Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker talk with Rachel Harger about the upcoming Texas Secular Convention in Austin, they play for us actor Stephen Fry’s comments about what he’d say to God at the Pearly Gates, and celebrate the 89th birthday of freethought poet laureate Philip Appleman. They talk with journalist Katherine Stewart, author of the book The Good News Club, about the movement to plant a church in every public school. Then, has the United States Geological Survey masterminded a huge coverup to keep us from knowing that a massive supervolcano under Yellowstone Park is about to erupt? Some think so. Skeptophilia‘s Gordon Bonnet investigates. In hour two, the irresponsibility of parents not vaccinating their children has been highlighted in the media in the wake of the California measles outbreak. On the latest Point of Inquiry podcast, host Lindsay Beyerstein talks with Dr. Paul Offit, a Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, about the measles epidemic and what is at the root of unfounded vaccine fears. The Ithaca Voice reported this week that vaccination rates are significantly lower in Ithaca area schools than the state and national averages. Could it happen here? Finally, International Darwin Day is Feb. 12 and we are already in the middle of the annual Darwin Days here in Ithaca. We’ll hear Richard Dawkins’ talk at the 2009 Darwin, Humanism and Science conference based on Darwin’s words at the end of the Origin: “There is grandeur in this view of life.”
The schedule of Ithaca Darwin Days events is available here. For Darwin Day (Feb. 12) events around the world, check here.
Show takeaways: keep state and church separate, vaccinate your kids, don’t lose sleep over Yellowstone exploding, and get out and enjoy Darwin Days events this week.
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.
Ken Ham suffers “a scratch” from Bill Nye. We hear an hour of their debate on evolution vs. creation from last week.