SkepSun #173 (01_17_2016)

On Freethought Radio, legal fellow Ryan Jayne updates Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor on FFRF’s New Jersey lawsuit challenging millions of “historic preservation” dollars handed to churches, many for the purpose of worship. They discuss a cross on a Kentucky city water tower, another one on an Illinois war memorial, and government censorship of freethought speech. Then they interview feminist atheist author Sikivu Hutchinson about her new book, White Nights, Black Paradise, about Jim Jones’s People’s Temple and the 1978 massacre in Jonestown, Guyana.

We’ll hear an excerpt from Sam Harris’ “Waking Up” podcast in which he responds to the attempts of some to blame atheism for mass shootings that took place in 2015. Harris reminds these folks that atheism is simply the absence of belief in gods and has no ideology, tenets or scripture that sanction violence, unlike a few religions we know.

Starting off hour two of the show, Gordon Bonnet of the Skeptophilia blog marvels at how it seems no amount of evidence that the HPV vaccine Gardisil is safe will ever satisfy some parents.

In the final segment of the show, Bo Bennett and Kim Ellington speak with Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Tampa, Ryan T. Cragun about the sociology of religion on the Humanist Hour podcast. What accounts for the meteoric rise in the number of Americans who don’t identify with any religion since 1990? Cragun has  theory. He’s the author of two books: What You Don’t Know About Religion (but Should) (2013), and How to Defeat Religion in 10 Easy Steps: A Toolkit for Secular Activists (2015).


Sociologist of religion Ryan T. Cragun


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