SkepSun #167 (12_06_2015)

Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker fill us in on the news out of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.  We’ll hear Dan’s “Salt Lake City Blues,” and then they’ll talk with Utah attorney Mark Naugle about how he has helped more than 3,000 people leave the Mormon Church, mainly as a result of the LDS church’s position on same-sex couples.

We’ll hear a track from atheist rapper Greydon Square called Stockholm syndrome followed by a Skeptoid by Brian Dunning that looks at the psychological condition the song references.  Is “Stockholm Syndrome” really a thing? We’ll also use the song as a springboard for another conversation. Does Greydon Square’s comments about Islam and Muhammed in the song make him an “Islamophobe”?  Hehment Mehta has a look at that term and what it means.

Sinclair Lewis said “When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” Trumansburg blogger Gordon Bonnet wonders disquietingly whether we haven’t already begun”the gentle smooth slide to being governed by the worst people in the world.”

Finally, in hour two, Luke Muehlauser interviews Tom Clark of the Center for Naturalism. What are the implications of accepting a worldview premised on the idea that existence in all its dimensions and complexity is a single, natural realm, not split between the natural and the supernatural? What happens to human free will and moral responsibility?  Would a society that rejects the reality of so-called “contra-causal free will” be a degenerate one or healthy one?


Worldview Naturalism: not so bad once you try it. cartoon=xkcd

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 #82 (03_16_2014)

The FFRF asks the Pope to “stay away from Green Bay”; tells a praying police chief in Birmingham to cease and desist; and chastises Florida schools for mingling with a local church. After hearing “The Stay Away Pope Polka” and “The Salt Lake City Blues,” we talk with FFRF’s 20,000th member, Ken Knighton, a former Mormon from Utah. Then, interviews with the authors of two new, well reviewed books on the history of atheism. One looks at where people in the post-Christian West have turned for meaning in their lives while another argues that the modern world as we know it would not have been possible without the atheism.Historian Peter Watson’s book, The Age of Atheists: How We Have Sought to Live Since the Death of God, chronicles how Western scientists, philosophers, and artists have worked to draw meaning from our lives since Nietzsche famously signed God’s death certificate.  He’s interviewed by the hosts of the Atheist Talk podcast, produced by Minnesota Atheists.  Then, historian, journalist and professor of Media Studies at New York University Mitchell Stephens discusses the thesis of his new book,  Imagine There’s No Heaven: How Atheism Helped Create the Modern World, with Brian Lehrer on the Brian Lehrer Show produced by WNYC. Mitchell makes the case that the revolutions  in science, politics, philosophy, art, and psychology at the foundation of modernity would not have been possible without courageous atheists.


Age of Atheists

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