Show 142: “On Consciousness” w/ Ted Honderich & Susan Blackmore

“On Consciousness”  w/ Ted Honderich & Susan Blackmore

What is Consciousness?  Is the “self” just an illusion?  Do we really have “free will?”  The last 300 years has brought us two of the most important scientific discoveries of human civilization.  The Copernican-Galilean Revolution took humankind out of the center of the universe and allowed us to understand the nature of space.  The Darwinian Revolution removed humankind from our privileged position at the center of “God’s Universe,” and allowed us to understand the true nature of godless life.  Now, the upcoming Consciousness Revolution will allow us to understand the nature of our minds and indeed our very existence.

Imagine what a deterministic, self-less understanding of human behavior can lead us to in our many struggles both with each other and with the universe at large.  First, however, we need to understand what is means to be conscious in the first place.

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Show 141: Jerry Coyne

Jerry Coyne on “The Case against Intelligent Design”

Now that George Bush has lent his support to the teaching of Intelligent Design, along side of evolution in our public schools, it is important to know just what Intelligent Design is.  Is it really an alternative view on how life on earth came to be; or is it just the newest incarnation of religious creationism?  Either way, why is it important that we should care about this distinction if indeed so many Americans are for equal time for Intelligent Design in our children’s science classes?  Isn’t this a free country, after all?  We’ll find out on Sunday, September 18th at 6:30pm on Equal Time for Freethought!

Jerry Coyne is a professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of Ecology and Evolution.  There, he is on the Committee on Evolutionary Biology and the Committee on Genetics. His recent essay in the New Republic addresses the political and scientific issues surrounding the new Creationism of Intelligent Design. That essay is called The Case against Intelligent Design: The Faith That Dare Not Speak Its Name.

Show 139: Robert Tapp

Robert Tapp on EcoHumanism, Multiculturalism and Democracy

What does humanism have to say about ecology and the environment?  We know religious fundamentalists don’t care about the health of the planet because they await the “End Times,” and the destruction of this world.

What does humanism say about multiculturalism and globalization?  We know the Right disdains the notion that all humans on earth deserve the same quality of life.  We also know that the Left has been so engaged in “identity politics,” that it has often missed the forest for the trees.

What does humanism say about democracy?  We know both the religious and secular Right would prefer anything from a theocracy to an aristocracy, or – worse yet – a neofascist society.

Robert Tapp is the chairperson of the humanities program, and professor of humanities and religious studies, at the University of Minnesota.  He has written extensively on humanism including his anthologies Ecohumanism, Multiculturalism: Humanist Perspectives, and the upcoming The Fate Of Democracy.