Minds Held Hostage: Adapted Human Brain Prone to God & Other Glitches

January 14, 2014
By
Dr. J. Anderson Thomson, Jr.

Dr. J. Anderson Thomson, Jr.

Evolutionary Psychologist Reveals a Robust Science of Faith

Dr. J. Anderson Thomson, Jr. – you can call him Andy – guides us through a provocative tour of the human brain on religion. Thomson introduces us to the many cognitive adaptations luring us into religious belief and other irrational ideas. One of those ideas happens to be, disturbingly, suicide bombing. He’ll provide an answer to the age-old question of why a talking wolf is more memorable than a tree balancing your checkbook. Thomson’s current research interest is in the area of evolutionary psychology and using its principles to understand depression, suicide terrorism, and religious belief. Thomson wrote the 2011 book, Why We Believe in Gods, A concise guide to the science of faith. He is a psychiatrist in private practice in Charlottesville, Virginia. He is also a staff psychiatrist at Counseling and Psychological Services at the University of Virginia Student Health Services, and the Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy at the University of Virginia.


MP3 File
(61 minutes, 14 seconds, 29.39 MB)

Listen to a podcast on the Stanley Milgram obedience and authority experiment here, or read about it here • Listen to Julia Sweeney’s hilarious monologue, Letting Go of God, here

Sean Faircloth’s Plan Battles Theocracy

December 19, 2013
By
Sean Faircloth

Sean Faircloth

Our government has been hijacked by the religious right, and Sean Faircloth wants to return it to its secular past – and he has a plan to do just that. Faircloth is president of Global Secular Organizing & Strategy, or GSOS. I talk to Faircloth about his plan, called SecularityUSA. It uses state-based volunteers – included members of the clergy – and is focused on both short-term and long-term goals. The project’s springboard is the 2016 Iowa Caucuses for the next presidential election. Faircloth served as Director of Strategy & Policy at the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, and served as Secular Coalition for America’s Executive Director, creating its 50-state plan. He is author of Attack of the Theocrats!: How the Religious Right Harms Us All-and What We Can Do About It.

MP3 File
(46 minutes, 33 seconds, 22.35 MB)

Click Here to read the SecularityUSA Action Plan • For the Global Secular Organizing & Strategy’s website, Click Here • For the SecularityUSA website, click here • Click here to go to the American’s United for the Separation of Church and State website

The Future of the God Debates

December 1, 2013
By
Dr. John Shook

Dr. John Shook

As Theology Evolves, Humanist Philosophers Keep Pace

Dr. John Shook and I discuss a little philosophy, the evolution and future of the god debates, and the meaning of the word faith. Shook is a scholar and professor living in Washington, D.C. He received his PhD in Philosophy at the University at Buffalo in 1994, and joined the staff of the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, N.Y. in 2006. He has authored and edited more than a dozen books and dozens of articles in academic journals, along with essays for Free Inquiry and The Humanist. He published The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers in 2010. Shook is currently Director of Education and Senior Research Fellow for the Center for Inquiry; the Education Coordinator for the American Humanist Association; a Co-Mentor with the Humanist Institute, and President of the Society of Humanist Philosophers. He is also an editor of three philosophy journals: Contemporary Pragmatism, Essays in the Philosophy of Humanism, and Philo: A Journal of Philosophy.

MP3 File
(52 minutes, 59 seconds, 25.44 MB)

Click Here to Read Shook’s CFI Blog ‘It’s Only Natural’ • To RSVP to CFI Portland’s 3rd Annual Dark-to-Light Gala, Click Here

Scholar Finds Peril & Progress Studying Religion, Society

November 13, 2013
By
Dr. Ryan Cragun

Dr. Ryan Cragun

Churches Using Alcohol to Attract Worshippers May Well be a Sign of Growing Secularity

Just what kind of affect does religion have on society? Are non-religious societies healthier, more educated, and happier? Are religious liberals more beneficial to a healthy community than fundamentalists, religious moderates or non-believers? And just where, and how, could we find answers to these difficult questions? With me today is Dr. Ryan Cragun, a sociologist of religion at the University of Tampa, in Florida. His research and writing focuses on religion, with an emphasis on Mormonism, the nonreligious and secularization. He’ll help us work through some of these tough problems. Where we don’t find answers, perhaps we’ll at least find some direction or context. We discuss his current book, What You Don’t Know About Religion (but Should), published earlier this year. This book deals with precisely the type of questions just posed, and Cragun uses evidence and scholarship when considering them. His results are interesting, and in some cases, surprising.

MP3 File
(43 minutes, 03 seconds, 20.67 MB)
Read the National Public Radio article on churches offering beer to worshipers here • Watch the Portland, Oregon Beer and Hymns promotional video here

Learn to De-Convert the Faithful With Practical New Book

October 29, 2013
By
Learn to De-Convert the Faithful With Practical New Book

Dr. Peter Boghossianʼs A Manual For Creating Atheists is a Must-Read. Iʼm starting to find the equivocations, vagueness, and the unmerited claims emerging from assertions of faith to be a bit tedious. Asking a believer for a definition of faith and a description of how it works will inevitably result in a…

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