Show 474: Greta Christina on “The Atheist Condition”

Greta Christina on “The Atheist Condition”

On ETFF we have discussed religion, supernatural beliefs and atheism from a philosophical and political perspective. We have asked why people believe without evidence, what role religion plays in our political landscape, and what role does our political natures play in the sorts of religious teachings we accept or reject. And we have asked what the relationship is between religion and science.

But what we may not have talked about well enough may be the more personal aspects of atheism for the non-believer. Why is it so hard, even in 2014, for atheists in some parts of this country to discuss their belief — and not just in public, but even with friends and family? How does one “come out” as an atheist in perhaps the most religious nation in the developed world? Why is it important that atheists do come out, just as the LBGT community has learned over the last several decades? And when atheists DO come out and discuss their beliefs and express their ideas with the general public, why does it seem many believers find us to be obnoxious, arrogant, stubborn, and angry?

Greta Christina will discuss these questions and more with us in just a few moments.  Greta is a regular atheist correspondent for AlterNet, Free Inquiry, and The Humanist, and has been writing about atheism in her own “Greta Christina’s blog” since 2005. As a public speaker, she is part of the Speakers Bureau for the Secular Student Alliance and the Center for Inquiry.  Greta was a speaker on the Diversity in Skepticism panel at The Amaz!ng Meeting in July, 2011, the Reason Rally in 2012, and the 50th annual convention of American Atheists in 2013.

In that same year, she was named the International Team Honored Hero of the Foundation Beyond Belief (FBB). The Foundation’s teams raise money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Greta received the 2013 LGBT Humanist Pride Award from the American Humanist Association.

Her two books we will be discussing with her today are Coming Out Atheist: How to do it, How to Held Each Other, and Why, and Why are you Atheists so Angry: 99 Things that Piss off the Godless.

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

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Lawrence M. Krauss on “The Unbelievers”

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 446: Deconverting from Christianity, the Sensible Thing?

De-converting from Christianity, the Sensible Thing?

It’s one thing to realize that science contradicts the Bible in a lot of ways, that the bible contains a lot of immoral passages (slavery, anyone?), that some passages in the bible are even contradicted by other passages in the Bible. It’s quite another thing to take the next logical step and realize God is nonexistant altogether.  After all, maybe the Bible is just a collection of metaphors, an inspired book of wisdom not meant to be literal truth.  Maybe “God” is a primal being who set the universe in motion and then did nothing else; a God like that couldn’t possibly conflict with science.  Maybe there’s a true god out there, and all the different religions are only glimpsing pieces of divine truth.  Right?

Wrong.  It turns out there’s absolutely no good reason to believe in a God of any kind, Biblical or otherwise, no matter how little it directly contradicts science or how little immorality is contained in that God’s scripture.  Few understand this better than this week’s guest Matt Dillahunty, who was a fundamentalist Christian for 25 years of his life and sincerely believed in and enjoyed his religion and God, before becoming an outspoken atheist.  He’s been hosting the cable access show “The Atheist Experience” in Austin, Texas for the past six years, and served as the president of the Atheist Community of Austin for much of that time.  He also appears in formal debates with Christian apologists and on his own YouTube channel, discussing atheism.  He co-founded the “Iron Chariots” wiki with Russel Glasser, a fellow host on “The Atheist Experience”.

Dillahunty will discuss his experience going from Christian to atheist, why it doesn’t make sense to believe in a God or gods, why theistic arguments are largely based on fallacies, and much more.

Show 439: Katherine Stewart on The Good News Club

Katherine Stewart on The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children

This Saturday on Equal Time for Freethought we will talk with Katherine Stewart, author of “The Good News Club: The Religious Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children.”  Ms. Stewart, a journalist, appeared on our show months ago, but the discussion was our only show in ETFF’s 10+ year history to NOT be recorded. We will discuss her book regarding the Good News Club, an evangelical organization that has infiltrated thousands of elementary schools across the country, promoting their doctrine under the guise of free expression. We will discuss this organization, how it became so powerful, and the little known but immensely damaging impacts of their manipulation of our most vulnerable citizens.

Show 436: Attack of the Theocrats!

Attack of the Theocrats!

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 428: William Gardner on Handling Truth

William Gardner on Handling Truth

Why is truth such a hard thing to handle? Why do different people assert different things to be true, with equal certainty? Dr. William Gardner discusses four kinds of truths, which he calls Rhetorica, Mystica, Logica, and Empirica… and why they don’t always get along.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, why is it important to distinguish one kind from another, and – most importantly – how can someone living in today’s sea of information navigate the riptides of truths? And does it matter to the way we see the universe and the human condition if we never get to the truth?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We will discuss these questions with Dr. William M. Gardner, author of Handling Truth: Navigating the Riptides of Rhetoric, Religion, Reason, and Research. Gardner received a Ph.D. in General Experimental Psychology from the University of Alabama; he spent a year studying language at the University of Wisconsin, and occasionally during his teaching career took courses in philosophy.  His research topics included animal behavior, comparative learning, personality, childcare institutions, and academic honesty.

Show 427: How to be Secular w/ Jacques Berlinerblau

How to be Secular w/ Jacques Berlinerblau

This Saturday, Matthew LaClair will interview Jacques Berlinerblau on his new book, How to Be Secular: A Call to Arms for Religious Freedom.  Berlinerblau is a professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and director of the Program for Jewish civilization.  He has written numerous books, is a regular contributor to the Washington Post’s “On Faith” column, and hosts the podcast “Faith Complex.”  In the book How to Be Secular, Berlinerblau enlightens readers on the realities of secularism, covering its intriguing and complex historical roots and trajectory, and its immense challenges.  He argues for increased cooperation among theists and non-theists, less focus on an absolute separation of church and state, and for a nuanced and informed approach to tackling the Religious Right “Revivalists.”

Show 424: Robert Jensen on Arguing for Our Lives

Robert Jensen on Arguing for Our Lives

Why is being neutral – as regards politics and religion – not acceptable in a democracy? How can we engage in meaningful public or personal dialogue about politics and religion in a deeply polarized society? How do we engage people who can’t (or won’t) discern facts and evidence from opinions and beliefs? And what can we do toward creating a more educated, more intellectual, and more empathic society?

We will address these vital questions and more as we discuss with Robert Jensen his new book: Arguing for Our Lives: A User’s Guide to Constructive Dialog.

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

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

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 396: Astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson

Astro-Physicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson

This Saturday, we speak with Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and director at the Frederick P. Rose Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. He has hosted NOVA Science Now on PBS, and will be hosting Cosmos (based on the original series by Carl Sagan), on FOX (produced by Seth MacFarlane). Frequent guest on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Real Time with Bill Maher and more, Tyson is considered to be one of the most effective science communicators of our time, recently testifying before the Senate to encourage a higher budget for NASA. He has written a number of books, including his most recent Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier. Join us for this enthusiastic, informative and personal interview!