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Philosophical and Religious Issues
- Talk of the Nation:
"Sagan on Pseudoscience" May 3, 1996.
Millions of people are fascinated by fantastic tales of alien
abductions, faces on Mars, crystals, channeling, and crop circles. In this hour of Science
Friday, Ira Flatow talks with world-renowned scientist Carl Sagan about the rising
popularity of pseudoscience and the importance of critical thinking.
- Talk of the Nation:
Science Friday: "The Role of the Skeptic" June 21, 1996.
What does it mean to be a skeptic? Find out as Science
Friday broadcasts live from the first World Skeptics Congress in Buffalo, New York.
We'll discuss the challenge of thinking critically in a world awash in faulty facts
and misinformation with noted guests Eugenie Scott, Executive Director National
Center for Science Education, Kendrick Frazier, Editor of the Skeptical
Inquirer, Joe Nickell, Senior Research Fellow of The Committee for the
Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, and Ray Hyman, Professor of
Psychology at the University of Oregon. (HTML)
- Talk of the Nation:
Science Friday: "Media and Misinformation" June 21, 1996.
Switch on the TV and you're more likely to find a program on
ESP than on astronomy. Why the media obsession with pseudoscience? Misinformation and
the media this hour, live from the first World Skeptics Congress in Buffalo, New York.
Join guests Paul Kurtz (Chairman of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of
Claims of the Paranormal), John Paulos (Professor of Mathematics at Temple University),
Milton Rosenberg (Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Chicago), and
broadcast journalist Phillip Adams as they discusses skepticism and misinformation in
popular media. (HTML)
- Talk of the Nation:
"God, Belief, and Reason" October 4, 1999.
Revolutions in science and industry, and wars on a massive
scale this century led many in the West to question their faith. But despite continuing
scientific advances and the persistence of man's inhumanity, recent polls indicate that
belief in God is surprisingly prevalentand that for most people, belief in God
has more to do with reason than with faith. Join Melinda Penkava and guests, Michael
Shermer and Fuz Rana, for a look at God, belief, and the scientific mind.
- Talk of the Nation: "Atheism and Morality" October 5, 1998.
Atheists don't believe in God. Concepts like sin,
atonement and forgiveness have little meaning for them. So when President Clinton says he'll
seek spiritual redemption, what does this mean for those who consider God a non-entity? And
how do they react when a national debate on morality takes on strong religious overtones?
What DO atheists believe in? Join host Lynn Neary for a roundtable discussion on atheism in
America. Featuring Timothy Gorski (M.D. and Pastor of the North Texas Church
of Freethought), Margeret Downey (President of the Anti-Discrimination Support Network
and President of the Freethought Society of Greater PA), and David Silverman (Director,
NJ State Office of the American Atheists). (HTML)
Web Radio Show: "Interview with Robert Price" December 14, 1999.
T. J. Walker talks with Robert Price, author of Beyond
Born Again and a member of the Jesus Seminar. Price discusses the historical
Jesus and the recent cover-story for Time magazine.
Web Radio Show: "Interview with Michael Shermer" December 1, 1999.
T. J. Walker talks with Michael Shermer, director of
the Skeptics Society, publisher of Skeptic
magazine, author of such books as How We Believe, and host of the superb
"Skeptics Lecture Series" at the California Institute of Technology.
- US News: "Carl Sagan's Legacy" March, 1996.
Astronomer Carl Sagan's book
The Demon-Haunted World
argues for science over superstition. One of the best-known popularizers of scientific
thought pleads for more public understanding, better science teaching and an appreciation
of technology's gifts a message made especially poignant by his own struggle with
a rare bone-marrow disease. Astronomer Carl Sagan, a gifted storyteller who extolled and
explored the grandeur and mystery of the universe in lectures, books and an acclaimed TV
series, died 1996 of pneumonia after a two-year battle with bone marrow disease. He was
- Ideas and Issues: "James (the Amazing) Randi" March 21, 1999.
