FFrF Radio: Third Week of December

Podcast Link.
December 15, 2007Recent, successful state/church litigants

Scary Mitt Romney. Just listen to the speech. Sheesh.
…And I thought Huckabee was a religious fruitcake.

More talk about court successes. Not the kind of seasonal fare I’m after.

2006 Archive episode.
December 16, 2006Reason’s Greetings!

Theocracy alert features an expose on “Christian Embassy” within the military, which violates several rules governing the military.

Tom Flynn (the guest) is your average Christmas humbug (I’ve met several over the years. If I didn’t have children, I might have become one) I have a hard time paying attention to these types of people. Although he does go into the various myths that contributed to the Jesus birth myth that is tied to Christmas (Secular Solstice Holiday) it’s not anything that the average student of the holiday probably hasn’t heard before. If you haven’t, give it a listen.

FFrF Radio: The Golden Compass

Podcast link.
December 8, 2007The Golden Compass Rumpus!

The title says it all. I thought Phillip Pullman was going to come unglued when Dan Barker asserted that the books were not children’s books. I understand where both of them are coming from. Having heard several reviewers state that they did not think the film (and books) were suitable for children, I’m sure Pullman was anxious not to feed the fire of “inappropriateness” that seems to follow so many books that are popular with children these days (the Harry Potter series, just to name one) which lead him to object that the books were “most certainly children’s books”.

But I tend to agree more with Barker’s assertion that they are not children’s books; not because they are inappropriate for children, but because they are not written for children alone. The movie definitely appeals to adult audiences as well as children. I was there opening weekend myself, and I have nothing but praise for the film.

As far as story content goes, it’s hands down the best of the epic fantasy films I’ve seen (and I think I’ve seen all of them so far) and the effects are also top-notch. I can’t think of anything that I would object to, no matter the age of the audience viewing it.

Having now read the book The Golden Compass, I think I can see why hard core fans would object to portions of the film. The film doesn’t strictly follow the book. It doesn’t betray the spirit of the book (the way that Peter Jackson’s The Two Towers destroys one of the central characters, Faramir, of Lord of the Rings) but still, there are significant departures from the book by the film. I’d have a hard time saying one is better than the other, though. I think this is a good example of a Boovie.

2006 Archive episode.
December 9, 2006From “Latter-day Saint” to “Latter-day Ain’t”: Steve Benson

Steve Benson’s first appearance on the show. All of his appearances have been worth listening to. In this episode he speaks at length about his separation from the Mormon church. His description of the origins of the Mormon church is priceless.

Free MP3 download of “Salt Lake City Blues”

FFrF Radio: Breaking the Spell of Religion

Podcast link.
December 1, 2007Guests: Michael Newdow & Nebraska Sen. Ernie Chambers

It’s funny. I recently read an article from some humanist group or other asserting that there weren’t any Atheist groups supporting the lawsuit that wanted to remove under god from the pledge of allegiance. Remove the pledge?

I found the interview with Ernie Chambers far more interesting. Anyone who is so unpopular with the powers that be that they pass a law targeting him specifically…

…I just want to shake that guys hand. Good luck to you, Mr. Chambers.

2006 Archive episode.
December 2, 2006Breaking the Spell of Religion

Introduction of the concept of ‘bright‘ by the guest Prof. Daniel C. Dennett (author of the book by the same title) His approach to religion as a societally important issue is quite thought provoking. Comparing sugar, music, alcohol and religion. There are natural reasons why all of these things are a part of human history. Religion exists because medicine and ritual were originally combined, and those who responded positively to ritual responded better to primitive medicine, which lead to a better survival rate. We are genetically programmed to respond to ritual through selection pressure.

Stephen Weinberg excerpt, from a speech at the Salk institute.

Freethinkers Almanac features Samuel Clements.

FFrF Radio: Atheist in an Iraqi Foxhole

Podcast link.
November 24, 2007Atheist in an Iraqi Foxhole

Theocracy Alert. Pat Robertson. Can you find anything to like about this guy? (Answer: not really) Rick Perry campaigning for Rudy Giuliani. That worked out well. Now we just need to get rid of Perry.

Freethinkers Almanac. The King of Ragtime – Scott Joplin, Jodi Foster & Voltaire. Want more info? Check the calendar.

Jeremy Hall finally gets on the air (Mikey Weinstein spoke in his place previously) Here’s this guy, putting his life on the line for his country, and he has to be given a body guard because of threats against his life from inside our own military; all because he’s an Atheist and simply wants to talk to other Atheists where he’s stationed.

Land of the Free?

Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger.

Abbie Hoffman

2006 Archive episode.
November 25, 2006Ron Reagan on Stem-cell Research

Elton John on religion. Salk Conference.

Ron Reagan. This episode reveals that much of what was said on the first nationally aired episode was contained in this previous interview. This interview seems a bit more fresh, almost like he’s given this interview too many times since this aired.

The interview is about a lot more than stem cells.

Freethinkers Almanac. Lydia Maria Child & Voltaire.

FFrF Radio: Third Week of November

Podcast link.
November 17, 2007A Freethought Potpourri

Katha Pollitt’s column Onward, Secular Soldiers which was aired this week, struck a positive note with me. Both her observation that skepticism seems to be on the rise, and her criticism of the Democrats for continuing to pander to the religious right were things that I could agree with.

Pastafarianism has suffered its first split. The Vegetarian and meatball sects have been unable to reconcile their differences and have split the FSM religion asunder.

