SkepSun #170 (12_27_2015)

On Freethought Radio we hear Richard Dawkins read the Foreword he wrote for Dan Barker’s book Godless, and end the year with some relaxing freethought and seasonal music from FFRF’s “Adrift on a Star” CD.

We’ll hear an excerpt from a recent Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe on which Steven Novella breaks down the recent study showing an increased risk for autism for children whose mothers who took anti-depressants during pregnancy. They also talk about a new study finding contaminants in traditional Chinese medicine herbal supplements.

Pity the poor children of the State of Arizona. The recently appointed chair of the Arizona State Senate Committee on Education is a chemtrail conspiracy-believing young earth creationist who’s advocated a law requiring Americans to go to church on Sunday in order to achieve a “moral rebirth.” Gordon Bonnet provides the gruesome details in a blog post from Skeptophilia entitled “Moronocracy.”

Then, Brian Dunning on Skeptoid that asks whether the stories of WWI soldiers laying aside their rifles on Christmas day 1914, meeting, greeting and playing football are true.

Hemant Mehta talks to Dr. Ken Miller, Professor of Biology at Brown University, on the tenth anniversary of the court case that gutted the Intelligent Design movement in which Miller was an expert witness for the science side, Kitzmiller v. DoverHemant asks Miller about whether evolution advocates can finally relax, how a Roman Catholic like himself reconciles science and faith, and the effect of Creationist propaganda on science literacy. Miller is the author of Finding Darwin’s God and Only a Theory.


Dr. Ken Miller of Brown University on the stand in the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover case that ruled “Intelligent Design” to be religion and therefore inadmissible in public school science curricula.

SkepSun #168 (12_13_2015)

Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker host their first show produced in the new Stephen Uhl Friendly Atheist Studio at Freethought Hall in Madison, WI.  They’ll tell us about a full-page FFRF ad in the New York Times celebrating the birth of the Bill of Rights (December 15, 1791) and other activities of the FFRF. After hearing Philip Appleman’s poem “Fleas” set to music, they talk with Laurie Lebo, author of The Devil in Dover, about the 10th anniversary of Kitzmiller v. Dover, which booted “intelligent design” from public high-school science classes.

Gordon Bonnet of the Skeptophilia blog makes an urgent appeal to his conservative Republican friends to step back a moment, move beyond the atmospherics, and really consider what Donald Trump is saying, since life as an ex-pat doesn’t really appeal to him.

Infectious disease MD Mark Crislip has a look at the lastest studies on what he calls the “theatrical placebo” known as acupuncture.  Turns out there’s no need a poke a hole in these studies, they come pre-perforated.

Then, a very basic question posed to numerous philosophers by Niger Warbuton on the Philosophy Bites podcast, namely, “What is Philosophy?”

Laser needle therapy being used to treat asthma-bronchitis in a child. Because, you know, lasers.

Laser needle therapy being used to treat asthma-bronchitis in a child. Because, you know, lasers.

SkepSun #78 (02_16_2014)

On the weekend following Darwin week, we stay on the subject of religious opposition to evolution by natural selection in America. We’ll hear some great analysis of the Bill Nye – Ken Ham debate that we played last week from the hosts of the Reasonable Doubts podcast and also a snippet from a similar debate from 20 years ago, between Phillip E. Johnson, the author of Darwin On Trial and father of the ‘Intelligent Design Movement’ and Cornell’s own professor of evolutionary biology, now emeritus, William Provine.  But we get started as we do each week with Freethought Radio, the show produced by the Freedom From Religion Foundation on which Annie Laurie Gaylor and Andrew Seidel  interview the erudite and entertaining Ronald L. Numbers, history professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, about the history of creationism in this country. They also discuss FFRF’s new creationism law FAQ, Andrew’s complaint to New York officials over infant endangerment and deaths from an ultra-Orthodox Jewish circumcision ritual and honor the birthdays of Charles Darwin, Galileo, Jeremy Bentham and Susan B. Anthony.


SkepSun #77 (02_09_2014)

February 12th is the birthday of Charles Darwin, now known as “Darwin Day.” Here in Ithaca we get a whole week of Darwin events thanks to the Museum of the Earth. I’ll fill you in on the details. Sadly, 155 years after the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species, during which time additional evidence for evolution has piled to the sky and it has become the organizing principle of biology, Darwin’s revolutionary contribution is still controversial among conservative Christians, many of whom are still fighting for some form of creationism to be taught in public school science classes alongside, or even better, in place of, evolution. Biblical literalist Ken Ham, director of the Creation Museum in Kentucky debated Cornell grad Bill Nye the Science guy on Tuesday of last week on the question “is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?”  We’ll hear an hour of that debate on today’s show. But first on Freethought Radio, Annie Laurie Gaylor will fill us in on  international blasphemy prosecutions, a UN committee’s evaluation of Vatican failings, and she’ll honor the birthdays of Philip Appleman and Phyllis Rose, and yes, Charles Darwin. Also, FFRF staff attorney Patrick Elliott talks about a North Carolina state/church victory and  a religious voucher school in Milwaukee that closed its doors after receiving more than $2 million in tax dollars.

Nye Ham Monty Python

Ken Ham suffers “a scratch” from Bill Nye. We hear an hour of their debate on evolution vs. creation from last week.