March 29, 2008 – Special Guest: Author Susan Jacoby
The show starts with excerpts from Richard Dawkin’s television special The Root of All Evil(?) A title Dawkins goes to great lengths to disavow every time the subject comes up. His words? “Religion is the root of a great many evils, but it’s not the root of all evil.” I think I’m quoting accurately. The program can be purchased from the FFRF online store; this was announced three weeks ago during the broadcast of Dawkins’ interview on Freethought Radio.
The Pagan pulpit deals with Bible passages that slander the unbelievers. Sticks and stones.
Susan Jacoby is a very engaging speaker. She was interviewed concerning her latest book, The Age of American Unreason. Her opinion is one that I generally find interesting, even if I don’t agree with it. The same mass media that she decries, I find very useful for informing myself. It’s all in what you watch and listen to, and how you filter it (for instance, if you think Rush Limbaugh is a news source, you’re one of the problems; if you would rather watch Dancing With the Stars instead of Dirty Jobs, you are also one of the problems) I was listening to infotainment on my Treo when I was listening to the Freethought Radio podcast while out on my walk. Yes, the dumbing down of America is disturbing. Yes, media has something to answer for in this. No, denying children access to television and their iPods is not going to remedy this situation.
The Montessori school that my children first attended had a hang up when it came to technology. They were certain that children should not be exposed to screens. Television screens. Computer screens. It was a constant point of controversy between myself and the school. I have a word for people who are irrationally afraid of technology. I call them Luddites. This, of course, did not go over well at the school.
Her example of the attacks on Barack Obama by Clinton and others because he “speaks too good” are very telling points when it comes to the dumbing down of America (I blame the schools) what to do about it remains an open question.
March 31, 2007 – Religious Dogma that Kills Kids
Rita Swan was the guest. Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty is her advocacy group. Over 40 states have laws on the books that give exemptions to parents and religious advisers who allow children to suffer and die because of religious belief.
Rita Swan’s story of why she is involved in this issue is worth the 40 minutes of time it takes to listen to this podcast.
The episode of Babylon 5 named Believers took up this issue several years ago. I bring this up because the subject is not nearly as clear cut as one might think. It’s related to many other issues surrounding the subject of children, and it really amounts to “how do you protect children from their own parents without turning the state into everyones parent?” I think the route suggested by Rita Swan is probably the proper middle way approach. Hold the parents accountable for a child’s death due to medical neglect. Render unto Caesar applies to these situations; whether your child dies because of your imperfect faith, or because diseases really do exist, your failure to do you duty by your child should be your responsibility.
Dan’s Sunday Morning Blues rounds up the episode on a lighter note, and Freethinkers Almanac brings it to a close.