like to know, you know, get hints and tips from people who are successful at it, to maybe help grow it. And and, and I know how I can grow this podcast, I can spend 1000s of dollars on advertising, or by advertising on a podcast player, and things like that. I know, those little things I can do, I can boost posts on on Facebook, although that’s not really that great either. And so what I do, on my off time, when I’m not dealing with church and state separation issues and social justice issues is, is I keep up on what’s going on in the podcasting community. And so I have I subscribe to several different newsletters. One of them is pod, pod news, which is, has real good information on it. So one of the people that I listen to listen to, and try to get advice about podcasting is from somebody named Tanner Campbell. And he is opinionated. He is He has some, some, you know, he doesn’t suffer fools when it comes to podcasting. I’ve gotten a couple of good hints from him and some tips and, and things like I don’t agree with everything that he talks about, because he, you know, he talks about throwing around $3,000 To do a pilot for a podcast that he doesn’t think will ever be published. I wish I had $3,000 I really do. But anyway, he’s successful at it. He’s been successful at it for many, many years, almost 10 years. And so one of the things that he also does is he goes to these conferences, and there’s these different conferences that happen around the world that promote podcasting, and podcasters go there and they meet other podcasters and, and they, you know, works just like any other professional conferences, is there’ll be vendors with equipment and expertise and, and things like that get trinkets. You know, it’s a real good time when you can go and finally, with the pandemic kind of simmering down these conferences, it started back up meeting in person. And last month at the end of last month. Last week in August, there was the Podcast Movement Conference, which is a very big show a conference it was being held in Dallas, Texas, I believe it was this year. And Tanner went. Well. Something happened at the conference that got played up, at least on social media. The right winger, Ben Shapiro, who is who does a podcast, wasn’t registered at the conference. But he his company, daily wire was a sponsor and had a booth and he showed up at at the company booth and shook hands and had pictures taken. And people got upset because he’s a bigot. He just as a bigot. He’s very successful podcaster but he’s a terrible person. And so there was a division about whether or not he should have been invited or been there and in a Podcast Movement just issued a statement the other day that they were going to work more in the future to make sure surprises like that didn’t happen because they were totally surprised that he would show up. And, and I have an opinion on that. And I probably at the end of this segment I might talk about it. Maybe maybe not. I might write about it later on on My extra, my secular left nuggets. Who knows? Anyway, so Tanner, I get his newsletter. Good morning podcasters. It’s part of his podcast that he does to give tips it used to be called podcasting sucks. And that’s what kind of drew me to it initially. And, and then he decided he wanted to make some money off of it. And, and so he changed the name anyway. So he sends out this newsletter. And he’s pretty it sounds like he’s pretty down in the dumps that the the nurses dated August the 28th. And hit the title of it was I’m not writing about Ben Shapiro, but I might be retiring.

