Show 556: Massimo Pigliucci on Stoicism

Massimo Pigliucci on Stoicism

(From Publisher): Whenever we worry about what to eat, how to love, or simply how to be happy, we are worrying about how to lead a good life. No goal is more elusive. In How to Be a Stoic, philosopher Massimo Pigliucci offers Stoicism, the ancient philosophy that inspired the great viagra cost emperor Marcus Aurelius, as the best way to attain it. Stoicism is a pragmatic philosophy that focuses our attention on what is possible and gives us perspective on what is unimportant. By understanding Stoicism, we can learn to answer crucial questions: Should we get married or divorced? How should we handle our money in a world nearly destroyed by a financial crisis? How can we survive great personal tragedy? Whoever we are, Stoicism has something for us – and How to Be a Stoic is the essential guide.

Audio can be found here!

Show 547: The EOF Project w/ Jessica Schab and Diego Fontanive

One of the core topics we discuss on this show, probably since we first went on the air in the summer of 2002, is how do we understand how people think, why they think as they do, and how can we help people develop better thinking skills. If change is going to take place, it will have to come from you and me, and not the ruling or monied classes. But changing minds is a prerequisite for social change, and in a society unable to think clearly, changing people minds — that is, away from the confused thinking which has brought us the ‘age of Trump’ — becomes an impossible task. Enter Diego Fontanive and Jessica Schab and the EOF Project: Evolve your Thinking.
Audio can be found here!

Show 387: Free Will and Moral Responsibility

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Who deserves their fate in life?  This question is increasingly being raised from various ranks in our society.  Over the past year or so there has been a spate of books discussing our ability to empathize as central to being human.  This week, as our Supreme Court deliberated whether life long prison sentences without the possibility of parole for 14-year-olds constituted cruel and unusual punishment, the entire validity of retributive justice is brought into question.  On the streets, the Occupy movement is calling into question the basic assumptions about how we as a society deem some worthy to enjoy outlandishly excessive rewards while multitudes of others get nearly enough for life’s basic necessities.

As our regular listeners know, we at ETFF have long advocated that believing in “free will” is no more grounded in reason and evidence than any other belief in the supernatural. But in addition, the belief in free will is corrosive;  it supports the notion that some people are more deserving than others, and is used to justify outrageous inequity and violence.

Hopefully a large nail in the coffin of belief in “free will” will be hammered in by the publication, earlier this month, of the new mini-book by Sam Harris, simply titled “Free Will.”

Joining us on the phone to discuss this important new book and the significance of the question of free will in general will be director of The Center for Naturalism, and repeat guest on our program, Tom Clark.

Show 385: Promoting African-American Humanism

Promoting African-American Humanism

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It is generally understood that the struggle of Black Americans to overcome the numerous obstacles to freedom and empowerment that has been placed in their way has always been supported by their unwavering faith, and by the Black Church.   But this is only part of the story.   Black Americans also have a long and rich secular tradition that continues in the present day groups like the Harlem Humanists.

To report on what the Harlem Humanists have been doing, as well as telling us about some of their upcoming plans, we will be joined by Leighann Lord and Ayanna Watson, as well as one of the core group organizers of the Harlem Humanists, Michael Lightsmith.

Questions we’ll try to address will include:

1.   What types of experiences does a group like Harlem Humanists offer their fellow Blacks and other persons of color?

2.   Is it likely that they can attract people who are used to community experiences that are much more emotionally dynamic and intense – with  “call and answer,” singing, gestulating, and cathartic emotional outbursts?

3.   Can the naturalistic approach become widely accepted if it is conveyed and practiced solely with an intellectual approach?

4.   What can be done to make the naturalistic approach more relevant and inspiring so that more come to realize the profound utility of naturalism.

Show 375: Humanist for the Holidays

Humanist for the Holidays – Call-In Special!

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With the holiday season comes a lot of cognitive (and emotional) dissonance for politically conscious humanists. If you were raised with religion, you might have fond memories called up by holiday decorations that clash with your current understanding of exploitation and consumerism. Meanwhile, you’re visiting family and friends who may not be aware of your “un-believer” status.

So how do humanists maintain integrity during the holidays while still having fun? Call in with your stories, advice, and questions and we’ll sort it all out on Equal Time For Freethought!

