SkepSun #174 (01_24_2016)

On Freethought Radio, Aleta Ledendecker tells co-hosts Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker about the secular invocation she delivered before the City Council of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, that was rudely cut off by the mayor and boycotted by city council members. Then they talk with California attorney Michael Newdow about his new federal lawsuit challenging “In God We Trust” on U.S. currency.

Try to do research on the Holocaust online and you’re bound to get bogged down by claims that are difficult to check out by Holocausts denialist who protray themselves as courageous mavericks challenging orthodoxy and censorship. Brian Dunning has a look at the industry of Holocaust denialism on Skeptoid.

Gordon Bonnet has a look at another form of denialism, anthropogenic climate change denialism. A guy named Ross McLeod has demonstrated that if you can throw around fancy sounding terms like the  you can get people to believe you know what you’re talking about, even if your math is way off.

Campbell Soup Company will soon start voluntarily labelling their products for GMO content. A good idea, or not? The Skeptic Rogues of the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe have a look at the question.

In the final segment of the show, we’ll hear Susan Jacoby’s lecture entitled “The Conscience of an Atheist” delivered at the Center For Inquiry’s Reason for Change conference in Buffalo, NY last June. Jacoby explores how we should approach opposition to secular ideas of morality, and the personal comfort she has found through her atheism and secular views, even in times of great loss and sadness. Jacoby is the author of several critically acclaimed books, including Freethinkers (2004 ) and the New York Times bestseller, The Age of American Unreason (2008).

Campbells Soup GMOs

Campbell’s soup to voluntarily label products containing GM ingredients: a smart move to inform consumers, or perpetuating groundless fears?



SkepSun #146 (07_12_2015)

On Freethought Radio we hear from Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker about FFRF’s new lawsuit (with AU and the ACLU) challenging Brevard County, Florida barring nontheists from opening meetings with a secular invocation. They report a victory removing the Christian flag from city property in Alabama, listen to Annie Laurie Gaylor’s “conversation” with four male theists on Fox News’ Sean Hannity show, and celebrate the birthday of life-long atheist comedian Phyllis Diller. Then we speak with clinical psychologist and professor Hector A. Garcia about his new book, Alpha God: The Psychology of Religious Violence and Oppression. Then from the Australian Broadcast Service, Andrew West, host of the Religion and Ethics Report interviews two guests who challenge the popularly believed narrative that the USA is a Christian Nation. Kevin Kruze is Professor of History at Princeton University and author or One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America and Steven Green, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Religion, Law, and Democracy at Willamette University and author of Inventing a Christian America: the Myth of the Religious Founding. The ability to to examine and revise your beliefs is at the heart of being a good skeptic. Are you ready to reconsider your opinion of GMOs? Mark Lynas, originally an anti-GMO activist, will ask you to do just that in a talk he gave at Cornell University entitled “Changing Crops for a Changing Climate.” But perhaps worrying about feeding the world is unnecessary. Gordon Bonnet of Skeptophilia will tell us about a man in India who claims he hasn’t had anything to eat or drink in 75 years. Stranger yet is the fact that so many people seem ready to believe him.

Mark Lynas: from anti-GMO activist to GMO advocate

Mark Lynas: from anti-GMO activist to GMO advocate

SkepSun #124 (02_01_2015)

After discussing atheism in the news over the past week, Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker celebrate the birthday of freethinking composer Burton Lane by playing his irreverent song “The Begats,” from Finian’s Rainbow. Then they talk with skeptical author Michael Shermer about his new book, The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity Toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom. The skeptic rogues from the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe podcast discuss irrational opposition to the genetically modified crop known as “golden rice”  Then, in the aftermath of last week’s winter storm Juno, Gordon Bonnet of Skeptophilia delves into the political Right’s paranoia that the National Weather Service and the even weather itself has been corrupted by liberals who want to destroy America. Finally in hour two, we’ll hear Dr. Phil Zuckerman from Pitzer College in Claremont, California explain the dramatic increase of Americans who report they eschew religion. Back in the 1950s, fewer than 5% of Americans described themselves as nonreligious. Now approximately 30% identify as such. What factors are contributing to this unprecedented wave of secularization? And what are some likely consequences? Zuckerman’s latest book is entitled Living the Secular Life: New Answers to Old Questions.

Check out the Ithaca Darwin Days schedule of events right here.  Events begin this coming Friday.

"The Rise of the Nones": Professor Phil Zuckerman of Pitzer College, Claremont, California

“The Rise of the Nones”: Professor Phil Zuckerman of Pitzer College, Claremont, California

SkepSun #98 (07_06_2014)

On this week’s Skeptical Sunday, Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor discuss the disastrous Supreme Court “Hobby Lobby” decision, then honor America’s birthday by celebrating the July 4 (1826) birthday of songwriter Stephen Foster on Freethought Radio. They also talk with Emmy-Award-winning Hollywood actor Scott Clifton, who hosts the “Theoretical B.S.” video blog on YouTube. After Freethought Radio we turn a skeptical eye towards GMOs and Monsanto. Dr. Aaron Carroll of HealthCare Triage reviews the evidence on whether GMOs pose a health threat and Dr. Steven Novella of the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe investigates Monsanto. Is it the evil corporate entity that many claim to be? Then, looking for some great, free entertainment for the whole family next week?  Consider going to the LDS Church’s Hill Cumorah Pagaent in Palmyra, NY: a costumed cast of more than 650 on an enormous 10 level stage, twelve-tower lighting, state-of-the-art sound system and Hollywood special effects, that depicts how Jesus appeared to the Native Americans (who had arrived in the New World from Jerusalem in 600 BC) and then how in 1827 Joseph Smith at the direction of an angel named Moroni dug up golden plates on which this story was engraved right on the very hill where the performance takes place! What happens, though when a Mormon skeptically investigates his faith? Earl Wunderli, with degrees in philosophy and law from the University of Utah, did just that and published his findings last year in An Imperfect Book: What the Book of Mormon Tells Us about Itself. He talks to Alan Litchfield on the Malcontent’s Gambit podcast.
GMOs and Monsanto: what are the facts?

GMOs and Monsanto: what are the facts?

SkepSun #83 (03_23_2014)

On Freethought Radio, Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor tell us about unholy mixing of religion and government in Green Bay (WI), Birmingham (AL), and Sand Point (ID). They welcome spring with music from Richard Rodgers and Yip Harburg, and celebrate the birthday of Elton John by hearing his freethought song “This Train Don’t Stop Here Any More.” Then we talk with prominent attorney Marci Hamilton, author of God vs. The Gavel, who argued and won a Supreme Court lawsuit challenging the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and who wrote FFRF’s Supreme Court amicus brief challenging Hobby Lobby’s refusal on religious grounds to honor the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate. Then two interviews from the new Inquiring Minds podcast, hosted by the former hosts of Point of Inquiry, Chris Mooney and Indre Viskontas.  First, Joshua Greene he’s  director of Harvard University’s Moral Cognition Lab. His work focuses on the intersection of psychology, neuroscience, and moral philosophy. He’s author of a new book entitled Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them. He talks to host Chris Mooney about the evolution of morality—and why humanity may, objectively, be getting better in the long run. Then, can we talk rationally about GM crops?  Indre Viskontas talks to Dr. Stephen Novella about GMOs and human health.  Are there legitimate health concerns about them, or are those fears a product of what he calls the “naturalistic fallacy”?


Moral Tribes