Doug Berger 5:43
And so he talks about Ben Shapiro showing up that he was going to write about it. And then somebody else in the podcasting business, who I also follow, told him not to, and then it got him to think that in in, he said that. The answer is that he quote me says, the answer to my question, why am I not happy doing this is simple, because I don’t like investing time into people or groups who don’t appreciate it. And I, since 2013, have been doing that on a near daily basis. Because even though I derive nothing good from it, I am compelled to do it. He is kinda is having a existential, whether they call it existential crisis or something like that. And so I’m reading that I’m like, okay, so you know, he doesn’t want to write about Ben Shapiro, I’m assuming from the rest of the just, I get from the rest of this newsletter, that he would have supported. Ben Shapiro being there, and as against any actions that was taken to make sure he never shows up. And I don’t know, because he did write about Ben Shapiro. But that’s the take I get from reading the newsletter. So he continues, he says that he used to be a much louder voice. And then it says in 2018, he started a show called No God cast and I was like, oh, because I’ve heard of it. I don’t think I ever listened to it at the time. But I did hear about it. And it was a successful podcast on it was on the chat. He says it was a chart topper on Apple, Apple, Apple podcast, he got to have conversations with people like Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, CJ Wellman, the who’s who of the atheist movement in 2013, the stars, the New Atheists, whatever. And he also got to have conversations with people who had escaped the Westboro Baptist Church, and those who hadn’t yet and people like Ray Comfort, who created who’s basically an anti science nut job. And, and they, and he’s worked with the group that built the Ark Encounter in Kentucky, that that fleeced the local area out of taxes for a big gigantic Ark anyway. And so Tanner talks about that it was his favorite podcast, got to talk about problems. And in any men, he gets into the thing that the reason why I’m bringing this up, and the reason why I want to discuss this, this viewpoint he talks about in this next paragraph, he says, this was my favorite podcast because I got to talk about problems and this was well before the idea of Kancil culture, or hashtag activism. But when I gave stage time to Ray Comfort, like I had to so many other individuals of faith, to try to understand them to try to reach them in some way. It was during an uprising with the new atheist community, led by Richard carrier and PZ Myers. And that uprising was AC Atheism Plus, Atheism Plus activism. It was the injection of third wave feminism focuses into a largely academic space. I would go so far in fact as to say that Atheism Plus is directly responsible for the state of academia today, for better or worse. For me it was for worse because now in what were largely academic conversations, were now droves of ideal out die ideologues, claiming to be atheists and they probably were but insisting that you couldn’t be a proper atheists without being an activist for one cause or another. Then he goes on and complains about there was a block bot, on Twitter

Doug Berger 9:40
that he was called an apologist for fundamentalist Christianity and Islam, Islamic phobic bigot, he couldn’t cope with it. He was furious. He says, I was watching before my very eyes a group of ideological angry largely very young activists with radicalized education in history, philosophy Be psychology and morality, silence people who had spent their entire lives thinking deeply about big problems and hopes they could find solutions for them. And it was working, it has worked, I quit. And since I quit, I’ve been thinking deeply and silently about everything that has transpired socially and politically since about 2015. And this guy, this other podcaster, with that single one liner tweet, brought it all together. What I’m going to talk about, this brings me up to talk about was that this whole, his whole idea, his whole angry rejection of atheism, plus, I actually experienced all of this like he did in 2013. Basically, there was a division within atheism, atheism community, between people who just wanted to complain about God, and make fun of religious people, and talk to people like Ray Comfort, and then talk behind his back about how stupid he was. And talk to people who went to Westboro Baptist Church and told him, Hey, you should leave. There was all these kinds of people, they just wanted to deal with just the god question. And then there was this whole other other expanse of humanity in the world that was having problems directly related to church and state separation. A lot of these issues, social justice issues are related to Church State separation. And people like Tanner said, No, I don’t want to deal with that, you know, that’s where I reject his viewpoint on atheism. Plus, I rejected Atheism Plus, because I’m a humanist. And Atheism Plus was was pretty much humanism, with just a different name. You know, that’s why I became a humanist because my beliefs my worldview wasn’t just that I rejected God and religion. But I also wanted to help my my community, I wanted to help people in the world, people that were marginalized people that were oppressed, and I wanted to use my humanism and my atheism to do that. And so, when you look at a lot of these issues, like abortion, the abortion issue, the main reason people want to ban abortion is religion. It’s their religious biases. Okay, we could talk about, we could get a group of Christian evangelical Christians and atheists in a room and debate abortion, but we’re never going to change their mind because it’s their religious beliefs. You know, and that’s the problem I have with people like Tanner Campbell. When they talk about, well, we’re just having an academic discussion, they want to talk about it all the time. But you have to do something, you have to act. That’s the whole part of that activism, part of atheism. Plus, you know, you actually, I’m a I’m a white male cisgender. Okay. That means I should be using my privilege to help people who aren’t white male or cisgender. And, and I do when I can, I write letters, I make phone calls. I vote appropriately. The thing is that, for many people, yes, atheism means just a rejection of God, I get that. Okay. But then what? And then what do you do? Right, so, hey, it’s great. You know, you’re in a room you’re talking to Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris and solving the world solving problem, are you really, you know, I’d like to ask Tanner, if there were any problems, he actually solved, talking to Roy comfort Ray Comfort because it sure didn’t stop from that arc from being built. You know, his attitude that, that this third wave feminism was invading academic space is exactly the reason why people like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris are terrible people. Because they are no different than Ben Shapiro.

