Show 479: Niles Eldredge

Our guest was Dr. Niles Eldredge, a paleontologist who served as a curator at the American Museum of Natural History from 1969 until three years ago. He is well-known for his once controversial and now widely accepted evolutionary theory of “punctuated equilibria,” which he developed with Stephen Jay Gould. He is the author of many books, including The Pattern of Evolution, Life in the Balance, Why We Do It, and Darwin: Discovering the Tree of Life.

Show 442: Stephen G. Post

Stephen G. Post on his new book, The Hidden Gifts of Helping: How the Power of Giving, Compassion, and Hope Can Get Us Through Hard Times

Stephen speaks widely on themes of benevolent love and compassionate care at the interface of science, health, spirituality, and philanthropy. His work has been featured in periodicals such as Parade Magazine and O: The Oprah Magazine, and on such media venues as The Daily Show, John Stossel, 20/20 and Nightline. He has addressed the U.S. Congress on volunteerism and public health.

Research has revealed that when we show concern for others—empathizing with a friend who has lost a loved one, mowing the lawn for an elderly neighbor, or volunteering to mentor a school-aged child—we improve our own health and well-being and embrace and give voice to our deeper identity and dignity as human beings. The Hidden Gifts of Helping explores the very personal story of Stephen and his family’s difficult move and their experience with the healing power of helping others, as well as his passion about how this simple activity—expressed in an infinite number of small or large ways—can help you survive and thrive despite the expected and unexpected challenges life presents.

Show 415: Darwin Day Special!

Darwin Day Special!

It’s that time again to raise funds for Listener-Sponsored Radio, WBAI-NY! This time, we’ll do it with Darwin and the theory of evolution with Reverend Michael Dowd, a stanch advocate for evolution (against Creationism), and author of Thank God for Evolution!

Dowd has been on ETFF before, and is an interesting guest for us because of his interest in uniting religion with science (and evolution, in particular).  The ‘New Atheists’ probably don’t like him much, and secular humanists may scratch their head, but if there is a man who can bridge the huge gap between Evangelical and/or Fundamentalist Christians and Naturalists – which is a big step towards a more progressive humanistic society – Dowd may be him.

We also offered a great DVD called Race: The Power of an Illusion!

Show 405: “Thank God for Evolution” w/ Michael Dowd

“Thank God for Evolution” w/ Michael Dowd

This Saturday, evolutionary evangelist – former pastor and author of ‘Thank God for Evolution’ – Michael Dowd, will speak with host Matthew LaClair on the subject of evolutionary theory and the sciences.

Since 2002, Reverend Dowd and his wife have traveled across the country, addressing more than 1,500 theistic and secular groups alike on the subject of evolutionary theory. How can the sciences be communicated to those with varying religious and political views? Should “religious” language be a part of this discussion? Is it hypocritical to believe in a Supreme Being with no factual information, while simultaneously accepting evolution? Can secularists and theists learn some things from one another?

Show 325: Creation w/ Carl Zimmer

Two-Hour Fund Drive Special!

Creation w/ Special Guest, Science Writer Carl Zimmer

“A psychological, heart-wrenching love story starring Paul Bettany (A Beautiful Mind, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World) as Charles Darwin, the film is based on “Annie’s Box,” a biography penned by Darwin’s great-great-grandson Randal Keynes using personal letters and diaries of the Darwin family. We take a unique and inside look at Darwin, his family and his love for his deeply religious wife, played by Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind, Requiem for a Dream), as, torn between faith and science, Darwin struggles to finish his legendary book “On the Origin of Species,” which goes on to become the foundation for evolutionary biology.”

Join us in support of WBAI-NY and feel free to donate to the station so ETFF will always have a home!

Show 319: Creation

One-Hour Fund Drive Special!

Creation

“A psychological, heart-wrenching love story starring Paul Bettany (A Beautiful Mind, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World) as Charles Darwin, the film is based on “Annie’s Box,” a biography penned by Darwin’s great-great-grandson Randal Keynes using personal letters and diaries of the Darwin family. We take a unique and inside look at Darwin, his family and his love for his deeply religious wife, played by Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind, Requiem for a Dream), as, torn between faith and science, Darwin struggles to finish his legendary book “On the Origin of Species,” which goes on to become the foundation for evolutionary biology.”