Hugh LaFollette interviews noted skeptic and debunker of the
irrational, James Randi. Discussed on the program is skepticism, critical thinking, atheism,
and his James Randi Education Foundation. James Randi has
an international reputation as a magician and escape artist, but today he is best known as the
world's most tireless investigator and demystifier of paranormal and pseudoscientific claims.
On this theme of critical thinking, Randi argues that there exist no cogent reason to believe
that a God exist, and particularly how the argument from design fails to establish
philosophical theism. (HTML)
- T.J. Walker Show: "Interview of Jeffery Jay Lowder" July 12, 1999.
T.J. Walker talks to Lowder about the history and purpose of
Internet Infidels, Inc.; the meanings of terms 'atheism' and 'agnosticism'; Pat Robertson;
whether we should ignore the Radical Religious Right; Margaret Downey's battle against
discrimination by the Boy Scouts of America; whether having "In God We Trust" printed on
all U.S. currency really matters; what the Secular Web has to offer; how the Internet
offers freethinkers a level playing field in the marketplace of ideas; the fact that
nontheists are the last minority in the USA which it is politically correct to hate; how
freethinkers can support the Secular Web.
- Talk of the Nation: "Religion and Science" January 29, 1999.
Does religion stop at the lab bench? Does science stop at
the altar? Are "faith" and "reason" mutually exclusive? This hour we'll discuss science,
philosophy, and the philosophy of science. Where has scientific thought come from in the
past few hundred years? Where is it going? And who gets to ask these questions, anyway?
Join guest Adolf Grunbaum (Andrew Mellon Professor of Philosophy of Science, Chairman of
The Center for the Philosophy of Science, and Research Professor of Psychiatry at the
University of Pittsburgh); and David F. Noble (the Professor of History at York
University, and Hixon-Riggs Professor, Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, California).
- KTTV Positively Texas: "Does God Exist?" October 2, 1998.
Bernard Leikind and Christian theist Jeffery Bringham
discuss the existence of God on KTVT's Positively Texas. The program originaly aired
on October 5th 1998, courtesy of the North Texas Church of Freethought.
- Glenn Mitchell Show:
"North Texas Church of Freethought" December 1, 1998.
For the second time since the North Texas Church of Freethought's
inception in 1995, NTCOF Members
were the guests for the full hour on KERA-FM's Glenn Mitchell Show, and once again the response
during and after the show was astounding. The appearance on December 1 by NTCOF Directors and
co-founders Dr. Tim Gorski and Mike Sullivan and Church Member Susan Menchaca lit up the phone
lines for the entire hour, and left host Mitchell delighted but not surprised with the excellent
response to the show. (HTML)
- The Connection:
with Christopher Lydon: "The God Problem" July 2000.
Ever since the Greeks, philosophy has been struggling with God.
St. Augustine of Hippo came to God's Truth by way of the pagan philosopher Plato. St. Thomas
Aquinas labored to show that there was no conflict between Aristotelian rationality and
Christian Truth. The Enlightenment, and most famously Nietzsche declared God dead. But
Philosophy keeps finding it necessary to re-invent him. Guests Hilary Putnam, Professor of
Philosophy at Harvard University, and Alvin Plantinga, Professor of Philosophy at Notre Dame
University, discuss philosophy and the problem of God.
Science Related Issues
Connection: with Christopher Lydon, "Science, Reason and Genetics" April 17, 2000.
The evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins says your genes
care about themselves, not about you. You're just a vehicle to make more genes. Some of
Richard Dawkins' many readers have asked him how he gets up in the morning knowing he is
nothing but a collection of selfish genes in an uncaring universe. But Richard Dawkins
wonders why people consider science so bleakly, thinking it robs life of warmth and worth.
To him, science is filled with wonder, beauty, and awe. Dawkins contends that when Newton
explained the prism, he didn't rob the rainbow of its mystery as the poet Keats complained,
he opened the door to the greater wonders of relativity and an expanding universe.