Doug Berger 14:34
You know, just because they’re atheist doesn’t mean that they’re right for their their viewpoints or right or correct in everything that they think, you know, they’re they’re, they’re accurate. And one thing that there’s no God, that’s it. But, you know, Dawkins has had his problems with transphobia Sam Harris has has his problems with his homophobia and giving and giving a platform to people like Charles Murray, who is a proponent that IQ is not racially biased. And so we should be take care of minorities because they aren’t good at the IQ parts, you know, and you’re like what? You know same with Ben Shapiro, it doesn’t. And Fox News it doesn’t matter. Ben Shapiro might be good at podcasting. Joe Rogan is good at podcasting, they get a lot of fans, but their, their topics and the people they talk about their it’s bad, it’s not good. You know, it’s like, it’s like, an alcoholic is good with alcohol. But you don’t want him behind the wheel of a car when he’s drunk. You know, he’s a fun time at the party. But when he’s behind the wheel of a car, he could kill somebody. It’s the same with these podcasters. Like Ben Shapiro, it’s like, yeah, he’s good at putting together a show. People listen to him. But his views are crap. And so if I had an atheist show, I wouldn’t be talking to Ray Comfort, because his views are crap. We’re not going to have an understanding, I understand his views. I don’t need him to be in the same room to understand his views. I don’t need Ben Shapiro to talk to me or shake my hand to know what he’s like. I’ve listened to him. I’ve listened to his transphobia, his homophobia, his misogyny. I know what he’s like saying with Joe, Joe Rogan. Joe Rogan is anti science. And he and he talks about misinformation of science, and he’s anti vaccine. And, and the same with Bill Maher. Bill Maher is anti vaccine, he likes weed. He’s a libertarian, but he’s, he’s a terrible person. You know, just because you have, just because you have a platform doesn’t make you automatically good. You know, just because you have a platform and you’re successful at it doesn’t mean that you’re a good person. And that’s what people like Tanner Campbell failed to understand as what they failed to understand, during the Great Atheism Plus debate. And a lot of people got hurt during that. It wasn’t just an academic exercise and discussion. You know, there were gross, creepy men, Daxing women. They had, they had a forum discussion group called the slime pit. And these were people that did not like atheism, plus, you know, and they bitch about free speech. And about, well, you got to listen to people to understand you know, you don’t, you don’t, you don’t need to understand. To gain an understanding, you do not need to listen to them 100% of the time. They don’t need to automatically get a platform and espouse their wrong views, their crappy views, views that hurt people that marginalized people. If Podcast Movement wants to invite Ben Ben Shapiro, when I first heard about it, I thought they had invited him to speak. And I would have just said, Well, I’m never ever going to Podcast Movement. But the fact that he showed up unannounced uninvited, and just shook hands and took pictures. Yeah, I would want to try to take care of that in the future. But that’s not censorship. And some of the comments. It’s just It’s remarkable. You know, it’s not, it’s not censoring conservative voices.

