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This Week: Freedom of Thought

The "Countdown to Backpedaling" Gets Some Press!

 

Ask an Atheist's Becky Friedman and Nick Kennedy outside of our Rapture Party on May 21st, 2011.

As the crew of “Ask an Atheist” collapses into some well-earned rest, we’re taking a step back and looking at the whirlwind of a week we’ve had. In the final days of Family Radio’s  Rapture-stravaganza, the media started taking a keen interest in the end of the world and our reaction to it

Here’s a compilation of the press we’ve gotten over the past week:

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer – “May 21, 2011: Judgment day? Atheists scoff

The backpedaling clock is brought to you by a group of atheists in Tacoma — and they also have a radio show. The folks at Ask an Atheist on KLAY AM 1180 are hosting a party for those left behind. (Of course, they’re assuming that will be everyone.)

The San Francisco Chronicle – “May 21, 2011: Atheists poke fun at Judgment Day claim

WeCan’tKnow.org is decked out with a countdown clock, ticking off the seconds until May 21. The URL, of course, is pointing some fun at WeCanKnow.org, the official site of Oakland-based Family Radio group, which predicts the end of times.

Boston Metro – “May 21 Judgment Day: A handy countdown clock

So, if you’re the skeptical type, you’re not alone. The clock is ticking. Will we be around to celebrate and enjoy the backpedaling? Only time will tell.

CBS News – “May 21, 2011: It’s the end of the world as we know it?

And, if everyone starts floating away towards the sky, Ask An Atheist is throwing a party at Dorky’s Arcade in Tacoma, Wash. for all of those people stuck here on earth. There will be a menu of tasty sandwiches, candy, and drinks for the poor, miserable fools left behind to commiserate over.

Opposing Views – “What Atheists are Saying About May 21, 2011 “Rapture“‘

[A]n atheist group in Tacoma, Washington has set up a Web site called WeCan’tKnow.org, a takeoff of Camping’s WeCanKnow.org. The atheist site features a clock counting backwards until that fateful moment. There is also an invitation to a rapture party…

The Friendly Atheist – “Countdown to Backpedaling

Ask An Atheist also has an awesome party planned for the night if the Rapture… you know, just for those of you Left Behind and near the Tacoma, Washington area.

Stara (Finland) – “Maailmanloppu tulee 21.5.2011 – ihmiskunnalla viikko aikaa”

Sama mies ennusti 1990-luvun alussa, että maailmanloppu tulisi syyskuussa 1994. Niin ei kuitenkaan tapahtunut, joten tuolloin kyseessä oli ilmeisesti jonkinlainen laskuvirhe. Tuorein ennustus on noussut otsikoihin lähinnä siksi, että sille on perustettu parodiasivusto WeCantKnow, joka laskee sekunteja väitettyyn maailmanloppuun.

The Seattle Times - “Atheists counter prediction of doom with ‘Rapture party‘”

But it’s atheists, in particular, who appear to be poking the most fun.

In Tacoma, producers of the weekly radio show “Ask an Atheist” are sponsoring the local Rapture party. Their slogan: “Countdown to Backpedaling: The End is Nah!”

KOMO AM 1000Newsline PM with Ken Schram – interview with Ask an Atheist’s Mike Gillis (audio link)

Yahoo News – “‘Rapture Parties’ Planned to Celebrate Doomsday Saturday May 21

In Tacoma, Wash., producers of a local talk show “Ask the Atheist” will sponsor a Rapture party themed “Countdown to Backpedaling: The End is Nah!”

KXLH Channel 9 (Helena, MT) – “May 21, 2011: The Beginning Of The End?

In response to WeCanKnow.com, spoof website WeCantKnow.com has a countdown clock to the day and date the world will stop spinning.

KENS Channel 5 (San Antonio, TX) – “Doomsday believer spends life savings advertising

Spoof website WeCantKnow.com has a countdown clock to the day and date the world will stop spinning. While Ask An Atheist is throwing a party at Dorky’s Arcade in Tacoma, Washington, supposedly for all the people stuck on earth.

