On Freethought Radio, Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker talk with evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne (author of the best seller Why Evolution is True) about his new book, Faith vs. Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible. Then we hear excerpts of Chris Johnson’s new film, A Better Life: An Exploration of Joy & Meaning in a World Without God. After that, Gordon Bonnet has some thoughts about detoxification: about when it’s necessary and when it’s just, well, woo, as in activated charcoal lemonade…yum. Then, a topic we touched on a few weeks back: the future of artificial intelligence and whether we should worry about a robot apocalypse or singularity when machines become smarter than we. First Sam Harris weighs in from his “Ask Me Anything” podcast and provides some reasons why he takes this issue very seriously and then Philosopher David Chalmers discusses the philosophical implications of the singularity with Nigel Warburton on the Philosophy Bites podcast. Finally on Point of Inquiry, host Josh Zepps interviews Alex Garland, writer and director of Ex Machina, a new film, now in theaters, that tells the story of a billionaire programmer who creates an artificially intelligent female robot. They discuss the science and philosophy behind consciousness, the future of self-aware machines, and ethical considerations we’ve barely begun to ponder.
How worried should we be about Ebola? On his Quackcast, infectious disease M.D. Mark Crislip puts this scary virus into context for us and suggests that the Ebola epidemic might be the perfect opportunity for homeopaths to prove the efficacy of their alt-medicine. Then, Sam Harris, author of the End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation has a new book out, it’s called Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality without Religion. In the book Harris maintains that there is more to understanding reality than science and secular culture generally admit and that how we pay attention to the present moment largely determines the quality of our lives. Harris talks with Josh Zepps on the Point of Inquiry podcast. But we get underway with Freethought Radio. Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor report on FFRF state/church victories including stopping prayers over the loudspeakers at high-school football games. After celebrating the birthdays of two freethinking songwriters, they talk with Nikki Muongo, a Missouri mother who successfully convinced her city not to display “In God We Trust” on government property.
On Freethought Radio, after hearing about an FFRF billboard in Janesville, Wisconsin that says “Enjoy Life Now: There is no afterlife,” hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor dissect the oral arguments heard in the Supreme Court “Greece vs. Galloway” case dealing with prayer at the Greece, NY, city council. Then they talk with a legal legend, Nebraska Senator Ernie Chambers whose 1983 lawsuit resulted in the historic “Marsh vs. Chambers” decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. After Freethought Radio, Brian Dunning looks at five false claims about raw milk on Skeptoid. Then, in hour two, the Skeptic Rogues of the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe interview Gerald Posner author of Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK, about the 50th anniversary of the mother of all conspiracy theories. And finally, on the newly revamped Point of Inquiry podcast, host Josh Zepps interviews physicist, author, and screenwriter Leonard Mlodinow about his most recent book Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior. In this interview, Mlodinow explains how we have trouble poking holes in our own suppositions.[audio http://dl.dropbox.com/s/823rpb028azuqxi/SkepSun_11_17_2013.mp3]
It’s the first of two live WRFI Fall fundraiser editions of Skeptical Sunday. Dr. Gregg D. Caruso of Corning Community College is our guest in the studio in hour two and our topic is Free Will. What is it, do we have it, if we don’t what then? Dr. Caruso says Free Will is an illusion, but not to worry, understanding it for what it is could bring benefits to society.
But first we get started with Freethought Radio. It’s Annie Laurie Gaylor’s birthday and we listen to a 1980 interview of Annie Laurie Gaylor talking about the harm of religion to women. They also celebrate the birthday of Bad Religion’s Greg Graffin, our guest on last year’s fundraiser show, by playing the punk-rock tune “God’s Love.” Then they talk with Jesse Galef, Communications Director of the Secular Student Alliance, about the challenges and rewards of forming new freethought clubs on high-school campuses.
Thank you to everyone who pledged to WRFI during the show. The rest of you will have another opportunity next week when my in-studio guest will be ex-Muslim Demir Barlas.
For more on Gregg Caruso, go here
Philosopher Gregg D. Caruso, PhD: Free Will skeptic and “hard-enough” determinist.
Nonbelievers are in the news on Freethought Radio. When CNN’s Wolf Blitzer suggests to a tornado survivor that she must be thanking God, she confidently tells him she’s an atheist and Ricky Gervais sends money, not prayers, to Oklahoma relief. An Arizona representative unsurprisingly catches flack for delivering a secular humanist invocation before his state assembly and an Australian TV host delivers an “Aussie” version of the Ten Commandments. Dan and Annie Laurie talk to high-school activist Gage Pulliam, whose complaint to the FFRF resulted in the Muldrow, Oklahoma schools removing hundreds of Ten Commandments plaques from the walls of public classrooms. We’ll hear Tim Minchin’s take on thanking God for miracles. In Hour Two of Skeptical Sunday, the Skeptic Rogues talk to neuroscientist Heather Berlin about the neural basis for consciousness and whether any neuroscientists are mind-body dualists. And finally, on Point of Inquiry, host Chris Mooney asks feminist poet, author and columnist Katha Pollitt whether religion is inherently sexist.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, suffragette & freethinker