Doug Berger 19:09
it’s censoring bigotry. And a lot of people they know that these views are bad. But that’s not a deal breaker for them. And that’s how I feel about Tanner Campbell. And his his ideas about Atheism Plus, is I don’t know him personally, I don’t think that he’s a bad person. But bigotry is not doesn’t seem to be a deal breaker for him. He thinks he thinks well, if we just talk in a room, we’re going to work you know it. The Conservatives don’t do that. Only people, only people that are not conservatives try to do that and then they get run over. But anyway. So that’s what I wanted to say. And I kind of mentioned my feelings about Ben Shapiro. And you know, the fact that he wasn’t invited is good Would was kind of creepy on his part to just show up. And the daily wire is. Trash is a trash website. It’s a trash company. And so they’ve got millions of dollars or whatever to throw out to sponsor stuff that, you know, that’s something they probably need to reconsider whether or not daily wire can sponsor them. You know, just because somebody’s throwing money at you doesn’t mean that you just totally ignore who they are as a person, and at their terror and just ignore the fact that they might be terrible person people. You know, we see that with politicians where they get money from what turned out to be homophobic groups, and they end up returning the money. You know, maybe that’s what Podcast Movement should do is they should return daily wires money, but I will tell you truthfully, that, yeah, it’s good to talk to people. When you’re all you know, you kind of have a an understanding about about topics and about the issues. But it’s not a requirement to give a platform to somebody that you know, has crappy views. And that’s what Ben Shapiro does. He has crappy views. Sam Harris has crappy views. Richard Dawkins has crappy views, and doesn’t take anything away from what they’ve done in the past. Okay. Like I said, they’re successful. Wow, that doesn’t mean that they’re good people. You know, the fact that they’re successful doesn’t mean that their views are good. You know, if that was the case, then we would all be Christians. If popularity was a requirement to determine whether or not your views were any good. We would all be Christians today, there would be no atheism. But I do want to add quickly before I in this segment, because I don’t want to it sounds it sounds Ultra negative. But if you are getting into podcasting and want to get into podcasting, and you want to make money and you want to be successful at it, check out Tanner Campbell’s newsletter, good morning, podcasters and his podcast part of it, he is now charging money for it. I got kind of got in when it was still free. And so I’ll probably be cut off after this segment. But but check him out. He’s good at what he does. And he has some good ideas about podcasting. He just has wrong ideas about Atheism Plus, so I’ll leave it at that, okay.

Doug Berger 22:43
Hello, this is Doug host of secular left reminding you that I like to be validated. If you liked this podcast and want to thank me, feel free to buy me a coffee, go to buy me a lab and donate some cash to help make this a better show and validate me as a person. You’ll feel better in the morning.

Doug Berger 23:11
Last episode, I had a story about the Sylvania school system being sued by a couple of families who had children attending Catholic schools. And the reason why they were suing was because the public school district would provide busing for Catholic and private school families and the families.

Doug Berger 23:37
There was a new busing plan that was going to be instituted this year, because just like every other school district in the country, they’re having problems finding bus drivers. And so the Catholic families didn’t appreciate the new bus plan, because it would have their kid like kindergarteners getting on a bus at 615 in the morning. And riding with teenagers to the high school. One of the reasons why this was going to happen was because the Catholic schools happen to have the same start times as the middle and high school public schools. So naturally, they’re going to ride with older students because the younger students are already in school. And so the part of the lawsuit, they made some First Amendment claims and then in my last episode, I pretty much refuted those claims. And I also noted that Stacy Cook, the Municipal Court judge who ruled in favor of the families didn’t rule based on the First Amendment arguments. She just had a feeling that yes, it was too early in the morning for kids, little kids to go to school at 615 in the morning, and that they shouldn’t ride with older students. Had nothing to do with the First Amendment. issues brought up? Well, there’s been some updates. They the reason why I did that, that last episode was that they were doing mediation. And what that is, is where the two parties that are complaining, get together and try to work out a deal. So they don’t have to go to court or have the judge rule or, or force anybody to do anything. And so the two parties, the school district, and the families went to meet a mediator. And it didn’t work. And the reason why it didn’t work was the family, they would only agree to a change in the plan to privilege their children and force the public school to stop transporting high school, kids to school. That would be that’s the only compromise, quote, compromise, unquote, that they would accept. So mediation didn’t work. Well, there was a twist in all of this, and at the school district decided to do a preemptive strike. And they were going to file a lawsuit in federal court. And it made the families blank, I guess, I don’t know why this happened. But the families then withdrew their lawsuit. The reasoning that they gave in the newspaper account of it was that they were trying to get an injunction at the time they had rushed the lawsuit, and might not have been perfect. And they only did that because they were trying to stop the plan from going into effect. Well, that’s that ship has sailed, the plan did go into effect. The school hasn’t changed it. And so they withdrew their lawsuit. Now, that doesn’t mean that they won’t