Chicago Now – “Save The Date! Atheists, Christians spar about Doomsday

WeCan’tKnow.org is the Athiest site mocking the believers with a “countdown to backpeddling”.

BBC – “‘Rapture’ apocalypse prediction sparks atheist reaction

Atheists in Tacoma, Washington, have headed their celebration “countdown to back-pedalling”.

Reuters – “UPDATE 1-Predictor of May 21 doomsday to watch it on TV

At least 100 people are expected at the party, said Sam Mulvey, 33, an organizer of the event and the producer of a weekly atheist radio show in Tacoma.

“If the world still exists the next day, Family Radio is going to have to say something and most of the time they backpedal, and that’s what we’re counting down to,” he said.

Miami New Times - “Masturbate-a-Thon and Other Fun Rapture Parties Across These United States of Sin

“Countdown to Backpedaling: The End is Nah!”
Tacoma, Washington
In response to all this noise, a Washington State call-in show called “Ask an Atheist” is throwing this shindig.

VTC News (Vietnam) – “Hôm nay, phương Tây rúng động vì “Ngày Tận Thế” 21/5

Sam Mulvey, 33 tuổi, một người tổ chức sự kiện và nhà sản xuất chương trình phát thanh vô thần hàng tuần ở Tacoma tuyên bố: “Nếu thế giới vẫn còn tồn tại sau ngày mai, Family Radio sẽ phải nói điều gì đó.”


Spiegel (Germany) – “Beam sie hoch, Scottie!

Landesweit gibt es eine ganze Reihe angekündigter Weltuntergangspartys. Eine Gruppe aus Tacoma nennt ihre Festivität “Countdown to Paddleback” – denn nach dem Verstreichen der Frist zum Weltuntergang käme doch immer das “Zurückpaddeln” der falschen Propheten.

 

Gazeteport (Turkey) – “‘Kıyamet yarın kopacak‘”

ATEİSTLER PARTİ VERECEK Öte yandan ateistler, Camhirg’in iddialarına gülüp geçerken, cumartesi gecesi bir parti düzenleme kararı aldı. Partinin organizatörü ve haftalık bir ateist radyo programının yapımcısı Sam Mulvey, “Ertesi gün dünya halinde yerinde duruyorsa, Family Radio’nun açıklama yapması gerekecek” diyor.

Tacoma News Tribune – “Apocalypse hot topic for watercoolers

In Tacoma, producers of the weekly radio show “Ask an Atheist” on KLAY 1180 AM are sponsoring the local Rapture party. Their slogan: “Countdown to Backpedaling: The End is Nah!”

Tacoma Weekly Volcano – “NIGHT MOVES: Agent Orange, The Hard Way, Blvd Park, Bread & Circuses, Christy McWilson and others …”

Dorky’s Barcade Tacoma – Downtown. Countdown to Backpedaling: The End is Nah! Nerdcore rapper Three Ninjas with Mathias “Tangentbot” Purtlebaugh‘s fit-for-the-arcade electronic beats The Bone Poets Orchestra with some tasty string-driven folk-psychedelica, and… Lena Lou rounding out the set with instrumental guitar-driven sonic badassery, more post-rock than metal but delivered without regard for personal safety. All Ages. 8 pm. $10.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer – “Harold Camping mum about judgment day, atheists aren’t

[Mike] Gillis said public appetite for Camping’s prophesies is no different than appetites for billionaire Donald Trump’s non-bid for president or actor Mel Gibson’s occasional outbursts.

“I think people like public displays of insanity,” he said.

Associated Press – “AP essay: Apocalypse not now – and how we saw it

Becky Friedman stands outside a rapture party on Saturday, May 21, 2011 at Dorky’s Arcade in Tacoma, Wash. Groups of local atheists gathered at the arcade in Tacoma on the day that radio minister Harold Camping predicted would be the beginning of rapture. The Tacoma party featured members of the local AM radio “Ask An Atheist” talkshow

KING 5 News (Seattle, WA) – “Really? No rapture? Atheists celebrate

To celebrate, atheists in Tacoma threw a “Countdown to Backpedaling” party at Dorky’s Arcade, where the only “game over” were the ones flashing on the gaming machines inside.

