Show’s 335: A World Without Islam

A World Without Islam w/ Graham Fuller

Is Islam a religion of Peace as many Muslims argue?

Is Islam, and other religions, really what poisons everything, as many atheists argue?

Can we answer the ‘chicken and egg’ question as regards religion and political economy?

How should we best understand and heal the violence done in the world today in the name of God?

Equal Time for Freethought had the privilege of speaking with former vice-chair of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA, Graham Fuller, on his new book: ‘A World Without Islam.’ We aired excepts of this interview on our Fund Drive Program a few Tuesdays ago, and thought it important enough to play in its entirety for our regular listeners.

*This program aired in two parts on 11/7 & 11/14 in 2010

Show 301: Sunsara Taylor chats with Robert Jensen!

Sunsara Taylor chats with Robert Jensen!

Robert Jensen is that rare form of “Christian Atheist” who, once having been a secularist pure, now finds himself embracing a radical leftist form of “Christianity” which he talks about in his new book, All My Bones Shake: Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice.  Jensen is also an advocate of Feminism, and has written harshly on the Porn Industry in the United States.  He also may be known for his critical essay – No Thanks to Thanksgiving – where he suggests that a moral people would abandon this holiday built upon myth and the blood of hundreds and thousands of Native Americans.

Robert is a professor in the School of Journalism and director of the Senior Fellows Honors Program of the College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin.  He also is the author of Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity; The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege; Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity; and Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the Mainstream.

Show 294: Chris Mooney on the State of Science Literacy in America

Chris Mooney on the State of Science Literacy in America

Why is it that in such a technologically advanced country, science is not taken seriously by so many? What is so dangerous about an illiteracy of science, or for that matter, a literacy of science? What role does religion, political economy, and fear play in the current attack on science in America? Will the current affront to scientific method become even more problematic as the effects of climate change become far more serious?

Equal Time for Freethought welcomes back Chris Mooney, author of multiple books including the New York Times bestseller “The Republican War on Science,” and most recently, “Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our future.”  Mooney is also a contributing editor to Science Progress, and publishes in many publications including Wired, Slate, and The American Prospect.  This week, Matthew LaClair will chat with Mooney about the issues that America faces regarding scientific acceptance and understanding in the 21st Century.

Show 277b: On the Origins and Psychology of Dogmatic Thinking and Ideology II

What’s so Wrong about being Absolutely Right?: A Discussion on the Origins and Psychology of Dogmatic Thinking and Ideology.

Pt. 2 of 2

What does it mean when we say someone is being dogmatic?  Are only religious fundamentalists capable of dogmatic thinking?  Can science-based atheists be dogmatic?  What is the difference between dogmatism and ideology?  Why do people engage in dogmatic thinking in the first place; is it biological, sociological or psychological or all of the above?  And, what can we do to limit dogmatic thinking?

These questions and more will be discussed in a special two-part program with clinical psychologist Judy Johnson and social psychologist John Jost.  If we want to get to the reasons why some feel religion and politics are so contentious, and even dangerous, we probably should be focusing on how people behave within religious or political frameworks.  If we want to build a more humanistic, less dangerous world, we must then learn what we should be doing to avoid the potential dangers therein.  We hope this program will offer some of those answers as well as tools toward creating a healthier society.

The audio for this program, which aired in two parts on March 29th and April 5th, can be found BELOW. Please note that this audio is an EXTENDED version containing two questions not aired on WBAI-NY; one of these concerns the question of whether authoritarian persons or societies are a normal part of human nature, or a sign of either an unhealthy individual or society, while the other is a personal question the host asks regarding his own possible dogmatic tendencies.

Show 277a: On the Origins and Psychology of Dogmatic Thinking and Ideology

What’s so Wrong about being Absolutely Right?: A Discussion on the Origins and Psychology of Dogmatic Thinking and Ideology.

Pt. 1 of 2

What does it mean when we say someone is being dogmatic?  Are only religious fundamentalists capable of dogmatic thinking?  Can science-based atheists be dogmatic?  What is the difference between dogmatism and ideology?  Why do people engage in dogmatic thinking in the first place; is it biological, sociological or psychological or all of the above?  And, what can we do to limit dogmatic thinking?

