Atheists Talk

Radio with a frankly atheist perspective.

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"Believing Bullshit" Stephen Law on Atheists Talk #143, November 27, 2011

Stephen Law (Oxford, England) is a senior lecturer in philosophy at Heythrop College, University of London; provost for the Centre for Inquiry UK; and the editor of Think: Philosophy for Everyone (a journal of the Royal Institute of Philosophy). He is the author of numerous books for adults as well as children, including The Greatest Philosophers, Companion Guide to Philosophy, The War for Children's Minds, and Really, Really Big Questions, among other works. His latest book, for adults, is Believing Bullshit: How Not to Get Sucked into an Intellectual Black Hole.

Wacky and ridiculous belief systems abound. Members of the Heaven's Gate suicide cult believed they were taking a ride to heaven on board a UFO. Muslim suicide bombers expect to be greeted after death by 72 heavenly virgins. And many fundamentalist Christians insist the entire universe is just 6,000 years old.

Of course it's not only cults and religions that promote bizarre beliefs. Significant numbers of people believe that aliens built the pyramids, that the Holocaust never happened, and that the World Trade Center was brought down by the US government.

How do such ridiculous views succeed in entrenching themselves in the minds of sane, intelligent, college-educated people and turn them into the willing slaves of claptrap? How, in particular, do the true believers manage to convince themselves that they are the rational, reasonable ones and that everyone else is deluded?

Believing Bullshit identifies eight key mechanisms that can transform a set of ideas into a psychological flytrap. Philosopher Stephen Law suggests that, like the black holes of outer space, from which nothing, not even light, can escape, our contemporary cultural landscape contains numerous intellectual black-holes—belief systems constructed in such a way that unwary passers-by can similarly find themselves drawn in. While such self-sealing bubbles of belief will most easily trap the gullible or poorly educated, even the most intelligent and educated of us are potentially vulnerable. Some of the world's greatest thinkers have fallen in, never to escape.

Listen on Sunday as we discuss the book with Professor Law and try to avoid being bleeped by the engineer.

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Atheists Talk is produced with funding from the Minnesota Atheists and the Humanists of Minnesota. We also wish to thank Q. Cumbers restaurant for purchasing on-air advertising and for providing a great place to eat and gather. This radio program is put together by dedicated volunteers and the generous donations of listeners. If you are able to help with a donation please consider doing so at our Radio Fund page.

 

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Listen to AM 950 KTNF on Sunday at 9 a.m. Central to hear Atheists Talk, produced by Minnesota Atheists. Stream live online. Call in to the studio: 952-946-6205, or send an e-mail to radio@mnatheists.org during the live show.

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Shawn Lawrence Otto on Atheists Talk #142, November 20, 2011

This week on Atheists Talk, hosted by Stephanie Zvan, Greg Laden will interview author Shawn Otto.

Shawn Lawrence Otto has just launched his book, Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America, a richly documented and well-reasoned analysis of modern science denialism, especially addressing climate change. Shawn notes that scientists are inherently apolitical in their work, but that science itself is always political, and ties this important observation into recent patterns of partisan maneuvering, questionable journalistic ethics even among the upper echelon of the fourth estate, and religious distortion of scientific findings and science-based policy making.

Join us on air for what is guaranteed to be a lively and enlightening conversation, and then join us at Q. Cumbers for brunch. If you bring a copy of Shawn Otto's book and a pen, you can get it signed!

We would also like to note that this Sunday's Q. Cumbers brunch will be also be a meet-up of a different kind. There will be at least three FTB.com (Freethought Blogs) bloggers at the brunch, Stephanie, Greg, and coming down from Canada with his wife Jodi, Jason.

Shawn Lawrence Otto's website is here.

Atheists Talk is produced with funding from the Minnesota Atheists and the Humanists of Minnesota. We also wish to thank Q. Cumbers restaurant for purchasing on-air advertising and for providing a great place to eat and gather. This radio program is put together by dedicated volunteers and the generous donations of listeners. If you are able to help with a donation please consider doing so at our Radio Fund page.


SUBSCRIBE TO THE iTunes PODCAST
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Write a review of Atheists Talk

Listen to AM 950 KTNF on Sunday at 9 a.m. Central to hear Atheists Talk, produced by Minnesota Atheists. Stream live online. Call in to the studio: 952-946-6205, or send an e-mail to radio@mnatheists.org during the live show.

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Reason Rally 2012 and American Atheists National Convention with David Silverman on Atheists Talk #141, November 13, 2011.

Steve Petersen and August Berkshire interview David Silverman, President of American Atheists, about the Reason Rally 2012, to be held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Saturday, March 24 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Reason Rally is endorsed and will have speakers from most of the nation’s leading national freethought organizations, including the American Humanist Association, Atheist Alliance of America, Camp Quest, Center for Inquiry, Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, Secular Coalition for America, Secular Student Alliance, Society for Humanistic Judaism, Stiefel Freethought Foundation, The Brights, James Randi Educational Foundation, Richard Dawkins Foundation, and the United Coalition of Reason. Featured speakers include Richard Dawkins, Greta Christina, PZ Myers, Taslima Nasrin, James Randi, Hemant Mehta, Sean Faircloth, and Jamila Bey.

The following two days, March 25-26, 2012, American Atheists will hold their annual convention in Bethesda, MD. We will discuss each of these events and more. Our host for this program will be Brianne Bilyeu.

Related Links

Atheists Talk is produced with funding from the Minnesota Atheists and the Humanists of Minnesota. We also wish to thank Q. Cumbers restaurant for purchasing on-air advertising and for providing a great place to eat and gather. This radio program is put together by dedicated volunteers and the generous donations of listeners. If you are able to help with a donation please consider doing so at http://mnatheists.org/join-and-donate/radio-fund

 

SUBSCRIBE TO THE iTunes PODCAST 
SUBSCRIBE TO THE STANDARD RSS FEED
Write a review of Atheists Talk

Listen to AM 950 KTNF on Sunday at 9 a.m. Central to hear Atheists Talk, produced by Minnesota Atheists. Stream live online. Call in to the studio: 952-946-6205, or send an e-mail to radio@mnatheists.orgduring the live show.

 

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"50 Voices of Disbelief" Russell Blackford on Atheists Talk #140, November 6, 2011

50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists presents a unique and thought-provoking collection of original essays that address personal disbelief in a higher power . Drawn from an international cast of professionals in the fields of academia, science, literature, media and politics, contributors offer carefully considered statements of why they reject the idea of a deity governing the universe and human affairs. Several essays also address such issues as the social role of religion and its alternatives. The responses feature a stunning diversity of viewpoints and tone, ranging from rigorous philosophical arguments to highly personal — at times even whimsical — accounts of how each of these notable thinkers have come to reject religion in their lives. Whether you're a believer or not, 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists offers an intellectually stimulating journey into the possibilities for rational and reasonable people everywhere to live without the crutch of religion.

Join editor Russell Blackford as we discuss the book and why is was needed.

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Atheists Talk is produced with funding from the Minnesota Atheists, the Humanists of Minnesota, and the generous support of our members and donors. We also wish to thank Q. Cumbers restaurant for purchasing on-air advertising and for providing a great place to eat and gather.

Interview by Rachel Reiva, and hosted by Stephanie Zvan.

 

SUBSCRIBE TO THE iTunes PODCAST

Listen to AM 950 KTNF on Sunday at 9 a.m. Central to hear Atheists Talk, produced by Minnesota Atheists. Stream live online. Call in to the studio: 952-946-6205, or send an e-mail to radio@mnatheists.org during the live show.

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