April 17, 2024

dropping out of the Dogma Debate

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I hardly blog at all. I think I’ve only posted about once per month sometimes, sometimes once per week at best.  I haven’t made many videos lately either, and there’s a lot of good ones I could be making, if I still had the time.  My book is more than a year behind schedule, and I’m still only on the 5th chapter, only about 1/3 done.  We have plans for two more books to follow this one, so I had better finish it.

The most important issue I have is time.  I have this double-life where I work at Initech Monday thru Friday, and once I’m off their clock, then I have to pick up the pace on everything else I do on my own. In large part, my life is chaos, trying to multitask amid constant interruptions distractions and errands that can’t be delegated. My schedule is such that there are only a few days every week when I can really be productive and Wednesdays are one of those days.  That being the case, I can’t justify spending essentially that whole day every week just talking on the radio. So some weeks ago, I decided to leave the show.

I want to thank all the 4th listeners who’s public comments and private messages have been so overwhelmingly positive.  I have gotten a lot of encouragement from you guys over the last year!  It’s my own fault that I let myself get involved in so many volunteer projects and petty time-wasting discussions online. It’s not going to get any easier either. In addition to serving as Texas State Director of American Atheists, I also expect to do some work for the Secular Coalition of Texas, and I’ll soon be involved in something even bigger. (to be announced)

So right now I need to focus. I’m going to take advantage of a lull in my current speaking schedule to get as much done on these other efforts as I can over the next couple months; sweep these tasks out of my way, get published, and be ready of the next wave that are already looming on my horizon.

46 thoughts on “dropping out of the Dogma Debate

  1. Best of luck in all that you do. I really enjoyed your contributions to the show.

    Please continue to kick ass. 😀

  2. I know I don’t comment often but I do enjoy what you do and who you are! Hope to see you around when the pressure has eased a bit. And best wishes.

  3. Do whatever is necessary to get what you need and want to get done. Don’t worry about us poor, miserable drudges, starved for whatever morsels you might throw at us. We’ll make do. We have no choice. We’ll just suffer by ourselves, in silence, hoping against hope that tomorrow will be better.

  4. I only discovered Dogma Debate after hearing David on The Thinking Atheist with Seth Andrews some months back. The show has become a staple on my IPOD and I did love hearing you every week on the podcast. I have enjoyed your YouTube channel for a long time, and you have really helped me hone my thought processes when dealing with theistic arguments. I’ll miss you on DD, but look forward to your book and more videos when you get the time. Best of luck, Aron. You are a valuable asset to our community.

  5. I liked you on the show but I can see how it’s too big of a time commitment. To be honest I wondered when you slept. Best wishes in your new endeavors.

  6. Hell, get a few books done, get away from working at Initech, and then you’ll have more time for the volunteer work and petty time-wasting, too. You just have to get over that hump and get the current side-stuff to pay.

  7. That’s sad to hear 🙁 I love it when you are on DD and you will be sorely missed. All the best in your future endeavours and I can’t wait for the book. Love your work.

  8. You will be *sorely* missed by this 4th listener. Then again, I’ve been frustrated at how you seem to’ve been sidelined the past few eps in which you’ve participated.

  9. I look forward to reading your book! Hopefully you’ll have a show on Dogma Debate to promote the heck out of it.

  10. Looking forward to your next adventure Aron! I know you’ll continue contributing to the cause no matter where you are. Hope you’ll stop by the show when you have time!

  11. Whatever you need to do. Stay happy man! You’re one of my favorite speakers! Don’t burn yourself out.

  12. Hey, you do great work and I only wish you could do more of it. I understand how one can run out of hours in the day though. Internet hugs and best wishes. Keep on kicking arse, on your own schedule 😀

  13. I’m sorry you’re leaving Dogma debate,

    but I think it makes sense. I’ve felt for a long time that Smalley has been pulling too hard on your reins in an attempt to maintain his vision for the show. I was particularly frustrated with the way he handled you on the recent show with apologist Blake Giunta. Smalley really didn’t give you a chance to effectively deal with the guy the way I know you could have.I believe Giunta was dishonest and tactfull, often pretending not to understand, followed by a change of direction and more confusion. And Smalley consistently let him get away with it.. You really need your own show, where you can freely run. I’ll look forward to whatever you’re doing. Rock on!

    1. Giunta took a page from Ray Comfort’s playbook, and Aron called Comfort on this in a radio debate. Comfort often pretends to not understand simple things while simultaneously claiming that everyone is actually 100% certain his god exists.

      This doesn’t work on anyone with two neurons to rub together, but that’s not really their goal.

      1. Right, Giunta also tactfully distanced himself from all the stupid stuff that “other Christians” believe. Without ever elaborating. Very dishonest. It’s interesting the extent the human mind will go to keep a lie alive, once they’ve become comfortable with that lie.

