SkepSun #114 (11_23_2014)

We get started with Freethought Radio on which Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker discuss FFRF’s temporary setback (on standing, not merits) in federal Appeals Court over the IRS Housing Allowance case and they announce a new lawsuit challenging prayer at Chino Valley, California, school board meetings. They celebrate the 88th birthday of FFRF’s principal founder Anne Nicol Gaylor by honoring the feminist freethinker Margaret Sanger and then talk with author and scholar Barbara G. Walker about her new book, Belief and Unbelief.  Afterwards we’ll hear from Kristoff Koch, a German-born American neuroscientist and long-time collaborator with Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA who later studied the physical basis of consciousness. Koch’s talk, God, Death and Francis Crick, is a tribute to Crick in which he describes his mentor’s thoroughgoing rationalism and the inspirational way he dealt with his impending death from cancer. Then we hear a talk by psychologist, bestselling author, and founder of the Skeptic Society, Michael Shermer from last year’s TAM. Shermer has a new book coming out in the new year which will be called The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom. In the book and in this talk entitled Science and Justice he makes the case that abstract reasoning, rationality, empiricism, skepticism–scientific ways of thinking–have made people, and society as a whole, more moral.

Francis Crick (1916-2004), molecular biologist, neuroscientist, Nobel Prize winner, atheist.

Francis Crick (1916-2004), molecular biologist, neuroscientist, Nobel Prize winner, atheist.

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