These questions and more will be discussed in a special two-part program with clinical psychologist Judy Johnson and social psychologist John Jost.  If we want to get to the reasons why some feel religion and politics are so contentious, and even dangerous, we probably should be focusing on how people behave within religious or political frameworks.  If we want to build a more humanistic, less dangerous world, we must then learn what we should be doing to avoid the potential dangers therein.  We hope this program will offer some of those answers as well as tools toward creating a healthier society.

The audio for this program, which aired in two parts on March 29th and April 5th, can be found on the April archives page. Please note that this audio is an EXTENDED version containing two questions not aired on WBAI-NY; one of these concerns the question of whether authoritarian persons or societies are a normal part of human nature, or a sign of either an unhealthy individual or society, while the other is a personal question the host asks regarding his own possible dogmatic tendencies.

Show 265: “The Dialectical Biologist: A Discussion w/ Dr. Richard Levins”

“The Dialectical Biologist: A Discussion w/ Dr. Richard Levins

Richard Levins studied agriculture and mathematics at Cornell. He was a tropical farmer in Puerto Rico before getting his PhD at Columbia University. He later moved to Harvard with the sponsorship of E. O. Wilson, with whom they had later disputes over sociobiology. Levins was elected member of the US National Academy of Sciences but resigned because of the Academy’s role in advising the US military.

Levins is John Rock Professor of Population Sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health. During the last two decades Levins has concentrated on application of ecology to agriculture, particularly in the less developed nations.  He has also written on philosophical issues in biology and modelling.

An influential article of his is “The Strategy of Model Building in Population Biology”. He has influenced a number of contemporary philosophers of biology. With the evolutionary geneticist Richard Lewontin, Levins has written a number of articles on methodology, philosophy, and social implications of biology.

This interview, conducted by Professor of Philosophy Paul Eckstein (Bergen Community College, NJ), focuses mainly on Levins’ contribution to the text, Biology Under the Influence: Dialectical Essays on Ecology, Agriculture, and Health (w/ Lewontin).

 

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

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

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 242: Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges Doesn’t Believe in Atheists!

From the Publisher:

From the New York Times bestselling author of American Fascists and the NBCC finalist for War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning comes this timely and compelling work about the “new atheists”, those who attack religion to advance the worst of global capitalism, intolerance and imperial projects.

Chris Hedges, who graduated from seminary at Harvard Divinity School, has long been a courageous voice in a world where there are too few. He observes that there are two radical, polarized and dangerous sides to the debate on faith and religion in America: the fundamentalists who see religious faith as their prerogative, and the “new atheists” who brand all religious belief as irrational and dangerous. Both sides use faith to promote a radical agenda, while the religious majority, those with a commitment to tolerance and compassion as well as to their faith, are caught in the middle.

Continue reading “Show 242: Chris Hedges”

Show 220: “The New Humanism” with Chris Wells

The New Humanism” with Chris Wells

The term “humanism” has a fairly long history. Most Westerners would describe modern humanism as that philosophy born first in the European Renaissance, and which then found its teeth in the European Enlightenment. Of course, both of those periods might be better understood as the birth place of reason, science and atheism, rather than humanism.

In 1933, the first of several “humanist manifestos” were written, and here is where science advocacy, reason and atheism were combined by some to form an “ethical, philosophical life stance.” Although this life stance affirms the non-theist, human-centered, naturalism of the Enlightenment, it also calls for a free and universal society, a cooperative economic system and a participatory democracy, and the breaking down of artificial barriers to freedom such as racism, sexism, classism and other forms of separatist ideologies.

The so-called “new” humanism was first articulated in Latin America by Mario Rodriguez Cobos (pen name, Silo), and while his interpretation of humanism also respects science and reason, it is far more centered around humanism’s sociopolitical ideology than naturalism or religious critique. In fact, the “new” humanism is not closed to religious people, as some secular humanists are, because they realize the only way toward a humanist future society is by welcoming non-fundamentalist religionists into the fight. As various humanist writers and political scientists have argued, not to do so is to isolate humanism as a fringe movement in this still quite religious world.

Continue reading “Show 220: “The New Humanism” with Chris Wells”