  14. I first saw you on The Atheist Experience then later on dogma debate. I love and subscribe to your Youtube channel. And I’m the 4th listener of Dogma Debate. I will miss hearing you on Dogma Debate but I will continue to follow your blog and look forward to your book. Good luck in all your endeavors and I look forward to meeting you at any future conventions I attend.

  15. Don’t stay completely off the airwaves for too long, I love DD but will love it a little less without your input. Agreed that a Ra radio show would be great. Love you long time big man

    1. I’ve been of the opinion, for quite a while, that I like the show that David puts together, most of the time, but I really listen for the other people on his show, not David himself. Particularly in any kind of confrontational capacity, David just doesn’t have it. Fine, be reasonable; be nice; but freaking show up to the discussion.

      I remember the show with Eric, that idiot who Matt Dillahunty had a discussion with, then hung up on. Eric is such an ignorant, deluded fool, throwing out dozens of things that “even every atheist will admit,” each one more idiotic than the last. David just let him keep going, unchallenged.

      Sure, David can get preachers on his show who won’t go on any other atheist show, because they know that they’ll get to preach, almost uninterrupted, to a mostly non-Christian audience. Why the hell would I want to listen to something like that? I had more than a decade of preaching, when I was a minor and couldn’t refuse to go to church. I’m done.

      It’s gotten to the point that if David is interviewing someone like that, and Aron wasn’t there, I just won’t listen to the episode.

      1. I do like Smalley and the fact that Theists are willing be on the show..but I think you are right that they know that David is a “softy” and will let them get some preaching in. Dogma Debate will never be as good without Aron. I’d love to see Aron and Dillahunty team up..or just Aron with a rotating or guest host.

      2. Totally agree. I can’t sit through 3 hours of just David and whomever. It’s Aron that delivers every time on any topic.

        1. I don’t know if I’d go that far. They put together a good show quite often, without Aron. Rachel’s science segments are usually good. I just know it’s going to suck any time they talk to a theist, without Aron there.

          1. I tried the other day and had to turn it off after 30mins. It’s unfortunate because I subscribe and pay monthly for this.

  16. I will miss you on DD, I started listening because you were speaking. I will be eagerly anticipating your next endeavor.

    1. Same here, actually. I only started listening to Dogma Debate after Aron posted about the episode in which he ripped apart Arcillogic.

      1. Arkilogik was a total nutbag. He still is. The Destiny Lab website is now talking about the New World Order and shit like that. David Smalley is not equipped to handle fringe buffoonery of that magnitude.

        Aron cornered that fool, demonstrated to even the dumbest and most dishonest listener that Arkilogik was blatantly lying, and David was clearly uncomfortable with it all.

        I really do like David Smalley’s work in the community, but his talents don’t involve taking on aggressively dishonest Christians. He can be Socratic, so the softies are handled well, but people like Blake Giunta and Eric Lounsbery need to be cattle-prodded.

        1. I dunno, even with the softies …

          With those two female preachers he had on at various times, he just let them preach for so freaking long. I couldn’t listen to more than about 30 minutes of either show, before I had to switch to something that wouldn’t put me to sleep. There was some guy at some point, with whom the same thing happened.

          We don’t want to hear your freaking theology, which you’ve pulled straight out of your ass. We want to hear why you believe it, with something more than Bible verses that you’ve picked from the salad bar, and we want to hear why we should buy it. David never drags them around to that part, at least from what I’ve heard, before shutting off the podcast in disgust.

          I listened to the entire episode with Eric on it, and that’s several hours of my life that I want back.

          So, who’s the antichrist in this latest New World Order? The new new New World Order? …

          1. The guy was John Christy, the “My Week in Atheism” guy. At, least, I think that’s the guy you’re talking about. David DID let him go on forever, and then when he tried to step in and object (and to his credit, David did note that Christy’s bullshit about mankind “receiving the holy spirit about 6000 years ago” was straight out of his ass), Christy threw a goddamn temper tantrum and whined that he was being treated unfairly. It was embarrassing. I haven’t seen “My Week in Atheism,” but now I have no interest if that dude made it.

            One of the women came in with her husband, right? The one David met at Guitar Center who sounded like she was about to cry the entire time? She was pretty annoying.

            The problem is that I think David genuinely likes some of these guests as people, so he doesn’t want to offend any of them or think they’re being interrogated or held up like meat on a hook.

          2. It wasn’t John Christie. He’s been on multiple times, so I recognize his voice immediately. It was some black preacher that David had on several months ago.

            And yeah, one of the women was there with her husband, who I think was also a preacher. She did most of the talking, though. Very unbiblical of them. 😀

  17. To quote the great Dr. Manhattan: “Without condoning, or condemning, I understand.”

    I’m sorry to see you go, Aron, but I wish you the best of luck on your other projects. I’ll look forward to seeing your future videos. 🙂

  18. I was shocked to hear David announced that you wound’t be participating in anymore Dogma Debate moving forward. I immediately switched to the thinking atheist podcast and unsubscribed to Dogma Debate. I can’t stand it when David just panders to the dishonest and claims that he’s being fair or diplomatic. These last few episodes were prime examples of David doing that and it was frustrating listening to him brush you off.

