SkepSun #158 (10_04_2015)

On Freethought Radio, Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker examine the duplicity of government officials who place religious images in public buildings and put “In God We Trust” on police vehicles, claiming these acts are not religious while at the same time admitting they want to proselytize for Jesus and they talk with David Clohessy, National Director of SNAP (Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests) about his recent settlement with the diocese of Jefferson, Missouri over his own abuse by a priest in the early 1970s.

After Freethought Radio, Ryan Haupt turns a skeptical eye to stories from the 1970s about a cryptid from his hometown in Loveland, Ohio known as the “Loveland Frog” on the Skeptoid podcast.  Might there still be an amphi-humanoid inhabiting the roadside ditches of southwestern Ohio?

Then, after reading Ava Norwood’s novel If I Make My Bed In Hell and  two recent articles in the Pacific Standard (here and here) about the Twelve Tribes group which runs the Maté Factor Restaurant on the Ithaca Commons, Gordon Bonnet, author of the Skeptophilia blog, looks at how fear generated by religious beliefs can be used as cudgel to make life hell on earth for vulnerable women and children.

In Hour Two, Bo Bennett on the Humanist Hour podcast interviews Chris Matheson, a screenwriter from Portland, Oregon whose credits include Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, and Rapture-Palooza about his new book The Story of God: A Biblical Comedy about Love (and Hate). What kind of psychological profile do we come away with for God if we look closely at the character of God as he’s portrayed in the Old and New Testaments?

Meet the anuran-humanoid cryptid from southwestern Ohio, the Loveland Frog

Meet the anuran-humanoid cryptid from southwestern Ohio, the Loveland Frog

SkepSun #117 (12_14_2014)

On Freethought Radio, Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor tell us about nativity scenes, county grants to churches, praying high-school coaches, and Winter Solstice displays that are all in the news this week. Then they speak with Harvard evolutionary psychologist and linguist Steven Pinker about his newest book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. Apropos of good writing, tomorrow, Monday the 15th, we mark the passing three years ago of author, essayist, polemicist, and contrarian Christopher Hitchens. Atheism never had a more rhetorically skilled advocate and religion never a more formidable opponent. This past week, reflecting on this sad anniversary and the void left behind, I found myself watching clips of Hitchens in action, online, some of which we’ll hear on today’s show.  [In doing so I stumbled upon an excellent documentary spanning Hitchens life and career.  It is so good that you’d never guess it was made by one individual fan named Kristoffer Hellssmark as a labor of love. It is called simply “The Hitch” and is available on the website Vimeo. ] Afterwards, we’ll sample a recent episode of the Friendly Atheist podcast on which hosts Hemant Mehta and Jessica Bluemke interview Steve Wells, author of the Skeptics Annotated Bible (an amazing resource that exists both online and in print). They speak with Steve about his time in seminary, how one documents the number of deaths during an imaginary flood, and what has motivated him to spend the last 25 years of his life producing annotated guides not only to the Bible, but also to the Qu’ran and Book of Mormon.


Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011

SkepSun #87 (04_20_2014)

Today is of course Easter, the day on which Christians commemorate the supposed resurrection of Jesus from the dead, the central miracle of their faith. Christians would like to believe that the gospels provide the testimony of four independent witnesses who agree on the details. But do the four Gospels provide a clear, accurate and consistent portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth? After Freethought Radio,we’ll hear Dave Fletcher, Jeremy Beahan and Luke Galen of the Reasonable Doubts podcast discuss how modern biblical scholarship and a method known as redaction criticism paint a radically different picture of the gospels, their origins and historical accuracy. Differences and inconsistencies among the Gospels are not random, but reflect the agendas of each of the Gospel writers and point to a missing source for the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, called, the ‘Q Gospel.’ But we start things off as we do each week with Freethought Radio, the show produced by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor talk about FFRF’s complaint to Clemson University about their proselytizing football coach, Saudi Arabia declaration that “atheism = terrorism” and describe the many freethought connections to Shakespeare and Prokofiev (both born on or about April 23), and they talk with activist and philanthropist Todd Stiefel of the Stiefel Freethought Foundation.




Jesus doesn't stay dead