The Skeptic Rogues of the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe podcast discuss a recent peer-reviewed study that mathematically modeled large conspiracies (involving more than 1000 people) and showed that these are inherently not sustainable and prone to quick failure, even with the most generous assumptions made about the secret-keeping abilities of conspirators.
However, not everyone’s gotten the memo that huge conspiracies can’t work and some are speculating that the Zika virus we’re hearing so much about is a hoax and/or a genetically engineered biological weapon. Gordon Bonnet of Skeptophilia looks into it.
Sadly, this will be the last Skeptical Sunday, at least for the foreseeable future, and I’ve chosen two final segments which eloquently summarize the worldview and values of skepticism, naturalism and humanism that this show has been promoting for the past 3.5 years.
First, we’ll hear Carl Sagan from what turned out to be his last television interview from the May 27, 1996 Charlie Rose show on which he talks about what was his final book The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark and lastly we’ll hear Jeremy Beahan’s wonderful “Atheist Sermon.”
Some welcome news on Freethought Radio: the Venice, Florida, city council rejects “In God We Trust;” Doug Marshall’s Reason Station goes up in Warren, Michigan, city hall; creationist teacher disciplined in Arroyo Grande, California, public high school. After celebrating the birthdays of Peter Tchaikovsky and Pete Seeger, Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker talk with Princeton history professor Ken M. Kruse about his eye-opening book,One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America. I have four different post-Freethought Radio segments for you on today’s show. First, Relativism: can what’s true for me not be true for you? The idea has popular appeal, but why? Tim Williamson the Wykeham Professor of Logic at Oxford University discusses this question with host Nigel Warburton on the Philosophy Bites podcast. Then infectious disease M.D. Mark Crislip has a look at some of the latest research on probiotics. How much of it is science and how much just marketing and hype? Then, ever notice how believers seem quite sure they perfectly know the wishes of the strangely silent omnipotent creator superbeing? Gordon Bonnet has noticed and we’ll hear his ruminations on this phenomenon with a column from his Skeptophila blog entitled “My Will Be Done.” Finally, Andrew Copson, Chief Exec. of the British Humanist Association, explains Humanism – the radical idea that we can put human beings at the center of our morality instead of nonexistent supernatural entities – in only about 28 minutes. See how well he does.
On Freethought Radio Dan Barker and substitute co-host Andrew Seidel discuss FFRF’s freethought display in Daley Plaza and proselytizing Clemson University football coach Dabo Swinney and announce a major FFRF legal victory stopping prayer at city council meetings in Pismo Beach, California. Then they talk with author and Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard Steven Pinker about why he has agreed to become FFRF’s first Honorary President. In hour two of Skeptical Sunday we’ll hear from the other member of what’s been called secular humanism’s intellectual “power duo,” novelist and philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein and a talk she gave at least year’s Women in Secularism II conference entitled “The Mattering Map: Religion, Humanism, and Moral Progress.” Wedged in between there, somewhere, we’ll hear infectious disease M.D. Mark Crislip discuss a published study of hickey medicine also known as “cupping” and a track from the album “Infidel Rising” by hip hop artist Tombstone Da Deadman.
Secular Humanism’s “power couple”: Rebecca Goldstein and Steven Pinker
We start our one year anniversary show as we do each week with Freethought Radio, the show produced by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. We’ll hear updates about FFRF complaints in Texas and Alabama, as well as the Cullman County “Prayer Caravan” saga, in which the governor takes sides against FFRF. Then Dan and Annie Laurie interview Susan Jacoby about her newly released book, The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought. Afterwards, we’ll hear Skeptic Rogues Steven Novella and Evan Bernstein interview climatologist Michael Mann. Are people who call themselves “climate change skeptics” really skeptics? The we’ll hear infectious disease MD Mark Crislip’s take on the latest research on the multibillion dollar swindle known as homeopathy. Finally, to celebrate one year of Skeptical Sunday, a reprise on the show of a very cogent statement of the values and viewpoint we stand for from Jeremy Beahan of the Reasonable Doubts podcast, his “atheist sermon.”