“This is really a celebration of the world isn’t ending, the world will continue as before, and we’ll be fine,” said organizer Sam Mulvey, who produces a radio show called “Ask an Atheist.”

Blag Hag - “How are you celebrating the rapture?”

If you’re in the Seattle area and looking for something to do before the earthquakes and brimstone strike, I highly suggest you check out the Countdown to Backpedaling: The End is Nah! party in Tacoma.

Tacoma Weekly Volcano – “READY FOR RAPTURE

Lots of apocalypse skeptics have been looking forward to Judgment Weekend, and many are even holding mock celebrations, such as one “Rapture After Party” in Fayetteville, N.C., billed as “the best damned party in North Carolina.” Another Rapture party in Tacoma, Wash., is titled “Countdown to Backpedaling: The End is Nah!”

The Daily Telegram (Adrian, MI) – “Mark Lenz: Still here to read after yesterday?

Hucksters asked for donations, “since you can’t take it with you.” Children questioned what the point was of making their beds, and critics began a “Countdown to Backpedaling” in anticipation of some fancy efforts to spin today’s presence.

Gather News –  “How is Harold Camping spending Judgment Day on May 21st?

A group of atheists are throwing a party called, “Countdown to Backpedaling” because they cannot wait to hear the excuses when Judgment Day goes by just like any other Saturday. It will be interesting to see what Camping is going to say when the events, that he has broadcast for months, don’t materialize. Will he blame it on miscalculations?

Michigan Booth Newpapers (MLive.com) – “The atheist perspective: Laughing off the ‘Rapture’ when we should be laughing off religion

Becky Friedman stands outside a rapture party on Saturday, May 21, 2011 at Dorky’s Arcade in Tacoma, Wash. Groups of local atheists gathered at the arcade in Tacoma on the day that radio minister Harold Camping predicted would be the beginning of rapture.

 

It’s been a crazy week. Time to sleep now.

UPDATE: Added more articles! If you find one we’ve missed, let us know!

About the Author: Mike Gillis

Mike Gillis is co-creator, and co-host of Ask an Atheist. He hosts the Radio vs. the Martians! and Mike and Pól Save the Universe! podcasts. He also enjoys comic books, the Planet of the Apes, and the band Queen.

Feedback and Commentary

5 Comments 6 Trackbacks
vintis May 23, 2011 at 3:02 am

I know that at least one of the major newspapers here in Sweden commented on the non-rapture. The newspaper is called “Svenska Dagbladet” and can be found at “www.svd.se”. However, I don’t think they talked about you. But it does show that no one can get away with this kind of bullshit in the modern age without the whole world knowing it.

Reply
Brian May 23, 2011 at 5:06 am

The two billboards in Grand Rapids, MI were already down when I drove into work this morning. I’m a bit disappointed since I wanted to do a Nelson Muntz “HA ha!” as I went by.

Reply
Paul R May 23, 2011 at 5:07 am

I also noticed this news story on Youtube, featuring a certain Mr Mulvey:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvu62fDcjOo&feature=BFp&list=WL0B191240AD59174B&index=7

I didn’t see it in the huge list you’ve already got, but might have missed it

:D

Reply
fenchurch May 23, 2011 at 6:31 am

But since facts, research, and critical thinking never get in the way of religious rhetoric, this example of yet another failed prophecy will likely only resonate with those who thought it was baseless before the 21st.

Thinking for oneself, examining facts, finishing education in a secular system, reading more than one book, and leaving the clubs that both tear them down and build them back up, are all too difficult for many theists.

Resisting that tax-free status must be hard for those institutions which are in the service of lies.

Reply
arensb May 23, 2011 at 6:48 am

I love the “The End Was Nigh” sign.

And I’m still scratching my head about how Der Spiegel, normally a reputable publication, managed to turn “backpedaling” into “paddleback”. Did they feed it into Babel Fish and translate from English to German or something?

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