- Talk of the Nation: "Human Origins" May 9, 1997.
Recent discoveries by fossil scientists may provide the earliest
documented evidence of toolmaking, and push the origin of Homo sapiens back more than 400,000
years. In this hour of Science Friday, we'll talk about these latest findings and the evidence
for human evolution, with Donald Johanson, the paleoanthropologist who discovered the famous
Lucy skeleton in 1974. (HTML)
- Ideas and Issues: "Richard Dawkins on Evolution" May 4, 1997.
Hugh LaFollette interviews Oxford Zoologist Richard Dawkins.
On the program Professor Dawkins discusses some of the public's misunderstandings with the theory
of evolution, specifically how Darwin's mechanism of natural selection works, and how it can
properly account for the seemingly designed adaptations observed in the natural world.
- Ann On-line: "Gould's Full House" October 9, 1996.
Stephen Jay Gould talks to Ann Devlin about his book Full
House. On the program Gould proposes to explain why the prevalent view of "progress" in
popular evolutionary accounts is incorrect, and why it has been the simplest creatures
on earth (not humans) that have dominated the planet in the past, why they continue to
dominate our planet today, and will do so forever into the future.
Connection: with Christopher Lydon: "Finding Darwin's God" January 6, 2000.
At a moment when school boards in Kansas and elsewhere want to get
evolution out of the curriculum and would love to get God back in, Kenneth Miller makes no bones
about having it both ways: biology gives a much fuller account of God's methods and means than
the Book of Genesis did, he says; yet the God behind his Science, Ken Miller says, is every bit
as creative in the present as He was in the past. (HTML)
- Talk of the Nation: "The Politics of Evolution" August 16, 1999.
More than a decade ago, the Supreme Court ruled that states
could not compel the teaching of creationism in public schools. Since then Creationists
have adopted a new strategy: trying to keep Darwinism out rather than forcing creationism
into the curriculum. The strategy has recently paid off, as the Kansas Board of Education
voted to delete virtually all references to evolution in its curriculum last Wednesday.
Join Ray Suarez as he discusses the politics of teaching evolution with Russel Lewis,
Wayne Carlie and Stephen C. Meyer, professor of Philosophy at Whitworth College.
- Talk of the Nation:
Science Friday: "Scopes Trial 75th Anniversary" July 21, 2000.
In 1925, John Scopes was tried for teaching the theory of evolution
in a Tennessee public school. Join Ira Flatow and Pulitzer Prize winning author Edward Larson
in this hour for a look back at the trial on its 75th anniversary, and at the ongoing battle
over teaching evolution in the public schools. Plus, a talk with Kenneth Miller, author of the
recent book Finding Darwin's God (1999), and Michael Behe, author of Darwin's Black
Box (1996), as they debate the issue of Darwinism and the theory of "intelligent design."
- The Diane Rehm Show: "Evolution vs. Intelligent Design" April 18, 2001.
"The theory of evolution has been challenged by people who believe for religious
reasons that the creatures of the earth were made, not evolved. Today another group is
challenging evolutionary science. They say evolution isn't a scientifically sound theory,
and propose an intelligent design 'force' has been at work. Two experts discuss these
theories and their implications: Eugenie C. Scott (executive director of the National Center
for Science Education) and William Dembski (associate research professor at Baylor
- Talk of the Nation: "How and Why Species Form" October 4, 1996.
What does it take to make a new species? From finches in the
Galapagos Islands or fish in African lakes to fruit flies closer to home, we'll talk to
evolutionary biologists about how new species develop, and how advances in molecular biology
are helping scientists trace evolutionary pathways. It's the origins of species, in this hour
of Science Friday with guest Jerry Coyne, Professor of Ecology and Evolution at theUniversity
of Chicago, and Axel Meyer Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolution at the State University
of New York at Stony Brook. (HTML)
- Ideas and Issues: "In Defense of Evolution" April 25, 1996.
