On Freethought Radio, legal fellow Ryan Jayne updates Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor on FFRF’s New Jersey lawsuit challenging millions of “historic preservation” dollars handed to churches, many for the purpose of worship. They discuss a cross on a Kentucky city water tower, another one on an Illinois war memorial, and government censorship of freethought speech. Then they interview feminist atheist author Sikivu Hutchinson about her new book, White Nights, Black Paradise, about Jim Jones’s People’s Temple and the 1978 massacre in Jonestown, Guyana.
We’ll hear an excerpt from Sam Harris’ “Waking Up” podcast in which he responds to the attempts of some to blame atheism for mass shootings that took place in 2015. Harris reminds these folks that atheism is simply the absence of belief in gods and has no ideology, tenets or scripture that sanction violence, unlike a few religions we know.
Starting off hour two of the show, Gordon Bonnet of the Skeptophilia blog marvels at how it seems no amount of evidence that the HPV vaccine Gardisil is safe will ever satisfy some parents.
The Christian share of the U.S. population is declining, while the number of American adults who do not identify with any organized religion, the so-called “nones” is growing, now close to 23%, a 7-point jump in just seven years, according to an extensive survey out this week by the Pew Research Center. These changes are taking place across the religious landscape, affecting all regions of the country and many demographic groups. First on Freethought Radio, Dan Barker and Anniel Laurie Gaylor give us their take on the Pew results. They also report FFRF victories in Florida and California, celebrate the birthday of Bertrand Russell, and talk with Harvard educated atheist professor of religious studies Hector Avalos about his new scholarly book, The Bad Jesus: The Ethics of New Testament Ethics. After Freethought Radio, we’ll hear commentary on the Pew survey results from Claude Fisher, professor of sociology at Berkeley who was a guest on Tuesday’s Background Briefing with Ian Masters and then from Kyle Kulinski who has an online radio show called Secular Talk. Also in the news here locally was the unfortunate apparent suicide of a 60-year-old man who jumped into the Fall Creek Gorge. Christian churches teach suicide is a sin, but how does secular philosophy deal with it? We’ll hear from Simon Critchley, philosophy professor at the New School who talks to Nigel Warburton on the Philosophy Bites podcast, and then historian and poet Jennifer Michael Hecht is inerviewed by Jessica Bluemke on the Friendly Atheist podcast.