Show 539: Greta Christina & Michael Lynch

Greta Christina on Facing Death without God & Michael Lynch on The Importance of Reason in a Democracy

Death.  There is perhaps no other event in our lives which emotionally and psychologically affects us as strongly.  Trying to keep your head above water when a loved one dies can sometimes feel impossible; facing your own death?  Beyond impossible!  But these are what we are to expect as emotional creatures.  What many cultures and individual people do to soften the existential angst is to invent or follow one or another of the myriad super-natualistic religions.

But what if you are an atheist? Should we concede death to the Christians or Muslims?  How can WE face death without a belief in gods?

We will speak to Greta Christina on this first, and then for the second half of the program, we will talk with philosopher Michael Lynch about the important of reason and critical thinking for modern societies.

What IS reason?  When we say we should build people’s critical thinking skills, what do we mean?  And can a society be healthy and beneficial to all within it if the ideas and beliefs of leaders (and everyone for that matter) are based on falsehood or pure ideology?  Finally, how can we tell what is true and what is false?These questions and more will be discussed in our interview with Professor Lynch in the second half of today’s show.

Show 538: “Peer Reviewed!” w/Sabine Hossenfelder

“Peer Reviewed!” w/Sabine Hossenfelder

What is Science? Why is the peer review process important for keeping science the most reliable method for gaining knowledge on how things really are? Is science’s success best understood through the sensational discoveries we learn about in the media, or the day-to-day work of scientists everywhere — which may, occasionally, lead to such discoveries?

Today, E.T.F.F. will be taking a peak into the ordinary life of a peer-reviewer as she helps maintain the integrity of an extraordinary human endeavor–to understand the Universe. To do this, Xaquri Rzetelny will be talking with German quantum physicist Sabine Hossenfelder who in addition to her scientific work, runs a Blog, “Backreaction“, in which she ‘peer reviews’ both fellow scientists’ work, and how this work is presented in the media.

Show 537: A Discussion on the Confederate Flag

A Discussion on the Confederate Flag in the 21st Century

The state of South Carolina has taken a positive step towards combating discrimination as state representatives came together to remove the Confederate flag from the State House lawn.  But other potentially discriminatory practices, such as voter ID laws and South Carolina’s constitutional prohibition on non-theists holding public office, remain intact.

On this weeks program, Matthew LaClair speaks with two members of the house of representatives: “white” Republican Jenny Horne and “black” Democrat Joseph Neal, who came together on the issue of the Confederate flag while disagreeing vehemently on related issues such as the voter ID laws.

You may recognize Rep. Horne from the passionate speech she delivered on the floor of the house on the Confederate flag issue.  We will ask her about this speech, her views on the Confederate flag — both before and after the shooting in Charleston, SC — her justification for passing a voter ID law that was proposed just a few weeks after the first black president was sworn into office, and her views on the South Carolina constitution.

Rev. Neal was chairman of the South Carolina Black Legislative Caucus back in 2000, when citizens gathered before the State House demanding that the Confederate flag be removed from the State House dome.  The decision to remove it from the dome to a flag pole out front was challenged by Neal and the Black legislative caucus, where it remained until last month.  We will discuss this experience with Rev. Neal and asks him about the walkout staged by the 2009 Legislative Black Caucus in opposition to the voter ID bill.

Tune in this Saturday at 2PM on WBAI 99.5FM for this exciting discussion, and be sure to join us for our post-show discussion with Professor Orville Vernon Burton, who delivered expert testimony on behalf of the Department of Justice on the issue of South Carolina’s voter ID bill. Visit to listen to our conversation and learn about the legislative history of the voter ID laws, as well as his take on our program with Ms. Horne and Rev. Neal.

Show 536: Chasing the Scream!

Chasing the Scream!: ETFF Fund Drive special!

This week we are once again asking our listeners and supporters to help WBAI and ETFF stay on the air. This special edition of Equal Time will be a discussion on the War on Drugs policies in the US.

It is now 100 years since drugs were first banned in the United States. On the eve of this centenary, journalist Johann Hari set off on an epic three-year, thirty-thousand-mile journey into the war on drugs. What he found is that more and more people all over the world are beginning to recognize three startling truths: Drugs are not what we think they are. Addiction is not what we think it is. And the drug war has very different motives to the ones we have seen on our TV screens for so long.

So please tune in on Saturday at 2pm and donate to keep this kind of programing alive in the ever-corporatizing mass media market of the U$A.  We will be offering Chasing the Scream (the book, and a DVD interview of the author) as a gift for those who do!