On Freethought Radio, Texas Governor Abbot censors FFRF’s “Bill of Rights Nativity” from the state capitol. Wisconsin lawmaker Scott Allen uses government resources to convert non-Christians. Idaho post office removes Christmas greeting from window. Then, after hearing Paul Robeson sing “The Bill of Rights,” Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker talk with Thomas Sheedy who won the Richard and Beverly Hermsen Student Activist award for fighting to establish a secular club at his high school.
The end of the year/beginning of a new one is a time for lists. Brian Dunning on the Skeptoid podcast gives us his list of the 10 worst anti-science websites.
At the beginning of year that’s going to be dominated by political mud-slinging, Gordon Bonnet of the Skeptophilia blog issues a plea for restraint when it comes to the rhetoric we use to characterize our political opponents.
Finally, Caltech physicist Sean Carroll describes an “embarrassing” state of affairs in modern physics: namely that we still don’t know how to interpret quantum mechanics almost a century after its discovery. Speaking with Julia Galef on the Rationally Speaking podcast, Sean explains why he thinks the “Many Worlds Interpretation” is the most plausible one we’ve got, addresses whether it can be tested, how it might be “simpler” than other interpretations, and whether it threatens to destroy our systems of ethics.
Skeptical Sunday is back after a four-week hiatus and on this week’s show we consider whether theism is compatible with what we know of about the cosmos from science. We’ll hear Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor’s talk to MIT cosmologist Sean Carroll and also what may be the last interview of physicist Victor Stenger, who sadly passed away in late August. Stenger, a stalwart of the so-called “new atheist” movement, was a retired elementary particle physicist who wrote many critically well-received popular books that discuss the interface between physics, cosmology, philosophy, religion, and pseudoscience. His last book, which went on sale in September, is called God and the Multiverse. Stenger talked with Alan Litchfield on the Malcontent’s Gambit podcast about the current understanding of Big Bang cosmology and the merits of the multiverse hypothesis. But first, on the latest Freethought Radio, FFRF protests Pulpit Freedom Sunday, a day when pastors are encouraged to break IRS electioneering law. We’ll hear about FFRF’s victory in a Texas elementary school and more on their complaint regarding the St. Augustine, FL mayor’s invitation to the pope. Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker celebrate the birthdays of John Lennon, Guiseppe Verdi, Joe Hill, and Thelonious Monk. Then they talk with Alabama student activist Amanda Scott about her efforts to separate religion and government.
Physicist and “New Atheist” Victor J. Stenger, 1935-2014.
On Skeptical Sunday this week, we’ll hear about the personal philosophies of two different particle physicists, an infectious disease M.D. and an experimental psychologist/linguist. How does science influence their personal beliefs? First, on Freethought Radio, FFRF attorney Andrew Seidel describes a controversy at a college over creationism and Dan and Annie Laurie speak to physics professor Victor Stenger, author of God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion.” In hour two of Skeptical Sunday, we’ll hear from another physicist, CalTech’s Sean Carroll describe naturalism, the viewpoint that supernatural stuff just doesn’t exist, with Massimo Pigliucci and Julia Galef on the Rationally Speaking podcast. They discuss what a naturalistic worldview implies about free will, consciousness, and other philosophical dilemmas and address that long-standing debate: should scientists have more respect for philosophy? In between there, somewhere, we hear from doctor Mark Crislip who looks for some boundaries between science and pseudoscience and also cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker who says that for him, reason goes a long way in his personal worldview.