Blog Archives

Theologians Dodge Tough Questions, Rationalize Atrocities

September 6, 2013

A provocative headline in the July/August online issue of Christianity Today magazine asks, without a trace of irony, Can We Trust the God of Genocide? The question introduces a trio of odd articles attempting to justify biblical atrocities, vile behavior and cruel laws condoned and commanded by the god of…

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Atomic Theory’s Progress Refutes God, Supernatural

August 28, 2013
Physicist Victor Stenger

Physicist Victor Stenger

Physicist Vic Stenger Traces Atomism From Past to Present

Whenever physicist Vic Stenger writes a book, it’s usually at the expense of god, the supernatural and scientific woo-woo. He spoke to me recently about his current book, God and the Atom, From Democritus to the Higgs Boson: The Story of a Triumphant Idea. Stenger is a retired elementary particle physicist and has written many critically well-received popular books that interface between physics, cosmology, philosophy, religion, and pseudo-science. The success of the atomic model of our universe, with the overwhelming amount of scientific observation and data to support it, renders other explanations of our cosmos obsolete and unnecessary, says Stenger. God and the supernatural, as Stenger has argued for some time now, are failed ideas. Atomism is the concept that reality consists of small, irreducible objects moving through space – particles and the void, as it were – and this idea has been with us for millennia. Stenger chronicles Atomism’s progress from its ancient roots to its present status as found in the standard model of particle physics and the modern search for the Higgs Boson.

MP3 File
(42 minutes, 47 seconds, 20.54 MB)

To more about the Scanning Tunneling Microscope, click hereClick here to see a list of Vic Stenger’s books • Listen to my previous podcast with Stenger here • You can find my interview with physicist Sean Carroll here • Watch Jim Holt interview Carroll here

Aron Ra Reveals the Tricks and Tropes of Professional Creationists

July 31, 2013
Aron Ra

Aron Ra

‘YouTube Atheist’ Battles Irrationality in Politics and the Classroom

Aron Ra discusses politics, the Bible and abortion before addressing the misdeeds of creationists. Ra labors to educate others on the correct rules and mechanisms of evolution. His video series, the ‘Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism,’ and his subsequent series, ‘Falsifying Phylogeny’ (including the Phylogeny Challenge) have been mirrored, featured, referenced, and recommended by many professional scientists, secularists, and educators, and has attracted more than 60,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel, according to his biography on his blog, The Ace of Clades. Ra’s videos are intelligent and succinct, and powerfully refute the outlandish quackery by creationists such as Ray Comfort and Ken Ham.

MP3 File
(55 minutes, 42 seconds, 26.74 MB)

To View Aron Ra’s Blog click here • To View Ra’s YouTube Channel click hereTo Read About Chromosome 2 click hereTo Hear Ken Miller’s Speech on the Defeat of Intelligent Design click hereTo Listen to Ra Debate Ray Comfort – aka “The Banana Man” – click here

Miracle Claims Investigator Talks 44 Years of Skepticism, Passion

July 10, 2013
Joe Nickell

Joe Nickell

Believers in Miracles & the Paranormal Are Fooled by the ‘Argument From Ignorance’

Joe Nickell, senior research fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) – an international scientific organization – and investigative columnist for Skeptical Inquirer magazine, discusses his new book, The Science of Miracles: Investigating the Incredible, published earlier this year by Prometheus. Nickell has been investigating the paranormal since 1969, and is a prominent investigator of myths, mysteries, frauds, forgeries, and hoaxes. He has been called “the modern Sherlock Holmes,” “the original ghost buster,” and “the real-life Scully” from The X-Files. He has investigated scores of haunted-house cases, including the Amityville Horror, as well as healers, statues, visions and demons. Nickell was an inspiration for Hilary Swank’s role as a miracle investigator in The Reaping (2007).

MP3 File
(1 hour, 8 minutes, 11 seconds, 32.74 MB)

A Path From Faith to Reason: ‘A Manual For Creating Atheists’

June 12, 2013
Philosopher Peter Boghossian

Philosopher Peter Boghossian

Philosopher Pete Boghossian Slams Contemporary Academic Leftism as a Hurdle to Progress

Portland State University Philosophy Professor Peter Boghossian and I discuss his new book, A Manual for Creating Atheists, in which he provides conversational strategies and tactics designed to lead religious believers from faith to reason. Throughout his book Boghossian offers diagnostic methods, provides practical examples, and supports his project with evidence. He also criticizes a disturbing trend in modern liberalism that helps fuzzy reasoning flourish. A Manual for Creating Atheists will be published in November 2013 by Pitchstone Publishing. Boghossian will be appearing at The Amazing Meeting, also known as TAM, July 11-14, 2013, in Las Vegas.

MP3 File
(46 minutes, 15 seconds, 22.2 MB)
Pre-order A Manual For Creating Atheists (with forward by Micheal Shermer) by clicking here • See the video “Islam Supporters Bully College Republicans Out Of Their Own Event,” and read about it here • Follow Pete on twitter @peterboghossian

Barbados Native Offers Unique View of Religion, Rastafari & Rum

May 28, 2013
Joy Holloway-D'avilar

Joy Holloway-D’avilar

Today’s guest is Joy Holloway-D’avilar, co-host of the Freethinking Island podcast, a podcast aimed at a Caribbean audience. Joy and I discuss religion in the islands, her podcast, her religious past and how outsiders view the ultra-religious United States. She’ll also give us a brief introduction to Rastafarianism, a rather interesting belief system, to say the least. She also gives us a few drink recipes, which should make you fellow rum drinkers very pleased. Joy was born in Barbados and has been living in the NY/NJ area for more than 20 years. She currently works in the radio/television broadcasting industry. Joy is committed to spreading the virtues of reason, critical thinking and true enlightenment instead of blind and mindless faith.

