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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Author Explores Odd Beliefs & Peculiar Religious Practices

October 14, 2013
By
Karen Stollznow

Karen Stollznow

Some are Weird, Many are Harmful, Almost all Are Misunderstood

During this episode I explore some bizarre and interesting religious traditions with guest Dr. Karen Stollznow, author of the 2013 book, God Bless America: Strange and Unusual Religious Beliefs and Practices in the United States. We’ll consider a variety of groups, from the Amish to exorcists, from satan worshipers to Scientology practitioners, from old-time voodoo to new age woo-woo. Stollznow discusses her experience with these varied organizations, and what she learned by researching and interacting with them. She corrects more that a few Hollywood stereotypes along the way, including my own, and shares some interesting adventures. Stollznow is a linguist with a background in history and anthropology. Previously a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, Stollznow has spent two decades writing about a diverse array of topics, including language, culture, religion, science, pseudoscience, and the paranormal. She writes the “Bad Language” column for Skeptic magazine and is a research fellow of the James Randi Educational Foundation.

MP3 File
(45 minutes, 15 seconds, 21.73 MB)

Humanity’s Current Problems & Uncertain Future Require Science

September 18, 2013
By
Dennis R. Trumble

Dennis R. Trumble

Scientist Touts the Discipline as Accessible, Rewarding and Necessary in New Book

In our modern world, religious faiths expounding violent end-of-times eschatology are perilously juxtaposed to nuclear weapons; global warming is often poo-pooed by conservative evangelical Christian politicians; and evolution is continuously denied by young earth creationists seeking to dilute the intelligence of our next generation. Science, skepticism and critical thinking are needed now more than ever, a “new trinity,” if you please. These issues are discussed in Dennis R. Trumble’s book, The Way of Science: Finding Truth and Meaning in a Scientific Worldview. Trumble is a project scientist in the Circulatory Support Laboratory and an adjunct professor of biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. The scientific worldview is vital for humanity’s future and well-being, and Trumble assures us can that science can also be part of a satisfying and fulfilling life.

MP3 File
(37 minutes, 56 seconds, 18.21 MB)

  • Read Harvard Psychologist Steven Pinker’s article in The New Republic on “scientism” and science and the humanities here.
  • Read The New Republic’s Literary Editor Leon Wieseltier’s rebuttal to Pinker here.
  • Click here for Philosopher and Cognitive Scientist Daniel Dennett’s response to Wieseltier.
  • For Evolutionary Biologist Jerry Coyne’s comments on the issue, Click here.


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