SkepSun #145 (07_05_2015)

On this Independence Day weekend Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker, co-Presidents of the Freedom From Religion Foundation celebrate the Supreme Court decision recognizing gay marriage, and the July 4 birthday of American songwriter Stephen Foster. They talk with FFRF attorney Katherine Paige about the Colorado Supreme Court nixing vouchers to private religious schools. Then they interview Brady Henderson, legal director of the ACLU of Oklahoma, about their state supreme court victory this week calling for the removal of the Ten Commandments from the state capitol. After Freethought Radio, Gordon Bonnet says  we need resist our natural tendency to surround ourselves with the like-minded in a piece from the Skeptophilia blog called “Leaving the Echo Chamber.” We’ll hear an inspiring outtake from Carl Sagan’s last interview before his death with Charlie Rose, from a YouTube video entitled “A Way of Thinking.” And in hour two, a real treat, we continue our profiles of 19th Century Freethinkers featured on the West-Central New York Freethought Trail with Melinda Grube, Adjunct Lecturer in History at Cayuga Community College who spoke at the Robert Green Ingersoll and Reform Imperative Conference held at the Center For Inquiry in Amherst, New York last year.  She will, at least at the start of her talk, “channel” first-wave feminist and Freethinker Elizabeth Cady Stanton, of Seneca Falls, NY as she leads us through Stanton’s extraordinary life.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902)  of Seneca Falls, New York. Feminist,  Abolitionist, Freethinker.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) of Seneca Falls, New York. Feminist, Abolitionist, Freethinker.

SkepSun #84 (03_30_2014)

For the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, Freethought Radio celebrates the life and legacy of the freethinking lyricist Yip Harburg, who wrote “Over the Rainbow,” and many other songs. We’ll hear Yip himself singing “If I Only Had a Brain,” “Over the Rainbow,” “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” and “Last Night When We Were Young.” Then Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor interview Yip’s son, Ernie Harburg, also an atheist, who is director of the Yip Harburg Foundation, about his father’s artistic life and social activism. In honor of Women’s History Month, we hear a talk from last year’s Women in Secularism II conference by Maryam Namazie in which she describes the necessary relationship between women’s rights and secularism in the Islamic world. Namazie is an Iranian-born human rights activist, commentator and broadcaster. She is spokesperson for Iran Solidarity, One Law for All and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. Finally, continuing the skeptical look at food claims we began last week, celebrated food author Michael Pollan takes on the popular “Paleo” and raw food diets.  To eat well, he says, we need to eat less meat, more microbes and we need to cook it ourselves.

[audio http://dl.dropbox.com/s/to0pf8u43jrqn9g/SkepSun_03_30_2013.mp3]



Maryam Namazie, Iranian-born ex-muslim secularist and feminist activist.

SkepSun #73 (01_12_2013)

Today on Skeptical Sunday we focus on religion’s war on women. Is the misogyny of fundamentalist and orthodox versions of the monotheisms—Judaism, Christianity and Islam—simply an error of interpretation  some people make when reading their holy texts?  Today we’ll hear the case that no, that misogyny is inextricably at the core of the Torah, the Bible and the Koran. We’ll hear talks given by  two women who have escaped from religion and who are now activists for secularism.  Valerie Tarico is an American psychologist and former Evangelical Christian; she talks about why we need to take on the Bible if we want gender roles and reproductive rights to keep evolving in our society. Then we hear from Somalia-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who must live under protection from death threats for having left Islam, having made a movie highlighting the misogyny in the Koran while living in Holland, and having declared herself an atheist. An activist for the rights of women immigrating to the West from the Muslim world, we’ll hear a talk given by Hirsi Ali in 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin in which she directs some harsh criticism at the mainstream women’s movement in this country. First though, on Freethought Radio, Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker update us on the latest skirmishes in religion’s war on reproductive rights. They discuss a famous singer/entertainer and also a rock band leader you probably had no idea are nonbelievers. They also interview science blogger and professor PZ Myers about his new book, The Happy Atheist.



SkepSun #47 (07_14_2013)

This week on Skeptical Sunday: does the Pope rule Ireland as well as Texas and Wisconsin?  On Freethought Radio, Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor look at the recent assaults on abortion rights backed by the RC Church in the U.S. and abroad. Then they speak with Jerry Coyne, evolutionary biologist at the U. of Chicago and author of “Why Evolution is True” about creationism sneaking into public universities. I make some summer entertainment and recreation suggestions: first the Freethougtht Trail, including the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum in Dresden, NY, and the Hill Cumorah Pageant which runs July 16-20 up in Palmyra, NY. In the second half of Skeptical Sunday we hear two talks from the recent Women in Secularism II conference in Washington, DC: we’ll hear feminist poet and essayist Katha Pollitt “Sexism and Religion: Can the Knot be Untied” and journalist and historian Susan Jacoby “Why the Lost History of Secular Women Matters Today.”



The Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum in Dresden, NY