Language usage in America over the last 40 years has polarized society – all or nothing, judgmental terms like good and evil, sinful and righteous, pride and guilt – while nuanced, knowledgeable and meaningful language has been vilified as “political correctness.” Can naturalists and humanists offer a unique perspective and be of any real value in the public square today? What sort of contribution can we make to public discourse which is consistent with humanist values and evidence based thinking?
Long, long before anyone ever heard of Jesus, people all over the world knew that this time of year was special. The winter solstice is a completely natural event, which is loaded with significance, both symbolic and real.
On Christmas Day, Equal Time for Freethought will show how and why Christmas can, and should, be a fully naturalistic holiday… And what a great time we’re going to have doing it!
We’ll be featuring a replay of our classic Equal Time for Freethought’s “Christmas with Santa Claus” interview; we’ll have a look at the history of Christmas and from where its traditions are derived; we’ll be taking your calls, and if that wasn’t enough- we’ll be venturing out to the cutting edge as we offer a special Christmas guided meditation in which everyone can participate!
And you don’t even need to be non-faith based or non-supernatural to benefit from tuning in; in addition to our traditional non-faith-based listeners, Muslims, Jews, Astrologers, Roman Catholics, Baptists, and others can get a lot from the elements of a Naturalistic Christmas…
No matter how secular or naturalistic you are it’s impossible not to notice that Christmas time is here. To avoid getting a whiff of Douglas Fur should atheists, agnostics, and other non-believers hold their breath until mid January when the sanitation department guides the once noble icons to their transition into wood chips?
Looking beyond its association with faith and beyond the way it has been co-opted by the merchants of crass consumerism, are we left with anything about Christmas worth celebrating? With nine day until Christmas, Equal Time for Freethought will be discussing why “Having a Merry Naturalistic Christmas” is not only possible, it’s desirable.
But what would be the philosophy behind a naturalistic approach to Christmas; and what would activities for a naturalistic Christmas look like?
To facilitate the participation of widely different groups of people that the church wanted to assimilate early church fathers adopted a wide range of local traditions into Christmas. The result is that today’s Christmas celebration is essentially a pan-regional, best of traditions past collection. Rather than denying Christmas, if like the Church fathers of the past, naturalists could find ways to build upon some of the existing holiday traditions and make them their own, it may go a long way to helping establish naturalism as a popular practice.
Hear why, when it comes to Christmas, we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Or, Can You Call Yourself a Naturalist and Still Believe in Free Will?
At its core, the most defining element of a naturalistic world-view is the idea that there exists an unbroken chain of cause and effect which determines the way that all entities in our classical universe behave.
In a naturalistic world-view, there are no forces or entities that exist outside the chain of cause and effect that can influence events in our universe. Everything that exists, has ever existed, or ever will exist, is inextricably linked in this chain; and this, of course, includes humans.
Using this idea to address the most crucial questions of our time with regard to our place in the universe, our relationship to each other, and our understanding of our selves, is to bring the full power of the naturalistic world-view to its most practical social and personal applications.
This week and next, Equal Time for Freethought will be joined by the Director of The Center for Naturalism, and author of the new primer on naturalism Encountering Naturalism, Thomas Clark.
This interview was originally aired on May 20, 2007.
Neil deGrasse Tyson is an African American astrophysicist and, since 1996, the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History worldview. Tyson has written a number of popular books on astronomy. In 1995, he began to write the “Universe” column for Natural History magazine. In a column for the magazine he authored in 2002, Tyson coined the term “Manhattanhenge” to describe the two days annually on which the evening sun aligns with the cross streets of the street grid in Manhattan, making sunset visible along unobstructed side streets. In 2004, he hosted the four-part “Origins” miniseries of PBS’s Nova, and co-authored, with Donald Goldsmith (renowned California astronomer and science writer/professor) the companion volume for this series, Origins: Fourteen Billion Years Of Cosmic Evolution.
As director of the Hayden Planetarium, Tyson bucked traditional thinking to keep Pluto from being referred to as the ninth planet in exhibits at the center. He has stated on “The Colbert Report” that this decision has resulted in large amounts of hate mail, much of it from children. In 2006, the International Astronomical Union confirmed this assessment by downgrading Pluto to “dwarf planet” classification. Tyson is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Planetary Society, where he was formerly the vice president. He is the new host of the PBS program NOVA scienceNOW.
Naturalism and Bodily Pleasure w/ James Prescott
Equal Time for Freethought begins 2006 with the first of a two part examination of how a culture that rejects precepts of religion should regard bodily pleasure and sexuality. To help us in our discussion we will be pleased to have joining us developmental neuro-psychologist, and cross-cultural psychologist, Dr. James Prescott.
Continue reading “Show 152: Naturalism and Bodily Pleasure w/ James Prescott”