Doug Berger 26:58
file another one. And I don’t know if the school district is still going to file a lawsuit in federal court or not now. But my guess is, they are probably going to get some help from some Christian nationalist Legal Group to write a better one, a better lawsuit, who knows. And then on Saturday, September, the third in the blade was a Saturday, it was a Saturday essay. But so long enough long letter to the editor that they publish. I had a Saturday essay a couple of years ago, about some political issue anyway. So they had this guy, this lawyer claiming this lawyer who had been Municipal Court judge for 30 years in Sylvania, who was advising the families. And he was going on and on about how the Administrative Code said that they had to transport kids no matter what time the start time was, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. He still missed the point. He also said that, because I had written a letter to the editor that got published. He had said, I was misinformed about about the issue anyway. But he’s a lawyer. But he was basing his arguments on the Administrative Code, Ohio Administrative Code. It says nothing about start times in the actual Revised Code, the actual law. And so basing your argument on on the administrative code is, is kind of reaching anyway. So I made some comments about his thing. And, and somebody came back and said that this wasn’t the first. This was in the Blaine online. The comments to the that essay, somebody came back and said that, that this wasn’t the first time that Sylvania had tried to reduce busing for private school students. One of the things that they one of the things that this lawyer is Thomas Platts was talking about was that there are many, many families that send their kids to private school in the city that live in the Sylvania district. And he claimed that should they stop bussing private school kids, and forced them to go to public school public school, that the public school would not be able to accommodate them? There’d be too many of them, which isn’t as patently untrue. Public School is required by law to accept anybody that shows up that wants to go to public school. So anyway, so this, this lawyer, had some fantasy arguments, but somebody made the comment that this wasn’t the first time that they had tried to in busing for private school kids. And the they said the Catholic families, the Catholic family He’s had organized and, and forced a school levy to be defeated. And so the superintendent, now this is somebody telling me this. So I don’t know if this is true or not. But supposedly the superintendent at the time, apologized to the families for, for their behavior for trying to force them to go to public school. And then they supported the next levy attempt, and it passed. And so that got me thinking, all right, you know, how fair is it for families that live in the district, who choose to have their kids attend a private school, to hold a public school district hostage? By not supporting a school levy or organizing against a school Levy? How fair is that to the people in the district, it’s not, because for the simple fact, that the the health of school district directly affects property values. So if you’re if so if you live in the suburb of Sylvania, and your house, you believe your house is worth $200,000, if you have a crappy public school system, you’re not going to get $200,000 for your house, because people normally that can afford your house that want to send their kids to public school won’t buy your house, because the schools are crappy. You know, just because you choose to send your kids to a private school doesn’t mean that that you should just blow everything up. Now I get it, the you know, these people, they are paying taxes

