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

Chris Mooney on the State of Science Literacy in America

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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 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 287: Social Science Under Fire

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Is Social Science bunk?

Were Stanley Milgram’s “Obedience Experiments,” and Philip Zimbardo’s “Stanford Prison Experiments,” unscientific and immoral?

Is Social Science even science?

Join us as ETFF focuses in on questions such as these with three extraordinary guests for this one hour special presentation!

Challenging the value and accuracy of the social scientific enterprise will be Dr. Barbara Oakley, author of “Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend.” Dr. Oakley has been doing interviews (including for the Center For Inquiry’s podcast, ‘Point of Inquiry’), attacking social science and some of its seminal studies.

Standing up for social science in general will be Dean of Social Sciences and University Professor of the Social Sciences at New York University, Dr. Dalton Conley.  And back with us for a second time to address criticisms regarding his Stanford Prison Experiment will be Social Science legend, Dr. Philip Zimbardo.

The Sequel to this program can be found here!

Show 285a: Abortion: The Debate that won’t go Away (Call-In Special)

“Abortion – the Debate That Won’t Go Away” (Call-In Special)

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Events in the past two months have made it clear that despite it being thirty six years after Roe v Wade, the question of abortion continues to be as controversial as ever. On Sunday May 17th, President Obama suggested that we draft “a sensible conscience clause” presumably giving anti-abortion health care providers the right to refuse to perform an abortion. On May 31st, abortion provider George Tiller was shot dead while attending church.  On May 15th, a gallop poll found that 51 percent of those questioned call themselves “pro-life” on the issue of abortion.  On April 19 and 26th, our own WBAI featured two programs during which explicitly anti-abortion views were offered both by the guest and the producer as well. This Sunday ETFF will be taking your calls as we examine abortion, the debate that won’t go away.

Show 282: Thinking Critically: Zeitgeist I & II

Two-Hour Fund Drive Program – Thinking Critically: Zeitgeist I & II

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Zeitgeist, the Movie is a 2007 documentary film about “social myths”, including religion, 9/11 and the banking system. The sequel, Zeitgeist: Addendum, advocates a new technology-based social system influenced by the ideas of Jacque Fresco and the Venus Project.

A remastered version of the film was screened on November 10, 2007 at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood as part of a film festival held there (the 4th Annual “Artivist Film Festival”) where it won the “Best Feature” award in the “Artivist Spirit” category for feature-length documentaries. In 2008, “Zeitgeist Addendum”, the sequel, received the same award. These awards feature prominently in the two films’ promotional material but have failed to attract any interest in the media.

The Zeitgeist Movement is a worldwide grassroots movement advocating broad social advancements, most notably, the application of the Scientific Method for human social concern and overall well-being. One major goal of the movement is for modern global society to transition from a monetary based economy to a resource-based economy.

PS: As of 2008, the director of the films, Peter Joseph, has backed down from the 9/11 claims made in the first film but still advocates for both films’ take on the Federal Reserve, Capitalism, Religion and Technology.

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

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

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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 261a: “Beyond the ‘New Atheism’: Religion and Politics Worldwide”

Part 1 of 2 of “Beyond the ‘New Atheism’: Religion and Politics Worldwide” w/ Ronald Inglehart and David Sloan Wilson.

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Seminal thinkers of the nineteenth century — Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud — all predicted that religion would gradually fade in importance and cease to be significant with the emergence of industrial society. The belief that religion was dying became the conventional wisdom in the social sciences during most of the twentieth century.

During the last decade, however, the secularization thesis has experienced the most sustained challenge in its long history. Critics point to multiple indicators of religious health and vitality today, from the continued popularity of churchgoing in the United States, to the emergence of New Age spirituality in Western Europe, the surge of fundamentalist movements and Islamic parties in the Muslim world, the evangelical revival sweeping through Latin America, and the widespread ethno-religious conflicts in international affairs.

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Show 258: The Scientific World View and Its Enemies

2-Hour Fund Drive Special w/Ann Druyan and Dan Agin

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“The Scientific World View and Its Enemies”

Global Warming is the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.

Evolution and Darwinism are seriously flawed and thus alternatives must be taught in schools across the nation.

Humans walked with Dinosaurs.

“Alternative medicines” are scientifically sound, but scientific medicine is bogus.

Genetically engineered food will kill us.

Pharmaceutical companies have your best interests in mind.

Humans are born lazy, greedy, selfish and violent … so a powerful state, war, and market capitalism best fits our nature.

Evolutionary Psychology is good science.

There is such a thing as race, and some races are smarter than others.

Welcome to the ideologies of thousands of Americans in the 21st Century; the Age of Reason seems to have taken a wrong step somewhere, and filling the void are fundamentalist religions, New-Age healthcare, techno-phobia, governmental manipulation, and corporate capitalist greed. Science and the scientific method have been the first casualties in this new century, and each of us will be the second, third, and so forth.

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Show 222: Carolyn Porco – Can Science replace Religion?

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Does the awe and wonder generated by our scientific endeavors provide a sufficient alternative for the role which religion plays in people’s lives?Our guest this Sunday will be Dr. Carolyn Porco, Senior Research Scientist at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and Director of the Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations. The Cassini space mission has enabled us to see images of Saturn and it’s moons which are breath taking and elevates the question of the possible existence of extraterrestrial life to new heights.

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