Stupid and annoying reality TV show scapegoats atheists for religious intolerance

Continuing the discussion from I just got caught in the middle of a stupid and annoying reality TV show:


I’m sorry about derailing like that. I wish I were able to move my stuff from your thread over here.


Flag the first derailing comment, ask @falcor or @beschizza to move it over here.

It’s not that big a deal. Don’t worry about it.


I’ve been trying to keep in mind that I can split off a topic if I can’t help but derail.


PROTIP: Never respond to anything @alistairmichaelkinne writes.

But anyway, it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to talk about."what+would+you+do"


ABC’s What Would You Do? Features Angry Atheist Yelling at Praying Family in a Restaurant

July 19, 2015 by Hemant Mehta Leave a Comment

If you haven’t seen ABC’s show What Would You Do? — and you won’t want to after this — the premise is pretty self-explanatory. As the show’s website states, it “establishes everyday scenarios and then captures people’s reactions.” So you might see a segment in which an actor clearly steals an item from a store… and the cameras zoom in on the other customers to see how they react: Do they tell someone or do they ignore it? You get the idea.

On Friday night, the show started out just fine. A military vet went to purchase diapers for his baby, but the cashier told him his credit card was declined. Will anyone help the poor soldier?! (Spoiler: They will! Yay America!)

But the next segment took a strange turn.


Good ol’ Hemant Mehta. You can always rely on the guy to be less shouty and sweary than I can only barely prevent myself from being in the best case scenario.

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Doesn’t it basically come down to:

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From that page:

23: An atheist angrily becomes vocal when a religious family next to him starts praying at a restaurant. (This scenario resulted in controversy as it negatively portrayed atheists or other nonbelievers.)

This is perhaps the least realistic scenario they could have come up with. Most atheists are acutely aware that the first amendment means that they don’t have to worry about religious people throwing rocks at them till they’re dead. So most of us atheists just politely ignore religious people saying grace and stuff like that. It’s not like they’re actually doing something harmful, like refusing to fill birth control prescriptions, or picketing soldier’s funerals. They’re just playing make believe for a few minutes with their families. They’re not even proselytizing.

Blows my mind that anyone would think this scenario is plausible. I challenge anyone to show evidence that that kind of beratement ever happens.

It’s not that is specifically casts non-believers in a negative light. It’s that this basically never happens, because reasonable people don’t act that way. Sane people don’t act that way. And it’s pretty much a complete straw man scenario.


Religious folks sure don’t get the non-theist thing.

We would like you to stop being religious. We have not been commanded to stop you by the atheist god.

Athie-or! God of the athiests commands you not to believe in him!

We would like you to stop being religious.

I wouldn’t go that far myself. I’d just like people to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to personal philosophy.


Hmmm. Yeah. It’s just that if you ‘go to the end’ with that perfectly reasonable request, you get atheism.

You can also get all sorts of really weird stuff like simulation theory or all-powerful, vacuum-state creating aliens and whatnot.

Just not theism.

I think even the ‘gods’ in such cases would be atheists.


Ahp! No, you’re right!

I should have said,

stop being Theists.

Organised atheistic religious practice and community is not neccessarily a bad thing. It often is. Just not always.


Athiesm is yet another belief system. …heading for religious status (the tax savings! ) much as scientism is now.

Not really. I think you’re confusing it with humanism, and other philosophies often associated with atheism. Atheism is as much a belief system as OFF is a channel on your TV.

Now, there’s humanism, and valuing science, and those are philosophies that shape one’s worldview, and are useful for figuring out ethics and treatment of others, and standards of evidence etc. All atheism says is that one hasn’t been adequately convinced there is a god. Just because it’s hard to convince me of bullshit, doesn’t mean my disbelief is dogmatic or religious in anyway. It just means you’re going to have to play by the rules of logic and evidence in order to convince me of something that is utterly false as far as I’ve seen.


Well, logically there is no evidence. But logically, the only logical position is wait until more information is available…which is agnosticism.

There is lot more going on here than that which deductive logic can draw out.

Well, logically there is no evidence that Harry Potter and Voldemort and the Lucky Charms Leprechaun exist. But logically, the only logical position is wait until more information is available. Which is A-Rowling-ism.

No. I don’t think so.

I don’t know a god exists, because usually the claim of existence is formulated in an untestable way, which means it can’t be known. Technically I’m both an atheist and an agnostic. I can’t claim to have any definitive proof no god exists. But as long as there’s no evidence for a god, going make decisions and live my life as if there weren’t one, which is no different than if nobody ever told me that I should believe in a god in the first place.

What you’re trying to do is use Pascal’s Wager to try and conflate atheism with agnosticism as if they were mutually exclusive. Unfortunately for you they’re in fact quite orthogonal. Atheism deals in beliefs. Agnosticism deals in knowledge claims.


In debate, jumping to a conclusion is a foul.

I’m waiting for information, as logically if I act as if even a mild vengeful god exists I should behave accordingly…

What a fearful and terrified way to live. Especially considering the hundreds of alleged jealous and wrathful gods for which there is no evidence. How can you tell which ones should treat as if they exist? I mean, as long as people are making claims, I’d like to see some tests worked out, since that’s how we determine the validity of hypotheses normally.