Show’s 311: “What’s all the Fuss About? Darwinism and its Discontents”

Two-Part (belated) Darwin Day Special!

“What’s all the Fuss About? Darwinism and its Discontents”

Featuring Dr. Joseph Graves, Jr. and Dr. John Bellamy Foster

As we’ve just bypassed both the 200th anniversary of the great Naturalist Charles Darwin’s birth on February 12th, and the 150th anniversary of perhaps the most influential scientific text of all time – “On the Origin of Species” (11/24/09) –  the humanist and Freethought community in general, and the world at large, has once again grappled with the significance of the scientific theory of evolution via natural selection.

In most of the developed world, and elsewhere, Darwin’s theories have not only been understood and championed, but put to the real tests of understanding not only the origins and complexity of life forms on Earth, but via the treatment of diseases for which evolution’s tenets are absolutely vital.  Still, populations  – usually those where religion still carries great meaning for many people (particularly the Abrahamic religions), including many states in the US – have not only been reluctant to embrace evolutionary science, but have actively fought against the teaching of evolution and it’s very existence.

The strong hold of Creationism in both Christianity and Islam has swayed more people in these areas then Darwinism ever had, and many freethinkers tend to believe the core of these problems lie in the supernaturalism and “scared” texts of which religion is built.  But does there lay a deeper, more systemic reason for the sway of Creationism over Darwinism which scientific advocates fail to, or don’t wish to discuss when combating anti-evolution sentiments and activism?  Indeed, can understanding one of the core reasons Charles Darwin himself sought out the science behind life’s’ diversity – especially with regards to human beings – shed some light on the vehemence aimed at evolutionary theory?

Show 289: “On Human Nature and the Potential for Peace”

“On Human Nature and the Potential for Peace” w/ Anthropologist Douglas Fry

This program aired in honor of Universal Peace Day!

A few weeks ago on Equal Time for Freethought, Arnell Dowret interviewed two social scientists and a bio-engineer on the validity and importance of social science – what it can tell us about human nature, whether or not it was a rigorous enough a science to inform us on how to develop healthier societies, and if all the recent attacks on it by skeptics, evolutionary psychologists, and indeed some social scientists, have been deserved or not.  It is perhaps not unreasonable to suggest that by the end of the program, the validity of the social sciences had been fairly proven – with all due respect to the bio-engineer participant.

Still, if my experience discussing social science and human nature – particularly with regards to violence, warlike behavior, authoritarianism and selfishness – with scientifically and politically serious people on Facebook is any indication on where many people today stand on the validity of social science… things look weak at best for those defending sciences like sociology, anthropology and psychology.

And while I have found, without much surprise, that most people who reject social science tend to be political centrists, conservatives or r-libertarians, I have also found what seems to be a deep suspicion of the merits of these sciences even from those left of center. – Barry F. Seidman

Douglas P. Fry teaches in the Faculty of Social and Caring Sciences at Abo Akademi University in Finland and is an adjunct research scientist in the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology at the University of Arizona. A renowned anthropologist and a leading authority on aggression, conflict, and conflict resolution, he has worked in this field for over twenty-five years and has published many articles and books on this subject. His latest text is ‘Beyond War: The Human Potential For Peace.’

This program aired on WBAI on July 26th and August 2nd, but the full audio can be found here!

Show 261a: “Beyond the ‘New Atheism’: Religion and Politics Worldwide”

Part 1 of 2 of “Beyond the ‘New Atheism’: Religion and Politics Worldwide” w/ Ronald Inglehart and David Sloan Wilson.

Seminal thinkers of the nineteenth century — Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud — all predicted that religion would gradually fade in importance and cease to be significant with the emergence of industrial society. The belief that religion was dying became the conventional wisdom in the social sciences during most of the twentieth century.

During the last decade, however, the secularization thesis has experienced the most sustained challenge in its long history. Critics point to multiple indicators of religious health and vitality today, from the continued popularity of churchgoing in the United States, to the emergence of New Age spirituality in Western Europe, the surge of fundamentalist movements and Islamic parties in the Muslim world, the evangelical revival sweeping through Latin America, and the widespread ethno-religious conflicts in international affairs.

Continue reading “Show 261a: “Beyond the ‘New Atheism’: Religion and Politics Worldwide””