Author Tracks Secular Methods of Meaning, Ethics, Hardship & Death

December 19, 2014
By
Phil Zuckerman

Phil Zuckerman

If you want to find out how non-religious people deal with tragedy, death and suffering, one good method is to simply ask them. This is one approach sociologist Phil Zuckerman uses in his wonderful new book, Living the Secular Life, New Answers to Old Questions. Zuckerman is my guest today, and we discuss this recent publication, which was just released at the beginning of this month. Zuckerman is a professor of sociology and secular studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, California. He is the author of Faith No More: Why People Reject Religion (2011), and Society Without God (2008). In 2011 Zuckerman founded an interdisciplinary Department of Secular Studies at Pitzer College, the first in the nation.  In his new book Zuckerman weaves numerous interviews of secular people into compelling narratives of life, death, morality and meaning. He combines these interesting anecdotes with the latest sociological studies and data to provide a fascinating view of the irreligious in modern society.

MP3 File
(31 minutes, 47 seconds, 15.26 MB)

Read Neuroscientist and Author Sam Harris’ Interview with Zuckerman here | View a picture of a monk with a deceased man in a train station here

The Tense Relationship Between Science and the Law

December 3, 2014
By
Susan Haack

Susan Haack

Philosopher Susan Haack and I discuss the tension between science and the law. Haack cogently and clearly considers the issues involved in the interface between the two institutions in her 2014 book, Evidence Matters, Science, Proof, and Truth in the Law. She tackles issues raised from the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, such as the veracity of peer review, the reliability of litigation-driven science, and concerns with the forensic science industry. Haack considers the difficult task and the philosophical issues raised when judges consider the admissibility of scientific or expert testimony. Haack is Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, Cooper Senior Scholar in Arts and Sciences, Professor of Philosophy, and Professor of Law at the University of Miami. She is an award winning, highly regarded scholar and author of many articles and books.

MP3 File
(52 minutes, 57 seconds, 25.42 MB)

Read about the top 10 great female philosophers here

Authors Map Robust & Mature Humanist Worldview in New Book

November 7, 2014
By
John Figdor

John Figdor

John Figdor, a co-author of the book, Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart, Rewriting the 10 Commandments for the 21st Century, discusses the merits of a complete and coherent worldview, his views on ethics, and working with his co-author Lex Bayer. Their concise, readable book focuses on epistemology and morality and outlines a complete theory of knowledge and a guide to ethical behavior. Figdor is the Humanist Chaplain at Stanford University. According to The Stanford Review, Figdor is the first Humanist Chaplain serving a university community on the West Coast.

MP3 File
(51 minutes, 09 seconds, 24.56 MB)

Enter the Rethink Prize on the Atheist Mind Humanist Heart website here | Read about Figdor in The Stanford Review here | Listen to my previous podcast with Philosopher Stephen Law here

Richard Carrier: Mythic Jesus More Probable Than Historic Jesus

October 21, 2014
By
Dr. Richard Carrier

Dr. Richard Carrier

Historian Dr. Richard Carrier discusses his scholarly theory for a mythical Jesus in his peer reviewed book, On the Historicity of Jesus, Why We Have Reason For Doubt. Carrier is a philosopher and historian with degrees from Berkeley and Columbia, specializing in the contemporary philosophy of naturalism, and in Greco-Roman philosophy, science, and religion, including the origins of Christianity. The gospels, and the book of Acts, are unreliable, writes Carrier, and the Epistles contain an alarming and surprising lack of historical data. The extra-biblical evidence is no help to the historicist, either, as it provides no reliable data on a living Jesus, as well. For example, passages mentioning Jesus in the Ancient historian Josephus’ work were most likely not original, but added later by Christian scribes. Carrier concludes that mythicism is far more probable than a historical Jesus. Carrier draws upon mainstream scholarship in the field of biblical studies, and also uses Bayes’ Theorem to assess the historical evidence.

MP3 File
(53 minutes, 55 seconds, 25.89 MB)

  • Listen to my previous podcast with Richard Carrier here 
  • Read the article in christianitytoday.com discussed in this podcast here
  • Two scholars destroy a resurrection argument from apologist Richard Swinburne here
  • Dr. Carrier refutes a claim by apologist Gary Habermas here


Theology Follies: Confusing God & Infinity; Vic Stenger Remembered

October 6, 2014
By
James A. Lindsay

James A. Lindsay

I dedicate this podcast to Dr. Vic Stenger, a three-time guest on this show. I was saddened to hear of his death last August at the age of 79. During my last conversation with Stenger, a retired particle physicist, we briefly discussed the subject of infinity. After our talk I realized that I was extremely confused about the subject. My guest on today’s show will provide some clarity. His name is James A. Lindsay, author of Dot, Dot, Dot: Infinity Plus God Equals Folly. Lindsay is an author and an outspoken atheist voice who holds degrees in physics and mathematics, including a doctorate in the latter. Motivated by a love of knowledge and learning, he writes and speaks in an attempt to clarify our religious and cultural landscape and by doing so to help heal the related harms. Lindsay is also wrote God Doesn’t; We Do: Only Humans Can Solve Human Challenges. We end this podcast discussing Stenger’s contribution to secularism and science, after which I conclude with a few more words about Stenger.

MP3 File
(54 minutes, 49 seconds, 26.31 MB)

Discussion of infinity: 3:00 min. | Vic Stenger remembered: 40:05 min.
My introduction to Stenger: 51:08 min.


Follow The MG

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • RSS Feed for Posts

The MG on Twitter