SkepSun #150 (08_09_2015)

It’s birthday and anniversary week on the show.  Skeptical Sunday celebrates three years on WRFI this month and our 150th show with this broadcast. We’re also celebrating the August 11 birthday of the great 19th-century freethinking orator Robert Green Ingersoll.  I’ll talk to Jeff Ingersoll, Royal Bob’s seventh cousin four times removed who lives in Hammondsport, NY. He’s founder of Hammondsport Humanists who are hosting a picnic at the Ingersoll Birthplace Museum in Dresden today at 1 PM. In Hour Two we’re going to hear Susan Jacoby’s lecture from last years’ Ingersoll and the Reform Imperative Conference at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, NY entitled “Where are you Robert Ingersoll, Now That We Need You Again?” Freethought Radio is also celebrating: We’ll hear Dan Barker’s musical version of Ingersoll’s famous “Trinity” lyrics. In addition to all the Ingersollia,  we’ll also hear from Ryan Jayne, FFRF’s law clerk and soon-to-be legal fellow, about many state/church victories accomplished by FFRF’s attorneys. Then Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker interview author, poet and filmmaker Jeremiah Camara about his new feature-length documentary “Contradiction: A Question of Faith” that examines the effect of religion on African-Americans. Also today we ask the question “How strong do you like your water?” Gordon Bonnet of Skeptophilia reports those clever homeopaths have discovered water diluted with water is good for.

For more on Sunday’s picnic at the RG Ingersoll Birthplace Museum in Dresden, see this link.

Susan Jacoby delivering her address

Susan Jacoby delivering her address “Where Are You, Robert Ingersoll, Now That We Need You Again? at the Ingersoll and the Reform Imperative Conference at CFI in Amherst, NY, August 2014.

SkepSun #148 (07_26_2015)

This week on Freethought Radio, hosts Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker tell us how Guatemalan secular humanists are fighting back after the their legislature proposes to teach the bible in all public schools. After reporting on egregious state/church complaints in Texas and Minnesota, Annie Laurie and Dan celebrate a number of FFRF victories around the country and then talk with Florida activist David Williamson, director of FFRF’s chapter Central Florida Freethought Community, about the new lawsuit they filed (with FFRF, ACLU and AU) challenging Brevard County’s policy of excluding nonbelievers from delivering invocations at county board meetings. Well Jade Helm 15, Barack Obama’s plan to take away our guns and be crowned Emperor for life which is cleverly disguised as a military training operation is now underway. Luckily there’s a “Counter Jade Helm” citizen surveillance group run by a guy named Pete Lanteri.  Gordon Bonnet of Skeptophilia will tell us all about it. This summer, we’re featuring the luminaries of west-central New York’s Freethought Trail on Skeptical Sunday and this week in hour two we’ll hear an excerpt from Dresden, New York native Robert Green Ingersoll’s lecture “Why I’m an Agnostic” and then the prologue and first four letters of Mark Twain’s irreverant “Letters from the Earth” his last work of fiction that remained unpublished for more than 50 years after his death.  Twain, whose real name was Samuel Clemens, spent his summers writing in Elmira, New York, where he was buried after his death in 1910.

Mark Twain, Freethinker, perhaps America's greatest literary figure, spent his summers in Elmira, New York where he is buried.

Mark Twain, Freethinker, perhaps America’s greatest literary figure, spent his summers in Elmira, New York where he is buried.


SkepSun #143 (06_21_2015)

This week’s Freethought Radio is dedicated to the memory of FFRF’s principal founder Anne Nicol Gaylor, who died June 14 at 88. Annie Laurie and Dan will play recordings of Anne, read from the New York Times obituary/article about her and then we read two of Anne Gaylor’s articles from her 1983 book, Lead Us Not Into Penn Station. Then, where did some people get the idea that the United States military training exercise called Jade Helm 15 really a covert operation to establish martial law in Texas? Can the governor of that state and action hero movie-star Chuck Norris be serious? Skeptoid focuses its skeptical eye at a very influential conspiracy theory of very recent vintage. Then: If you you’re a skeptical blogger, you’ll probably get some interesting e-mail. Gordon Bonnet of Skeptophilia does, and he talks about some of it. Finally in hour two of the show: you know about the wine trail, the beer trail and maybe even the cheese trail here in the Finger Lakes, but do you know about the Freethought Trail? In recognition of the summer solstice, we begin Skeptical Sunday’s “Freethought Trail” summer. Over the next few weeks, we will be playing recorded presentations from last year’s two-day conference at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, New York that was entitled “Robert Green Ingersoll and the Reform Imperative.” It highlighted Ingersoll, known as the “Great Agnostic,” as well as other freethinking social reformers of the 19th Century from our part of New York state such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage whose homes are featured on what might be the most educational of all our trails here in the Finger Lakes: the Freethought Trail.

Still relevant: Dresden, NY native Robert Green Ingersoll on a sign held up by the Westboro Baptist Church at the 2012 Reason Rally in Washington, DC.

Dresden, NY native Robert Green Ingersoll on a sign held up by the Westboro Baptist Church at the 2012 Reason Rally in Washington, DC.

SkepSun #52 (08_18_2013)

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.”


Dr. Michael Mann, climatologist.