Show 538: The Big Picture w/Sean Carroll

This week we will be speaking with theoretical physicist and cosmologist Sean Carroll who returns to the show to discuss his new book, The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself. His book is every bit as ambitious as it sounds, delving into philosophy, physics, biology, chemistry, and much more as he seeks to tie what we know into a “big picture” of existence itself.

Carroll is a research associate in the department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology where he specializes in Dark Energy and General Relativity.  He’s been published in scientific journals such as Nature and New Scientist, and has appeared on episodes of Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, the History Channel’s The Universe, and the Colbert Report. He’s written several popular science books including From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time.

Audio can be found here!

Show 537: Local artists Vincent Czyz and Chris Johnson

Local artists Vincent Czyz and Chris Johnson talk about their work concerning religion!

Today, Matthew LaClair speaks with Chris Johnson about his new book A Better Life: 100 Atheists Speak Out on Joy & Meaning in a World Without God.

Also, Barry Seidman talks with author Vincent Czyz about his new novel (concerning whether or not a historical Jesus existed) – The Christos Mosaic.

Audio can be found here!

Show 467: Theoretical cosmologist, Sean Carroll

Image result for Sean Carroll

Theoretical cosmologist, Sean Carroll

Audio here!

On today’s ETFF, Sean Carroll will discuss with us the nature of time and space, and some of the newest ideas in modern theoretical cosmology and physics. He will also discuss time travel, the god hypothesis, and the origins of the universe.

Carroll works at Caltech in Pasadena, California. He does research on theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, gravitation, and quantum mechanics as well as work on dark matter and dark energy, modified gravity, topological defects, extra dimensions, and violations of fundamental symmetries. Carroll has written a couple of popular-level books: ‘From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time‘, and ‘The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World.’

Show 450: Lawrence M. Krauss on “The Unbelievers”

Image result for the unbelievers

Lawrence M. Krauss on “The Unbelievers”

Audio here!

Where did the universe come from? Is an intelligent creator necessary to have set the Big Bang in motion? Theoretical physicist & cosmologist Lawrence Krauss doesn’t think so, and neither says the scientific evidence.

Krauss laid out that evidence last year in his book,  “A Universe From Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing”, demonstrating that it’s at least possible for a universe to arise spontaneously out of nothing. He’s also been giving talks and participating in debates, promoting science and unbelief, and this year he features with Richard Dawkins in a new documentary film called “The Unbelievers”, in which they travel the country promoting unbelief.

Krauss returns to the show to discuss science, religion, the universe from nothing, and why it’s important to talk about and debate these things. He will also discuss his new film, and much more. Krauss is a theoretical physicist and cosmologist who is a professor of physics at Arizona State University, where he also serves as Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration and director of the Origins Project. He is most well known for his contributions to cosmology, as he was one of the first physicists to suggest that most of the mass and energy of the universe resides in empty space, an idea now widely known as dark energy.

Show 436: Attack of the Theocrats!

Attack of the Theocrats!

Audio here!

This Saturday, host Matthew LaClair will speak with Sean Faircloth, the author of “Attack of the Theocrats: How the Religious Right Harms Us All and What We Can Do About It.” Faircloth served for a decade as a state legislature (Maine), and later worked for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science as the Director of Strategy and Policy and served as Executive Director for the Secular Coalition for America. We will talk about the effects of the religious right on America’s military, children, laws, education system, politics and more. With these concerns in mind, Faircloth presents a vision of a more secular America that provides true Constitutional religious equality among all citizens, both legally and socially.

Show 401: “God and the Folly of Faith” w/ Dr. Victor Stenger

“God and the Folly of Faith” w/ Dr. Victor Stenger

Audio here!

What can religious faith tell us about the universe? What can the scientific endeavor tell us about that same universe?  Where do they agree, and where to they clash? How do we know what is real and what is imagined? What constitutes a good reason for believing in something, and how has believing for poor reasons affected our society?

