Phil Torres, Philosopher and Author

Phil Torres is a philosopher and author who writes extensively about the intersection of religion and technology. He’s a regular contributor at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. His latest book is called The End: What Science and Religion Tell Us About the Apocalypse.

We spoke with him about why super-intelligence could come back to haunt us, how religious thinking mixed with weapons could bring us closer to doom, and whether we can reason with those who want to get closer to the afterlife.

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  • Reply Anne April 6, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    I’m a fan of your blog and your podcast. Recently Jessica Bluemke made a point about how much she swears and Hemant responded with a comment that nobody cares. Well, I do.

    Why? Because..
    * I think that it is so unnessary. When it’s unexpected it can trigger the emotion centres in the brain and therefore get some attention from the shock factor but, when swearing us overused, it becomes normal and ineffective.
    * Swearing is ridiculous and adds nothing to making a valid point, and can in fact detract attention from the topic of interest or even offend the listener. For example. When making a point, how does it benefit the conversation by saying ‘oh fuck you’ (Jessica said this) in the middle of a sentence? I mean really! What does this mean? (I want to have sex with you? I think you should masturbate?) How does that add to the debate in any way.
    * Swearing just sounds uneducated and therefor might turn people off from listening. Here is a quote from a Jehovahs Witness site which I think is well stated: “Bad language doesn’t represent you well. If you can’t form sentences without using profanity, it just shows others that you have a limited vocabulary.”—Jared.
    * Swearing gives ammunition to the evangelicals who already think Athiests are heathens.
    * I allow my children to listen to the show and such talk confuses them because I’d like them to learn to be free thinkers while at the same time teach them respect for others.

    While it is your podcast and your choice to decide whether you will continue to use profanity in your show and I agree that there is nothing intrinsically immoral about the behaviour, I personally would prefer it if the swearing was not included. Your other listeners may not agree with me, but have you ever considered that the swearing in your show might be part of the reason some people are not listeners.

    I hope that you will consider these comments as constructive criticism. Good luck with your show and keep up the good work. Hemant, I especially like your blog.


    • Reply The Friendly Atheist Podcast April 6, 2016 at 8:01 pm

      Thanks, Anne! We’ll take that into consideration. Part of it is that it’s just the way we talk, and sometimes I feel it’s warranted. We mark the show as “Explicit” for that reason. But I don’t think we want to do it gratuitously. The feedback is appreciated!

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