"It just started to not make sense" ObjectivelyDan - Host of "Truth Wanted" Sentientism Episode 134

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism podcast.

Objectively Dan is the host of Truth Wanted, a call-in talk show that's part of the Atheist Community of Austin.Truth Wanted focuses on how and why people believe what they believe - and how we can talk about beliefs in more effective ways - whether it’s karma or Christ, Bigfoot or crystals.

In Sentientist Conversations we talk about the two most important questions: “what’s real?” & “what matters?”

Sentientism is "evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings." The audio is on our Podcast here on Apple & here on all the other platforms.

We discuss:
00:00 Welcome

03:08 Dan's Intro

  • Listen to Truth Wanted! Is space real? Are there bug creatures on Mars?
  • "Americans in particular - not super great at the whole #epistemology stuff"

05:07 What's Real?

  • Growing up #Methodist , then switching to a #baptistchurch
  • Community more than theology "your parents went to church so you went to church"
  • "I did believe"
  • doing evangelical ministry
  • Being baptised twice!
  • Talking to @Anthony Magnabosco of @Street Epistemology "It was a stepping stone on a journey… I was already deconstructing"
  • "This faith thing doesn't really make sense"
  • Being an "igtheist" (basically an atheist) and a #Sentientist
  • @Being Reasonable 's Mark Solomon
  • The Bible "doesn't really stack up." Progressive Xtian & Xtian mystic phases
  • Reading @Sam Harris
  • "I was definitely homophobic… transphobic growing up". "My Christian faith told me it wasn't right, it wasn't natural"
  • "When you have a naturalist worldview it's harder to be homophobic"
  • Changing ethics & politics: abortion, immigration
  • "Christianity was all I knew… I didn't understand how to be a good person outside of Christianity"
  • Struggles of leaving Xtianity. Lacking community (no @Secular Student Alliance in Waco) "that was tough"
  • "There would be more athiests if it was more normal"
  • Atheists within religious communities
  • Selective dogmatism: #Qanon , #antivaxx , #goop products, #homeopathy
  • "#cognitivedissonance is a bitch"
  • "When you don't have someone who is actively challenging what you think you can just think what you want"
  • #miracles
  • "Churches aren't places for critical thinking"
  • #epistemology #fideism #dogma
  • Hebrews 11: "faith is the evidence of things not seen" enables any arbitrary belief
  • Most Xtian apologists & QAnon people claim to believe based on evidence & reason
  • "A #vegan sense of #ethics made sense"… talking to callers, reading books! "This was a blind spot for me"

34:09 What Matters?

  • Is-ought
  • Does #naturalism make it harder to have bad ethics?
  • Xtianity: "humans are fundamentally broken & sinful"
  • "Sometimes gods way is different… that is how you get people to do atrocious things"
  • Cognitive overload blocks people from changing "so many questions"
  • "Religion came after people… it's completely a human construct"
  • Morality as a human construct, but with pre-human roots?
  • God commanding Abraham to kill his son
  • "Hell definitely scared me." The trauma of leaving religion
  • Friends "who suddenly dropped me" for leaving Xtianity "they never talked to me again"
  • If your whole community disagrees with you "You might just fold"
  • Church fund-raising for gay #conversiontherapy : "I can't even go here any more"
  • The "hyper-rationalist" culture in some #atheist communities

47:07 Who Matters?

  • Vegans calling in to Truth Wanted & adopting a cat
  • Feeding live mice to a snake
  • "Why do human beings prioritise the lives of some animals over others"
  • Growing up around ranches & learning about #factoryfarming
  • "It just started to not make sense… I've gotta do it"
  • "I'm the only host at the ACA that is vegan… I'm frustrated… It's a serious blind-spot [in Atheist movements]… the conversations aren't even happening"
  • #AtheismPlus
  • Going vegan "felt like I was coming out as an atheist all over again"
  • Atheists & vegans being annoying is irrelevant to the arguments
  • "I was super nervous talking about veganism at first"
  • Atheists with bad reasons for being atheists & vegans with weaker reasons for being vegan (nutrition, purity, environment, spiritual)
  • Does confidence on one topic spill over into others?
  • Dangers of righteously motivated reasoning in veganism & atheism
  • Vegan emotional appeals often aren't sufficient for many in the atheist world
  • "Sentientism [& veganism) is 'out there' for most of the world" - it's going to get scrutiny
  • Considering edge cases in bad or good faith (being vegan on Twitter )
  • "Veganism is a complicated topic… we pretend that it's simple"
  • "People are afraid… because of the radical implications"
  • "I put #Sentientist in my twitter bio" #sentience
  • #PeterSinger & equal consideration of interests
  • "It's easier to convince people [that animals have interests] than this idea of sentience" to avoid the confusion around consciousness
  • #MelanieJoy & #Carnism
  • Can insentient entities like thermostats have "interests"? (no)
  • #Panpsychism, #freewill & #determinism

01:09:34 A Better Future?

  • How can we get atheist/#secular /#humanist /#skeptic /#rationalist communities to get serious about non-human sentient animal ethics?
  • #richarddawkins ' comments on Sentientism
  • @CosmicSkeptic & @Genetically Modified Skeptic going vegan & getting push-back "that was a big disappointment"
  • "I still hesitate talking about it [veganism]"
  • Having broad interests "helps normalise it…" vs. "veganism is your whole identity"
  • Sentientism drives compassionate, non-discriminatory intra-human ethics, not just our concern for non-human animals
  • Wild animal suffering "veganism doesn't say much about what goes on in the wild"
  • "Socrates… was totally cool with people being owned as slaves" & sexism
  • "It's easy to feel like we're losing… but there are battles that weren't happening before"
  • "Eastern philosophy has a more robust understanding of animal ethics… in the west 'this is the new hot thing that matters'"
  • American politics, #antisemitism & #kanyewest
  • "Have hope… don't give up the podcasts!"

Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at

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Thanks to Graham for the post-production and to Denise for funding this episode via our Sentientism Patreon.

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