We will speak with Greg Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University, about humanist celebrations and how humanists and atheists can live full, moral lives without religion, and with Patrick Colucci, Vice Chairman of the HumanLight committee, who will discuss the first ever international humanist winter holiday, now celebrating its 10th year!

Show 359: Transhumanism – Understanding Our Technological Future

Transhumanism – Understanding Our Technological Future w/ James Hughes

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Humans are inextricably linked to the technology we create, and the technology we create in turn shapes us.  In the next few decades a confluence of high technologies including nano-tech, bio-tech, info-tech, and cognitive science will bring humankind into territory previously unimagined, and largely still unimaginable.

Future technologies may empower human kind to eliminate or significantly reduce the serious existential threats we presently face such as environmental collapse, nuclear disaster, and worldwide pandemic.  On the other hand, our new technologies themselves could bring an entirely new set of challenges with which we will have to struggle.

To help us examine what our future relationship to technology might involve we will be joined by Dr. James Hughes, a scholar of futurism with the ability to discuss complex ideas about our future in a manner that is uniquely clear and accessible.  Dr. Hughes is a sociologist and bioethicist at Trinity College, and producer of Changesurfer Radio, a weekly half hour public affairs program on the impact of future technologies.  He is also the co-founder of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies and currently serves as its Executive Director.

Show 352: Paul Kurtz: Humanist

Paul Kurtz: Humanist

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It has a long history dating back to the Renaissance, picked up steam during the Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution, and became the umbrella philosophy for atheists, agnostics, skeptics and other freethinkers during the 20th Century. Does humanism have a voice for the 21st Century? Can we trace the evolu…tion of this rich philosophical outlook to today and shape a neo-humanistic worldview which could speak to the challenges – both intellectual and spiritual – of what could be either the most disastrous or most prosperous century for human kind?  Saturday, we will be speaking to one of the founders of 20th Century humanism, and key figure in the Secular Humanist movement, Dr. Paul Kurtz.

Continue reading “Show 352: Paul Kurtz: Humanist”

Show 348: More Sex!

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This week Equal Time for Freethought continues it’s examination of how healthy sexuality might be expressed in a society that wasn’t dominated by shame, puritanicalism, and sexploitation.

As we envision becoming a society of people who are happier, healthier, and more empowered, our anachronistic attitudes about sexuality an…d bodily pleasure will have to change. Last week we examined the many ways that various forces in our culture inhibit healthy sexual expression with founder of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF), Susan Wright. In this, our second of two programs on this topic we will discuss push-back from the left and the need to distinguish between the abuse and exploitation, which seems symptomatic to our hierarchical, domination based culture, and passionate, diverse and healthy sexual expression.

We will also be examining the emergence of today’s body pleasure positive culture as it is being expressed by both progressive enterprises and in new social groups and organizations.

Joining our discussion will be two of the co-founders of “The Pleasure SalonSelina Fire, and Mark Michaels, and CEO and cofounder of Babeland, Rachel Venning. Babeland is the award winning premier purveyor of sex related merchandise, workshops and events. The Pleasure Salon is a monthly gathering in New York City of sex positive activists.

Show 333: Box Brown From Everything Dies

Humanist Funnies! A Conversation With Cartoonist Box Brown From “Everything Dies”

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Host Michael ONeil interviews Box Brown, who recently finished his webcomic, “Bellen!”, to focus totally on the web-and-print, religion-based comic: Everything Dies.  He lives in Philadelphia with Sarah, Buster and Louis, only two of which are cats.

Box’s work has been featured on and USAToday’s Pop Candy Blog.  “Everything Dies” explores religion’s role as myth throughout the world.  It’s like if Kurt Vonnegut’s ghost possessed Jack Chick!  Not that Kurt Vonnegut has a ghost (though that would be hilarious)

Show 332: Michael De Dora

A Conversation with Freethought community leader, Michael De Dora

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Join us for a chat with the director of the Center for Inquiry-NYC, Michael De Dora, on his work with the center, and within the NYC Freethought community as a whole, and what he recommends needs to be done to expand said community. We will also talk with him about alternatives to traditional philosophy-group meetings and venture into how to better serve local atheists, agnostics, skeptics, and humanists.