2006 Archive episode.
November 18, 2006From Priest to Atheist

The discussion of why Dan Barker and the guest this week, Tom Reed, left their respective jobs in christian ministry really is reminiscent of why I gave up religion; I took it too seriously, and as it is nothing more than mythology, it couldn’t stand up to that kind of scrutiny. I least I never considered become a preacher, myself.

FFrF Radio: Letting Go of God

Podcast Link.
November 10, 2007“Letting Go of God”

Another good interview with Julia Sweeney; this time concerning the upcoming movie made from her show “Letting Go of God“.

I neglected to mention the two episodes in the archive in which you can learn more about the hosts. Two of the earliest episodes feature one of the co-hosts interviewing the other. Both are memorable. One is Losing Faith in Faith in which we hear more about the history of the former pastor Dan Barker. The other is Religion’s Harm to Women and the history of Annie Laurie Gaylor. If I had to pick my favorite of the two, Ms. Gaylor is a more interesting interview subject (sorry Dan) although there is much to learn from Dan’s trip from believer to non-believer.

2006 Archive episode.
November 11, 2006 Physician-Assisted Suicide

Physician-Assisted Suicide is an episode that also struck a chord with me. An interview with Betty Rollin concerning Oregon’s physician assisted suicide law. If you don’t have a say in how your life ends, whose life is it anyway? Betty Rollin’s mother was dying, and thusly she has a very strong opinion on the subject herself. Author of “First You Cry” and “Final Wishes”; if you’ve ever had a loved one suffering from a long term terminal illness, then you’ll probably have an interest in this episode.

Editor’s note: Freethought Radio compilation posts. I’m not going to bother doing much to these. I will remove extraneous old links to my blogspot articles, but I have not checked links that go other places including the links to the podcast episodes themselves. I bought the Letting Go of God audiobook because of Julia Sweeney’s appearance on this program. This purchase is why I have an Audible account today.

FFrF Radio: Values Voters Summit Dissected

Podcast link.
November 3, 2007Dissecting “Values Voters” Summit

This episode hit a cord with me. I’ve long thought that we allow the Religious Reich to hijack that bus at our own risk. We all have values, and I resent the implication that only religious people have them.

Here’s a link to a column on Obama by Michelle Goldberg (a 2006 interviewee) on the same subject…

2006 Archive episode.
November 4, 2006Church Referendum Electioneering

This episode was largely about the Wisconsin Gay Marriage ban, which passed. So there isn’t much to recommend there.

FFrF Radio: Fourth Week of October

Podcast link.
October 27, 2007Guests: Steve Benson & Robert R. Tiernan

The grandson of Ezra Taft Benson (the former head of the Mormon church) is an Atheist. Gotta love that irony. I can’t say that he’s my favorite political cartoonist (I have a soft spot for local artist Ben Sargent) but he’s definitely good. Steve Benson @ Arizona Republic

Good interview.

2006 Archive episode.
October 28, 2006Author Ann Druyan, on Carl Sagan and Religion

Interview with Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan’s widow, without a doubt the best episode in the 2006 year (but then I am just a bit of a Carl Sagan fan) discussing the volume of his work that she edited and recently released entitled The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God.

Her recollections of Carl on the program were priceless.

No Strings Attached

from the latest DownsizeDC dispatch…

State, county, and municipal governments were not intended to be administrative districts of a powerful national government. They are supposed to be self-governing and accountable to the people.

We don’t see that today. Where the federal government does not have direct control, it provides grants to state and local governments. And the grants come with strings attached. To receive the money, governments must comply with federal requirements.

read more | digg story

They point out that problems with federal mandates have bee highlighted in a specific television program recently, but that’s hardly an isolated event. A few weeks back there was a great episode of Boston Legal, dealing with a civil case between a teenage girl and her gov’t run school; she was suing them because the mandated abstinence only program left her vulnerable to contracting STD’s.

[The boondoggle that is the abstinence only programs in our gov’t run schools has been the subject of discussion over at the CATO institute as well as FFrF (that unholy radio show) CATO has also had a lot to say about mandates, federal interference in the schools, and the complete ineffectiveness of NCLB]

Click the ‘read more’ link for the weekly update of damage inflicted by your congress critters.

FFrF Radio: Atheist Nobel Laureates

Podcast link.
October 20, 2007Nobel Laureates & Atheism

It’s no surprise to me that a majority of Nobel Laureates are Atheists. I’m still not sure why a majority of the population isn’t.

2006 Archive episode.
October 21, 2006State/Church Entanglement Prevented and Secular Reasons Against the Death Penalty

Richard Dawkins on the Colbert Report:

“You can’t disprove the Flying Spaghetti Monster; You can’t disprove Thor with his hammer, you can’t disprove Zeus, or Poseidon. You’re an Atheist about all those gods. Everybody here is an Atheist about all those gods. Some of us just go one god further.”

Jean Gams was an interesting interview. It’s clear that the people who wanted to place a Christmas box angel in her city park saw the monument as a religious monument; but I have to say that angels have morphed over the years into fantasy creatures more than religious creatures (if they aren’t fantasy creatures, then why are the majority of the angels found in today’s works of art female, while the angels in scripture are predominantly male?) I daresay if a group wanted to place a (Invisible Pink) Unicorn monument on public property, someone would have a problem with that.

I think I’ve also blogged on the subject of the Death Penalty before, which was the subject of the second interview. The social costs are beside the point for me, it’s a philosophical issue.