Show 288: Special: Evolutionary Biologist and practicing Christian, Dr. Kenneth R. Miller

Special: Evolutionary Biologist and practicing Christian, Dr. Kenneth R. Miller

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Audio 2 here!

Matthew LaClair will be interviewing Dr. Kenneth R. Miller, a biology professor at Brown University and the lead witness in the case regarding Creationism in Dover, PA in 2005.  Dr. Miller, also a practicing Roman Catholic, believes that Evolutionary Theory and religious beliefs such as his are not contradictory.  Matthew will talk with Dr. Miller about his advocacy of science, his involvement in debates and controversies surrounding Creationism, and his arguments supporting the idea that religion and science do not contradict one another. Can religion and science coexist? Furthermore, do science and religion (theology) explain the natural universe?

Show 274: Morality Without Gods II: A Preview

Morality Without Gods II: A Preview

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This program, co-hosted by Sunsara Taylor and Paul Eckstein, was a preview of the following event:

Morality Without Gods: Part 2

Across the planet with unjust wars, uncertainty & convulsions in people’s lives, belief in gods and religion is rising.  Broad controversy and debate rages over god, atheism, faith, and science.  Last November, an overflow crowd came out at NYU for Morality Without Gods: Part 1.  Part 2 will focus on these three questions:

  • If you don’t believe in god, where do you get your morality from?
  • Why is science not just “another belief system”?
  • Could we/should we do away with belief in gods?

A review of the actual event can be found here.  A DVD-video of the event will become available shortly, and we will provide information on it via this website.

Show 264: Reinventing Thanksgiving w/ Arnell Dowret and Barry Schwartz

Reinventing Thanksgiving- Counting Our Blessings- and Seeing Reality

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Thanksgiving is a holiday rife with problems- historical revisionism, and denial, not to mention bizarre fetishistic overeating and gallinaceous debauchery.  In addition to nausea, the most common response to Thanksgiving among progressives is to both debunk and challenge the skewed narrative.

But because, Thanksgiving is not going away anytime soon, in addition to challenging the story line and presumptions attendant to Thanksgiving, an additional line of attack should involve a fundamental reinvention of the holiday- as a holiday that would actually diminish our arrogant jingoistic tendencies, and become a part of our efforts to create a culture which promotes progressive values and conveys naturalistic wisdom.

Building on the idea central to its name, Thanksgiving has potential to offer intrinsic humanistic value by reminding and inspiring us to practice what has in recent years been simply described as “gratitude.”  The evidence seems undeniable- engaging in activities which broaden our sense of gratitude has huge consequences for our emotional health and overall sense of happiness.

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Show 250: Actress/Comedienne Julia Sweeney!

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Best known to audiences as the androgynous, nerdy “Pat” from Saturday Night Live, where she was a cast member from 1990 to 1994, Julia Sweeney actually began her comedy career as an accountant, of all things. Working as a numbers-cruncher for Columbia Pictures in the mid-’80s, Sweeney ignored her degree in economics to pursue comedy. In 1986, she joined the Groundlings, the famous L.A. improvisational troupe that also produced success stories like Conan O’Brien and Lisa Kudrow.

Quentin Tarantino cast her in 1994 in a small role opposite Harvey Keitel in his Oscar-winning film Pulp Fiction. Tarantino then executive-produced what was arguably the most important work of Sweeney’s career: “God Said, Ha!,” a film version of her one-woman Broadway show detailing her “cancer year,” in which she and her now-deceased brother Mike battled the deadly disease. Sweeney has also appeared on the big screen in Clockstoppers, Whatever It Takes, and Stuart Little. In 2004, Sweeney co-starred in two episodes of Frasier and had a guest role on Sex and the City. Sweeney’s 1993 impression of Chelsea Clinton caused somewhat of a stir when Hillary Clinton found it offensive and sent an angry letter to Studio 8H.

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Show 247: Religion is Not about God!: A Conversation with Dr. Loyal Rue

Religion is Not about God!: A Conversation with Dr. Loyal Rue

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Thousands of religious traditions have appeared over the course of human history but only a relative few have survived. Volumes have been written attempting to prove the existence or non-existence of supernatural being(s) including the recent best sellers by the so-called ‘new atheists”; Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. But like biologist David Sloan Wilson and anthropologist Scott Atran both argue, there is far more nuance and complexity regarding the story of humanity and its myths than these best-selling authors want to admit.

If Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens are considered by some humanists to be the amateur polemicists of atheism, then Wilson, Atran and Rue are the scholars secular humanists need to turn to if we want to begin to learn what we ought to do concerning the future of religion.

So, if religion is not about God, then what on earth is it about? Co-host Paul Eckstein explored with Dr. Rue this question and more!

Show 223: “Ecstatic Humanism”

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In God and The State, anarchist Mikkail Bakunin asserts that people under the power of religion and superstition suffer not so much from “an aberration of mind as a deep discontent at Heart.”

Does popular humanist outreach focus too much on intellectual Puritanism at the expense of emotional transcendence? How can humanism help people address the emotional and psychological stress of living in a society fraught with war, aggressive advertising, and cultural flux? Is there room for ecstasy in humanism?

This week, guest host Michael O’Neil will explore these questions and more!

Show 198: Victor Stenger

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Atheism has taken a turn toward the right, some have said, as writers like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and others have penned best-selling books on religion and faith which tend to see religion as the major problem in today’s society while leaving out politics and the economy. And while the Left ought to recognize the inherent dangers in religious fundamentalism, they also should understand the many complex reasons religion exists in the first place, and how fundamentalisms arise.

While on this program we have featured what some critics have dubbed the evangelical atheists in the past, we have also had folks like DS Wilson, Scott Atran, Robert Dreyfuss and Robert Pape on to take us deeper into the many facets of religion, its causes, and how we could begin to reign in the more dangerous verities.

Still, it is always useful to listen to anthropologists like Hector Avalos who cut to the roots of certain sorts of religious violence, and today’s guest, physicist Victor Stenger who takes a purely scientific view on the supernatural. Can science prove God does not, can not, exist? Many scientists, atheistic scientists in fact, disagree on the answer to this question.

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Show 155: Richard Carrier

Sense and goodness without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism w/ Richard Carrier

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“If God does not exist, then what does?  Is there good and evil, and should we care?  How do we know what’s true anyway?  And can we make any sense of this universe, or our own lives?

“Sense and Goodness without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism answers all these questions in lavish detail, without complex jargon.  A complete worldview is presented and defended, covering every subject from knowledge to art, from metaphysics to morality, from theology to politics.

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