On Freethought Radio, Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor tell us about nativity scenes, county grants to churches, praying high-school coaches, and Winter Solstice displays that are all in the news this week. Then they speak with Harvard evolutionary psychologist and linguist Steven Pinker about his newest book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. Apropos of good writing, tomorrow, Monday the 15th, we mark the passing three years ago of author, essayist, polemicist, and contrarian Christopher Hitchens. Atheism never had a more rhetorically skilled advocate and religion never a more formidable opponent. This past week, reflecting on this sad anniversary and the void left behind, I found myself watching clips of Hitchens in action, online, some of which we’ll hear on today’s show. [In doing so I stumbled upon an excellent documentary spanning Hitchens life and career. It is so good that you’d never guess it was made by one individual fan named Kristoffer Hellssmark as a labor of love. It is called simply “The Hitch” and is available on the website Vimeo. ] Afterwards, we’ll sample a recent episode of the Friendly Atheist podcast on which hosts Hemant Mehta and Jessica Bluemke interview Steve Wells, author of the Skeptics Annotated Bible (an amazing resource that exists both online and in print). They speak with Steve about his time in seminary, how one documents the number of deaths during an imaginary flood, and what has motivated him to spend the last 25 years of his life producing annotated guides not only to the Bible, but also to the Qu’ran and Book of Mormon.
On Freethought Radio, Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor celebrate Women’s Equality Day, and observe the 100th anniversary of the predecessor of Broadway’s “Book of Mormon,” a musical entitled the “The Girl from Utah,” that included the first hit by freethinker Jerome Kern, then we’ll hear the audio from 20 short videos from FFRF’s new “Out of the Closet” Freethinker video campaign. After Freethought Radio we’ll hear the late Christopher Hitchen’s response to someone who asks him why, if he doesn’t believe in a god, does he spend so much of his time arguing against the belief. We’ll hear Carl Sagan, reading an excerpt of his book, Pale Blue Dot, that is used in a new tribute video entitled “A Universe not made for Us.” We’ll hear Dr. Steven Novella reviewing a recent study looking at the association of strokes with chiropractic cervical manipulations from last weeks Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe podcast. Then finally, Daniel Fincke is a professor who has moved out of the university setting to teach philosophy online using interactive video conferencing technology (Google Hangouts) to offer affordable, private philosophy classes to people around the world. He joins the hosts of Atheist Talk, a radio show and podcast produced by Minnesota Atheists and talks about his personal journey from faith to a naturalistic worldview and how he’s pioneering this new model of instruction.