    Will look forward to more of your videos and wish you the very best man. Get your own podcast going and you’ll have an army waiting to listen.

    1. A agree (though I don’t really like Seth’s show any better — both hosts/shows are too geared to emotional appeal for my tastes). The only reason I ever listened to DD was Aron and his uncompromising methodological approach to religious discussion (not to mention his great sense of humor and ability to turn-a-phrase) — and now that he is no longer there, well….one less podcast for me.

      I simply can’t stomach David’s theological guests, many of whom have been merely too simple-minded, or even just crazy, to warrant a discussion with them in the first place. Some inteviews simply come across like a freak show in that Jerry Springer kind of way (which I guess many find entertaining, but I simply find such displays abusive and exploitative). The live interview at AACON14 with the Xian protester who was clearly in need of psychiatric help, was the final straw for me. I wish DD luck in their approach, but DD is definitely not my cup of tea, even moreso now without Aron there to sweeten the pot.

      1. I like Seth’s show a lot better than David’s solo work, in general. I just can’t listen to it, because of the one-person format, I think it is. I like what he’s saying, in general, I just … can’t stay interested, for some reason. I dunno. I want to listen to it regularly, but I just can’t. Something about it just keeps making me fade off and get distracted.

        I’m definitely catching him when he comes to Raleigh in June, though.

        Oh, and I haven’t been listening to the Magic Sandwich Show much, recently. I keep meaning to go back through the archives. I take it that Aron hasn’t been on that much, recently?

  19. I first heard you on Dogma Debate when I started listening last fall. I will deeply miss your participation on the program and it will be difficult to listen to the show without you. One day I will get up to the task and actually visit a conference somewhere and hopefully you will be in attendance and we can chat. All the best. Greg

  20. I’ve been a fan (in both the respect for your ability to convey so much information in a short time and the fangirl squee-and-flail senses of the word) for a long time, Aron. But I also know that you have to live in the real world and have responsibilities and goals that do not allow you to spend all your time catering to people on podcasts and Youtube. What you have time to give us, I am grateful for.

    Try to have fun working on your book, but of course, you will have to deal with “second sleeve syndrome” (when knitting a sweater you make the front and the back and one sleeve, and by the time you start the second sleeve you are damned sick and tired of the whole project).

    And by the way, I meant to say so before, but your reading of The Happy Atheist was a delight to listen to.

  21. A general comment about Smalley’s style during the 1-on-1 interviews in Dogma Debate. I for one have appreciated the space that has been given to the guests for them to expound fully on their beliefs in response to some pointedly put questions. I get the impression that many of the guests haven’t fully explored their positions and these long interviews can do that.

    The one that sticks in my mind most was one of the female pastors who couldn’t reasonably rebut the points that Smalley put. As a listener my only conclusion was that this pastor desperately wanted what she believed to be true. Asked why she believed she couldn’t, even though she was given ample time and opportunity. My conclusion was that she had no good reason apart from a desire for things to be true.

    Perhaps that is what resonated with me – over time I came to realize that I wanted it to be true.

    Yes there are the annoying ones out there like the recent philosophical argument types, but there are the “wanting to believe types” also. It is good to hear these discussions too and Dogma Debate has been a good forum to hear these.

    Still, I’m going to miss Aron.

    1. What bothers me about Smalley’s approach is he seems to be trying TOO hard to appeal to the religious, almost to the point where it doesn’t come off very sincere. I sense that on a few episodes. I don’t dislike DD’s format but with Aaron, you knew for a fact that you were getting the real deal. I empathize with David and the DD team since I know it’s their source of income to make the show “interesting” to the masses, but honestly, I’ve lost interest without Aron.

  22. Aron,

    I returned after a 5-6 week break from DD after being frustrated by how Rachel and your science segments were frequently cut short and at times David for all his good intent struggles to steer the show so that religious falsehoods are appropriately extinguished. So it was disappointing, but not suprising to see that you had gone. I say disappointing because I really like to hear you talk, but that said I look forward to seeing the fruits of your next project(s).

    1. That was one of my first thoughts, when I first read this. I can’t wait to see what Aron does when he gets back into the swing of things and starts working on his own projects again.

  23. Damnit.

    I don’t have a problem with David’s general approach because we need all types and David’s pretty great at what he does.

    It’s David’s handling of co-hosts I find frustrating personally.

    I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing Rachel but there’s simply no air time left for anyone else in a discussion when she’s talking over/cutting people off/taking too long to make her point/non-seq…yeah I guess I’m bashing so I’ll stop *oops*. The times I’ve felt like David’s patience ran out he seemed to direct that frustration at Aron which I thought was misplaced. Those were the times when it just ‘wasn’t working’ IMO.

    I really loved it when Aron was part of DD and thought there was great chemistry when it was just him and David. I hope everyone’s on good terms and I suspect Aron would be too classy to say anything even if they weren’t.

    Just my $0.02.

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