SkepSun #144 (06_28_2015)

On Freethought Radio, after co-hosts Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker report FFRF victories in Arkansas and Wisconsin and a complaint about a Florida sheriff who preaches in uniform, Annie Laurie analyzes what is wrong with the pope’s recent encyclical on climate change and what is right about South Carolina’s move to remove the confederate flag. Then they talk with Rita Swan, founder and director of C.H.I.L.D—Children’s Healthcare is a Legal Duty—about her decades-long effort to fight the religious medical neglect of children after she lost her own child due to Christian Science practices. Then on the Philosophy Bites podcast: Stoicism. William B. Irvine makes the case that this Greco-Roman philosophy that promotes avoiding needless anxiety, enjoying the world around us, and  remaining optimistic in the face of setbacks is relevant to us in the 21st Century. He talks with Nigel Warburton on the Philosophy Bites podcast. We’ll hear from Gordon Bonnet of Skeptophilia who has a look at the six alien species that are fighting for control the Earth, according some people who are clearly well informed. Then continuing with our Freehtought Trail series, we’ll hear a lecture by historian Christopher Cameron from University of North Carolina, Charlotte entitled “Frederick Douglass as antislavery campaigner, feminist, and freethinker.” An escaped slave, Douglass became America’s most prominent African-American critic of slavery in the South. He spent the most productive quarter-century of his life in Rochester, New York, where he is buried.

Frederick Douglass, Antislavery campaigner, Feminist, & Freethinker.

Frederick Douglass: antislavery campaigner, feminist, & freethinker

SkepSun #109 (10_19_2014)

We’re talking extraterrestrials and UFOs on this Skeptical Sunday. Why do scientists take seriously the possibility of life on other planets, but the idea that aliens are visiting us in UFOs not so much? We’ll listen to a podcast produced for the true-believers out there…it’s called Podcast UFO hosted by Martin Willis.  Martin interviews and debates Dr. Seth Shostack about whether credible evidence that aliens might be visiting us.  Shostack is a Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California and is a host of SETI’s weekly radio show Big Picture Science that airs weekly on WRFI. Decide for yourself who’s more convincing,  the skeptic or the believer. Then, on this week’s Point of Inquiry, Dr. Steven J. Dick, the Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology, discusses progress that has been made in the search for extraterrestrial life with host Josh Zepps, and what the ramifications will be if and when we make the discovery that we are not alone. But first we get underway with Freethought Radio, the show produced by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. After updates from the frontlines of battle for the separation of state/church in South Dakota, Georgia, Ohio, and Oklahoma, Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker treat us to some remarks from science-fiction writer Ursula K. LeGuin, to Malala Yousafzai’s Nobel Peace Prize remarks, and talk with Bob Ripley, former pastor of the largest mainline Protestant church in Canada who resigned after discarding his faith; he has a new book out called Life Beyond Belief: A Preacher’s Deconversion.


Jodie Foster as SETI scientist Ellie Arroway in the movie "Contact"

Jodie Foster as Dr. Ellie Arroway in the movie “Contact”

SkepSun #71 (12_29_2013)

Time to reflect on the year gone by and look forward to the one ahead. On Freethought Radio Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker listen to some of their favorite freethought music, including tunes by Yip Harburg, Burton Lane, Tom Lehrer, Kristen Lems, George and Ira Gershwin, Joe Hill, Philip Appleman, Cole Porter, and Frank Loesser and end with a Scottish version of freethinker Robert Burns’ “Auld Lang Syne.” Afterwards we here more from Dan Barker, his 14 minute case against the existence of God, given in a tux, in a November 2012 debate at the Oxford Union in Oxford, England. Then Brian Dunning of Skeptoid looks at the famous “WOW” signal received by Ohio State University’s radio telescope on August 15, 1977 and asks if it’s possible it was an alien radio transmission. In the final segment, we hear Dr. Paul Offit Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, and the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia interviewed by Lindsey Beyerstein . They discuss Offit’s new book “Do you Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine” in which he points a critical eye at the alt-med industry, one than takes in 34 billion dollars a year with little to no regulation. Are patients being harmed, and is it any worse or better than so-called “Big Pharma”?


The “WOW” signal recorded detected by Jerry R. Ehman on August 15, 1977, while he was working on a SETI project at the Big Ear radio telescope of The Ohio State University’s Perkins Observatory in Delaware, Ohio. The signal bore the expected hallmarks of non-terrestrial and non-Solar System origin.

SkepSun #39 (05_19_2013)

What will incite more wrath on Ithaca’s airwaves than criticizing religion? How about an expert with something good to say about fracking! But first, Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor, hosts of Freethought Radio, celebrate Bertrand Russell’s birthday on May 18 by listening to his own voice commenting on Christianity and the afterlife. Then Annie Laurie reads Russell’s “Ten Thoughts” alternative to the Ten Commandments, and Dan’s song “Reincarnation” about the after-life. They then talk with FFRF attorney Patrick Elliott about the successful removal of Ten Commandments displays from Oklahoma and Kentucky public schools, and (it’s that time of year) the ongoing problem with the distribution of Gideon bibles in public schools. Then, what are the consequences of believing in alien abduction? (How about needless, overwhelming fear and sleep deprivation?) On the JREF podcast Consequence host Brian Thompson talks to his friend Richard who grew up inundated with pop culture that convinced him not only that extraterrestrials were visiting earth, but that they were also abducting innocent people for strange experiments. Finally, is there such a thing as an energy policy moderate? On Point of Inquiry, host Chris Mooney talks to energy security and climate change expert Michael Levi about fracking, pipelines and science. Levi is author of the new book The Power Surge: Energy, Opportunity, and the Battle for America’s Future—in which he has some favorable things to say about “fracking” for natural gas and even, yes, the Keystone XL Pipeline. Decide for yourself if he has a point or not.