SkepSun #147 (07_19_2015)

On Freethought Radio, after Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor report on an FFRF state/church victory removing Christian crosses from a Texas county building, they talk with Catherine Dunphy, a Catholic seminarian and chaplain who abandoned her faith and author of the new book, From Apostle to Apostate: The Story of the Clergy Project, tells us about how this new group is helping to “Save a Preacher.” This summer we’re featuring Robert Green Ingersoll and the other freethinking luminaries of the latter half of the 19th Century from these parts, all of whom are themselves featured on the Freethought Trail, a collection of 60 sites in our region  Freethought and other radical reform movements of that era.  Today we’ll hear some outtakes from actor Richard McNally’s performance in the persona of Robert Ingersoll. A Monsignor from Scranton, PA is trying to get a nation-wide exorcism to happen in the U.S.A. you know, to expell all the demons.  Because, apparently, one of these worked really well in Mexico recently, or something. Gordon Bonnet of Skeptophilia will fill us in. Finally, in hour two, why is “The West” i.e. Western Europe and North America, the dominant world power?  Stanford Professor of History Ian Morris casts doubt on old explanations and with a data-driven approach attempts to measure “social development” over history and find explanations for it. Julia Galef, host of the Rationally Speaking podcast, delves into Morris’ method and conclusions, and asks: can we make causal inferences about history?

Robert Green Ingersoll, champion of Freethought, born in the Finger Lakes

Robert Green Ingersoll, champion of Freethought, born in the Finger Lakes

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