MP3 File
(37 minutes, 12 seconds, 17.86 MB)

To listen to the Freethinking Island podcast, click here, or check out the book, From Mythology to Reality: Moving Beyond Rastafari, by Seon Lewis.

Here are a few island rum recipes from Joy. Fill your glass with some Mount Gay rum while listening to the Malcontent’s Gambit or Freethinking Island podcast.

Rum Cocktail
4 oz rum
1/2 cup crushed ice
3 dashes Angostura bitters
2 tsp sugar syrup
Put all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake well….max out and give your mind and mouth liberty

Bajan Smile (Bajan is slang for our nationality – Barbadian)
1 1/2 oz Mount Gay Rum
2 1/2 oz Coconut Creme
2 oz Evaporated milk
1 oz Grenadine Syrup
1/2 oz ripe bananas
Blend with ice until smooth

Faith Fails; Use Skepticism To Appraise Religion, Find Truth

May 7, 2013
John Loftus

John Loftus

Believers Should Be Skeptical of Their Religion – And Worried, An Interview With John Loftus

Minister-turned-atheist and author John Loftus and I consider how to appraise religions skeptically and fairly. We talk about issues raised in his new book, The Outsider Test for Faith: How to Know Which Religion Is True. In the 1980s Loftus earned three masters degrees in theology and studied under the tutelage of prominent Christian apologist William Lane Craig. He spent 14 years in Christian ministry, and in the 1990s experienced a full-blown crisis of faith. In 2008 he published a book titled Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity. After my discussion with Loftus I’ll refute some arguments I recently discovered while visiting Christian apologetic websites. These claims are directly related to Loftus’ book and our conversation. That is at the end of the podcast (at the 33:15 mark).

MP3 File
(43 minutes, 36 seconds, 20.93 MB)

Here are some links mentioned in this podcast:
Faith: ‘wishful thinking’? by Steve Wilkinson at the Christian Apologetics Alliance
Common Objection #19- “Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?” by Chad at Truthbomb Apologetics
Can Science Lead to Faith? by Gary Marcus at The New Yorker

Author, Skeptic Opens Dialogue With Christians

April 15, 2013
Author Guy P. Harrison

Author Guy P. Harrison

Guy P. Harrison Seeks Mutual Understanding and Honest Conversation With His New Book

I’m pleased to welcome author Guy P. Harrison back to the podcast to talk about his new book, 50 Simple Questions for Every Christian. I spoke to him a year ago about his previous book, 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think are True. Harrison’s writing focuses primarily on science and skepticism. He’s held numerous positions in the news industry, including editorial writer, world news editor, sports editor, photographer, page designer, and columnist. His new book is not intended to be argumentative or disrespectful, but to promote dialogue and understanding. Harrison asks questions such as, “What is the born-again experience?” “Why would God want to sacrifice his only son for the world?” “Do miracles really happen?” “How reliable is the Bible?” “What is the rapture?” and, “Why isn’t everyone a Christian?” Harrison follows each question with thoughtful analysis. Throughout the book Harrison takes care never to condescend or treat the reader poorly.

MP3 File
(55 minutes, 50 seconds, 26.33 MB)

Listen to my audio commentary titled, Islamohysteria: The Misguided Attacks on Sam Harris, at the end of this podcast starting at the 41:22 mark.

Click here to read On Islamophobia and Libels, by Sam Harris, and here to read Greenwald and Hussain on Sam Harris and Racism, by Robby Bensinger

Author Suggests Neural Mechanism for Transcendence, Beauty

March 19, 2013
Joshua Fost

Joshua Fost

Dr. Joshua Fost Posits a Naturalistic Basis for Divine Experience and Aesthetic Appreciation

In his 2007 book, If Not God, Then What? Neuroscience, Aesthetics, and the Origins of the Transcendent, Dr. Joshua Fost connects our recognition of beauty, the ascetically appealing and certain types of religious experience with our desire to find order in our world. He further proposes a neural mechanism for this human feature, using ideas from scientific literature. Fost’s project is, in part, a naturalistic attempt for an explanation of transcendent religious experience. Fost is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and University Studies at Portland State University. His primary research interests are in neurophilosophy and the public understanding of science, critical thinking, and methodological naturalism. He has lectured and written extensively, and his work has been published in many scientific journals. He’s published two articles in Free Inquiry, the first in 2005 titled Fight dogma, not religion, and the most recent in the 2012 October/November issue, titled On being a scientist.

MP3 File
(37 minutes, 23 seconds, 17.95 MB)
For Fost’s blog page and more of his writing, please click here.

Dan Barker Reveals a Busy 2013 for the FFRF (IRS Beware!)

February 19, 2013
Dan Barker

Dan Barker

Advocating for the Non-Religious Through Growing Pains & Good Humor

Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation with Annie Laurie Gaylor, joins me for a humorous and informative interview. Barker discusses current church and state lawsuits, examines issues concerning nonbelievers, and reveals the foundation’s growing pains. We even share a few jokes. The foundation, based in Madison, Wisconsin, is a non-profit organization that advocates for non-theists, promotes separation of church and state, and educates the public on atheistic, agnostic and nontheistic issues. Barker is a contributing editor of Freethought Today, a newspaper published by the foundation, and is involved with the foundation’s state/church lawsuits. He regularly travels the country and the world giving lectures, performing concerts, and participating in debates with theists, many at college and university campuses. Both Barker and Gaylor co-host Freethought Radio, a national weekly talkshow on the Air America network.

MP3 File
(28 minutes, 53 seconds, 13.87 MB)

To read about the “parsonage exemption” lawsuit, click here. To read about the “religious electioneering” lawsuit, click here. To read about the lawsuit filed against the IRS by the American Atheists, please click here.

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