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By training, Karen Stollznow is an Australian linguist with a background in history and anthropology. In addition, she has spent years writing and talking about pseudoscience and the paranormal. All of this means that when she turns her attention to American foibles of belief, the results should be clear and devastating. This was true in her last book, Haunting America: The Truth Behind Some of America's "Most Haunted" Places. It is just as true in her newest book, God Bless America: Strange and Unusual Religious Beliefs and Practices in the United States.
Don't worry, this isn't just some foreigner poking fun at those daft Yanks. Dr. Stollznow has made the U.S. her home for many years, and her fondness shows through. Though she forthrightly points her fingers at fraud and other injuries to the followers of these beliefs, she demonstrates sympathy for the believers as well. From fundamentalist, polygamous Mormons to Scientologists who believe that the universe started with an alien war, she draws parallels between these "weird" religions and religions that are fully respectable in our current society. Besides, what religious groups didn't start small and emerge from fringe beliefs?
This Sunday, Dr. Stollnow joins us to talk about her new book and some of the American religious practices that fall well outside the mainstream.
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Author Guy P. Harrison, honored guest of Atheists Talk, returns once again to discuss science, skepticism and critical thinking. His recently released book, Think: Why You Should Question Everything, is an easy to read work, accessible to learners of all ages and experience. In the book he defines what skepticism is and isn't and devotes an entire chapter to the concept of evidence. Harrison challenges readers to explore the differences between beliefs and believers, science and superstition, skepticism and intelligence, and simply, to think.
We hope you'll join us this Sunday for the interview.Add a comment
It has been a while since palaeontologist Donald Prothero visited us on Atheists Talk, and he's been busy. We have some catching up to do. Just this summer, Prothero released two books to help us sort out good information and good science from poor information and pseudoscience. In Abominable Science!, he and Daniel Loxton sort through the nature and the quality of the evidence for and against creatures like Bigfoot and Nessie. They highlight the differences between science and pseudoscience and examine the will to believe.
In Reality Check, Prothero looks at science denialism and the topics that hit closer to home. While a belief in Nessie won't hurt most people, denial of the scientific consensus behind childhood vaccination or global warming has a much more serious effect. Prothero lays out the motives and methods of denialists.
This Sunday, he joins us to talk about both books.
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Philosopher Russell Blackford and bioethicist Udo Schüklenk are back with another book on atheism, 50 Great Myths About Atheism. From the publisher's description:
Tackling a host of myths and prejudices commonly leveled at atheism, this captivating volume bursts with sparkling, eloquent arguments on every page. The authors rebut claims that range from atheism being just another religion to the alleged atrocities committed in its name.
An accessible yet scholarly commentary on hot-button issues in the debate over religious belief
Teaches critical thinking skills through detailed, rational argument
Objectively considers each myth on its merits
Includes a history of atheism and its advocates, an appendix detailing atheist organizations, and an extensive bibliography
Explains the differences between atheism and related concepts such as agnosticism and naturalism
Russell Blackford joins us this Sunday to talk about the book.
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