Dr. Stenger is adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado and emeritus professor of physics at the University of Hawaii. His research career spanned the period of great progress in elementary particle physics that ultimately led to the current standard model. In his last project before retiring, he collaborated on the underground experiment in Japan that showed for the first time that the neutrino has mass. The Japanese leader of the project shared the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics for this discovery.

Dr. Stenger is author of many books including the NY Times bestseller, God: The Failed Hypothesis and The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning.

Show 394: Lawrence Krauss on “Why there is Something rather than Nothing?”

Lawrence Krauss on “Why there is Something rather than Nothing?”

Audio here!

A question often asked of non-theists is “why is there something rather than nothing?” The question is not so much a religious or philosophical question, but rather a question about the natural world. Finding a satisfying answer is difficult, but is becoming easier to reach as exciting scientific advances have provided new insight into this cosmological question. Presenting such complex information in a relatively simple way is a challenge, one that physicist Lawrence Krauss takes on in his book A Universe From Nothing, providing thoughtful arguments along with wry humor.

Lawrence Krauss is a theoretical physicist who is a professor of physics, Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration, and director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University. He is the author of several bestselling books, including Quantum Man: Richard Feynman’s Life in Science, The Physics of Star Trek, and, the focus of this show, A Universe from Nothing.

Show 368: The Belief Instinct w/ Jesse Bering

The Belief Instinct

Audio here!

Equal Time for Freethought will host evolutionary psychologist Jesse Bering, director of the Institute of Cognition and Culture at Queen’s University Belfast, and a writer for the weekly column “Bering in Mind” on the Scientific American website. We will talk about his book, “The Belief Instinct,” which explores the psychological underpinnings of humanity’s ability to believe in a variety of unseen things, such as life after death, a Supreme Being, Karma and more.

Have we evolved in such a way which has allowed such psychologically propensities? If so, does that mean there’s anything substantial to things unseen which may confirm our almost universal, often independently developed religious beliefs; or have our brains evolved this way as a survival mechanism?

And what are the psychological consequences of maintaining these beliefs in a time where dogmatic thinking can dangerously be combined with weapons of mass destruction? Also, why hasn’t the development of science – including the science of religion itself – been enough to eradicate magical thinking?

Show’s 323: Mind Matters!

Two-Part Special: Mind Matters!

Audio 1 here!

Audio 2 here!

What is the relationship between God and Mind, or between Brain and Mind for that matter? And speaking of matter, how can we explain how the brain as a biological organ can produce immaterial thoughts, and indeed consciousness itself? From where did the concept of God really originate befor…e it became a (but certainly not thE) foundational reason for the broader sociopolitical construct we call religion? And finally, if we can better understand the questions I’ve just articulated, can we have a better understanding of human behavior itself? We will address these questions today and next week with two social scientists who have themselves grappled with the nature of God, Mind, Brain and Human Behavior.

Continue reading “Show’s 323: Mind Matters!”

Show 316: “Is There Anything More Important Than Whether or Not You Believe in a God?”

Call In Special: “Is There Anything More Important Than Whether or Not You Believe in a God?

Audio here!

The God debate may be interesting but when it comes to making our world a better place, is it really what matters the most?   Recently, a wide variety of professionals, including neuro-scientists, primatologists, social psychologists,  media journalists, and others have all been writing and talking about something far more central to achieving the progressive social change about which humanists should be concerned; empathy.

The concept of empathy speaks to those who are religious and non-religious alike.  It is the mechanism that results in our most humane and joyful experiences, just as the lack of it result in experiences which are the most debased and hurtful.  While seemingly uncontroversial, unthreatening, and innocuous, having a full appreciation of our natural inclination to empathize can open people to ideas that they might otherwise dismiss without adequate consideration.

During this installment of Equal Time for Freethought we’ll hear some sound clips of some of the principal players in the current “Empathy Zeitgeist” and take some of your calls to see if you agree that there are more important issues than atheism or faith, and that empathy may be the most important of all.