skeptical argumentation

SkepSun #60 (10_13_2013)

On Freethought Radio, Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor celebrate “Freethought Day,” the anniversary of the October 12, 1692 end of the Salem Witch Trials, and the October 12, 1872 birthday of freethinking English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. After catching us up on the news of the FFRF’s activities, they talk with professor Brian Bolton, who has endowed FFRF’s graduate student essay contest, about the inefficacy of prayer and the myth that America is a “Christian nation.”  After Freethought Radio we turn to  “life after death.” Perhaps you heard the series  this past week on “All Things Considered” in which they asked people of various faiths about their beliefs about the “afterlife.” Sorely missing was the naturalistic perspective that there is no such thing. We offer a corrective on Skeptical Sunday with the help of Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Sean Carroll and Johann Hari.  Then in the final segment, we’ll hear social psychologist and author Carol Tavris about the psychology of convincing others of skeptical arguments at the 2011 TAM entitled “Dissent and Dissonance: The Science and Art of Argument.”