Atheists Talk

Radio with a frankly atheist perspective.

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"50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True", Guy P. Harrison on Atheists Talk #186, Sunday, September 23, 2012

When journalist and teacher Guy P. Harrison writes about irrational certainties, he tries to do so in a way that respects the believer but challenges the belief. When he takes away a comforting or fascinating idea, he tries to leave some of the wonder of science in its place. He brought both these approaches to bear in his most recent book, 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True.

From the publisher's description:

Maybe you know someone who swears by the reliability of psychics or who is in regular contact with angels. Or perhaps you're trying to find a nice way of dissuading someone from wasting money on a homeopathy cure. Or you met someone at a party who insisted the Holocaust never happened or that no one ever walked on the moon.

How do you find a gently persuasive way of steering people away from unfounded beliefs, bogus cures, conspiracy theories, and the like? Longtime skeptic Guy P. Harrison shows you how in this down-to-earth, entertaining exploration of commonly held extraordinary claims.

A veteran journalist, Harrison has not only surveyed a vast body of literature, but has also interviewed leading scientists, explored "the most haunted house in America," frolicked in the inviting waters of the Bermuda Triangle, and even talked to a "contrite Roswell alien."

Harrison is not out simply to debunk unfounded beliefs. Wherever possible, he presents alternative scientific explanations, which in most cases are even more fascinating than the wildest speculation. For example, stories about UFOs and alien abductions lack good evidence, but science gives us plenty of reasons to keep exploring outer space for evidence that life exists elsewhere in the vast universe. The proof for Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster may be nonexistent, but scientists are regularly discovering new species, some of which are truly stranger than fiction.

Stressing the excitement of scientific discovery and the legitimate mysteries and wonder inherent in reality, Harrison invites readers to share the joys of rational thinking and the skeptical approach to evaluating our extraordinary world.

Guy joins us this Sunday by phone to discuss his book.

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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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"Atheism and the Case Against Christ", Matt McCormick on Atheists Talk #185, September 16, 2012

This show was originally set to air July 22, 2012 but had to be rescheduled.

Can we prove atheism? Can we prove that no god exists? According to one school of thought, the answer is "No", because we can't absolutely prove a negative. Philosopher Matthew McCormick, however, considers this standard to be unrealistic. It isn't the standard we apply for any other question that influences how we live our lives. Why should we treat it as the standard for accepting atheism?

In his soon-to-be-released book, McCormick lays out the case for atheism along multiple lines of argument. From the publisher's description:

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Read more: "Atheism and the Case Against Christ", Matt McCormick on Atheists Talk #185, September 16, 2012

"Candidate Without a Prayer" Herb Silverman on Atheists Talk #184, Sunday, September 9th, 2012

These days, Herb Silverman is largely known as the president and founder of the Secular Coalition of America. Before he reached that point, however, he already had a storied past. From a young Jewish boy who took his teachers of Talmudic studies seriously when they told him to think and seek to a gubernatorial candidate in the South who simultaneously ran a campaign and a court case for the right to campaign, Silverman has led anything but a dull life.

In Silverman's recent book, Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt, he shares his interesting story with us. From the publisher's description:

In this deeply revealing and engaging autobiography, Herb Silverman tells his iconoclastic life story. He takes the reader from his childhood as an Orthodox Jew in Philadelphia, where he stopped fasting on Yom Kippur to test God's existence, to his adult life in the heart of the Bible Belt, where he became a legendary figure within America's secular activist community and remains one of its most beloved leaders. Never one to shy from controversy, Silverman relates many of his high-profile battles with the Religious Right, including his decision to run for governor of South Carolina to challenge the state's constitutional provision that prohibited atheists from holding public office. Candidate Without a Prayer offers an intimate portrait of a central player in today's increasingly heated culture wars. It will be sure to charm both believers and nonbelievers alike, and will lead all those who care about the separation of church and state to give thanks.

This Sunday, he will join us on air to share his story with all.

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 our Radio Fund page.

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.org during the live show.

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Teresa MacBain on Atheists Talk #183, Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

Former pastor Teresa MacBain doesn't appear to have ever done anything the easy way. When she felt called to preach, she had to leave her preacher father's conservative denomination, which would not allow a woman to preach, and publicly profess values he preached. She became a pastor in a denomination that nominatively welcomed women in the priesthood but did not actually support them.

Then MacBain began to have doubts. Instead of taking the simpler route of denying them, she attempted to reconcile her faith with the contradictory religion in front of her. When her searching led her to atheism, she didn't hide this from herself. Eventually, she chose not to hide it from others, even though leaving her church meant leaving behind many of the programs she had set up to pursue her passion for social justice.

Nor did MacBain come out quietly, allowing friends and family to adjust before she had to deal with her whole world knowing she was an atheist. She came out on stage this June at the American Atheists national convention, with substantial press coverage. And finally, after leaving preaching behind, MacBain has taken on the task of public relations for one of the most hated atheist organizations in the U.S.

Join us this Sunday as we talk to Teresa MacBain about her remarkable--but never easy--journey and what lies ahead for her.

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
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.org during the live show.

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