Doug Berger 31:46
for the schools, and their kids are not attending it. So they think they should be able to take their money out. And in, there’s some bill, there’s been a bill and some work in the legislature in Ohio legislature to allow private school families to take their money out of public schools. This one district, Washington Township that’s next to where I live, they were almost they were going to lose a million dollars from their school funds. Because he kid that a million dollars worth of kids were going to private school. And so that doesn’t seem fair. But anyway, so I asked this person if it would be fair for them to, to do that. And they said, they said it was perfectly fair. It’s called politics. Well, like I said, if they do that, they’re hurting themselves. Because if then if they then want to try to sell their house, you know, they’re not going to be able to that, or they’re not gonna be able to get the money that they want for their house, because they’ve blown up their school district and public school district. A private school doesn’t add any value, property value to somebody’s house. It just doesn’t. Not like a public school does, because you’re paying for public school out of property taxes, here in Ohio anyway. And so even then, you know, people still value neighborhoods and houses based on the infrastructure in that neighborhood or city. So if you have crappy schools, because you don’t want to pay for better schools, then you’re not going to get as much money for your house as you think you will. So that’s the update on that. And I’m still gonna keep an eye on that issue. And let people know, you know, what happens after that.

Doug Berger 33:46
And then before I close out this episode, I just wanted to briefly touch on another news item that caught my eye is that see CNN, the cable channel, CNN is letting a lot of more moderate pundits and and anchors go. They’re not renewing their contract, supposedly more moderate. CNN hasn’t been really that moderate in many years, they still, they still take, take the ball given to them by conservatives like Fox News and run with it, you know, and they don’t challenge some things. And they do a lot of both sides. And both sides arguments on both sides do this. And so I’ve never been enthused about CNN anyway. But anyway, so CNN is trying to get get rid of people that they they think are that are too hard on Republicans. And so I saw and I didn’t save it. I wish I had saved this. But somebody on Twitter tried to claim they first of all, they said that they worked for CNN years ago. I don’t know if that’s true or not. But they tried to claim that CNN had to do this. They had to to remake themselves and be friendlier to Republicans, because the people who watch cable channel the cable channels are older, they’re over 50, which is just a ridiculous argument to make. And they are talking about cord cutting and, and, and lack of audience and things like that. Well, basically, Fox News usually is the most popular cable channel out there. And they usually have a few million viewers. And then after that, it’s I think MSNBC might have slightly more than CNN. So we’re not talking about a huge number here, or we’re talking probably less than 20 million viewers over all the cable news channels, but to say, but But first of all to is this person that’s talking about this is not acknowledging the fact that somebody like Fox News doesn’t tell the truth. And they do misinformation, and they manipulate the news. So what they were trying to say is that they have to the CNN has to remake itself, like Fox News, because most of the majority of the people that watch these shows, like to be lied to, and misinformed and given wrong information and manipulated.

Doug Berger 36:28
And that’s just, that’s just ridiculous on its face. And it just cracked me up that somebody would actually suggest that, that that automatically, anyone that’s over the age of 50 is a conspiracy theorist. And the thing is that when you have a platform, a news platform, you can tell your audience, really anything that you want. And you would think that they would have ethics enough to tell the truth, and to be factual and to challenge the hierarchy. I mean, that’s, it’s the fourth estate, you’re supposed to be challenging. You’re supposed to be speaking for the public, not feeding them pablum and misinformation and doing this horse race thing with the politics. But you would think that they would do that. So the fact that they had that they’re getting rid of their more moderate people, which is less than that. Like I said, I I rarely watch CNN anyway. But anyone, millennials and younger, they’re not watching cable news at all. So yeah, you’re so basically you’re here indoctrinating people, supposedly, you say is over 50 into believing that, that Trump should be reelected and shit like that? No. That’s not what news channels should be doing. news channels should be truthful, they should be ethical, and they should actually should be a voice of the common person. And unfortunately, the new CNN doesn’t see doesn’t appear to be doing that. They just want to kiss up to Republicans because they want the Republicans to show up on their show and bitch about the Democrats. And no, like look at the drama look at the horse race. And it’s bullcrap.

Doug Berger 38:25
Thank you for listening to this episode. You can check out more information, including links to sources used in our show notes on our website at secular Secular left is hosted, written and produced by Doug Berger, and he is solely responsible for the content. Send us your comments, either using the contact form on the website or by sending us a note at comments at Our theme music is dank and nasty composed using Ampify Studio. See you next time.

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