Hugh LaFollette talks to Niall Shanks, professor of philosophy at
East Tennessee State University. Professor Shanks discusses some of the misunderstandings of
Evolutionary Theory, evidence for common descent, how random mutation along with non-random
natural selection can produce the complexity observed in the natural world, the practical
applications derived from a Darwinian view of science, and numerous examples of 'poor design'
found in nature caused by the short-term benefit process of natural selection.
[ Duane Gish's comments ]
- Talk of the Nation: "Feathered Dinosaurs/Bird Origins" June 26, 1998.
This week, June 1998, an international team of scientists unveiled
what they say are two feathered dinosaursproving that birds evolved from dinosaurs.
However, other scientists aren't convinced that birds are living dinosaurs. In this hour,
we'll take a look at these new fossils, and what they tell us about the origin of birds. Join
Philip Currie, Larry Martin, and Pat Shipman as they debate the evolution of bird flight.
- Talk of the Nation: "Origin of Life" May 14, 1999.
Recent discoveries such as planets orbiting other stars,
a Martian meteorite that may harbor signs of life, and microbes living in seemingly inhospitable
places deep in the earth or the ocean, have made scientists reconsider their theories of
howand wherelife first emerged on our planet. In this hour, we'll talk about how
life may have originated on Earth. Featuring guests Paul Davies (Professor, Physics), Jay
Melosh (Planetary Sciences), and Michael Yarus (Molecular Biology).
- Talk of the Nation: Science Friday: "The Cambrian Explosion" March 7, 1997.
Guest Dr. Doug Erwin, a research paleobiologist and
Curator of the Burgess Shale Fossils at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of
Natural History in Washington, and Dr. David Jablonski, Professor of Paleobiology at the
University of Chicago, talk to Ira Flatow and callers about the Cambrian Explosion, the most
significant biological event in the history of multicellular life, a short period in
evolutionary history when all the basic body plans of living animals initially appeared.
- Ideas and Issues: "Evolution" September 26, 1999.
Hugh LaFollette interviews Gary Cziko (professor of Educational
Psychology, at University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana) on the issues of evolution, the
history of Darwinian theory, and the rise of Evolutionary Psychology. Cziko begins by
explaining the main sub-theories which make up modern-day Darwinism, with several examples,
and then moves on to how evolution has been used and can be used to explain human and animal
- Ideas and Issues:
"The Birth of Modern Science" September 12, 1999.
How did our
modern vision of the Universe come about? Hugh LaFollette interviews George Gale, professor of
Science and History (University of Missouri-Kansas City), who narrates with great charm, the
history and foundations of modern science from the teachings of Aristotle, to the work
of Copernicus, Kepler, Newton, to the biological theories of Darwin, up to the modern science
of geological plate-tectonics. (HTML)
- The Meta Library: "Evolution and Providence" June 2001.
In June of 2000 the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences
organized and hosted a workshop with the theme "Evolution and Providence." A panel was put
together representing a broad sampling of the various perspectives on creation, evolution
and divine-action. The participants included Michael Ruse, Stephen Meyer, Eugenie Scott,
Duane Gish, among various others. Also available from the Meta Library is an excellent discussion
between Michael Behe
and Kenneth Miller
taken from the "Interpreting Evolution" seminar at Haverford college, June 2001.
- Talk of the Nation:
"Intelligence Design" February 13, 2002.
Ohio public schools
are battling over how to teach the different views of the origin of life. Some educators
believe the theory of "Intelligent Design" deserves a place in the school curriculum because
it's a science. But critics say ID is not science at all. So, what is intelligent design?
Why do some educators find it so objectionable? Guest include
Michael Behe, David J. Haury,
Deborah Owens-Fink, and Ernan McMullen. (HTML)
- Talk of the Nation:
"Scientists and Faith" April 16, 1997.
Join host Melinda Penkava and guest Edward J. Larson, William
B. Provine, and Lawrence R. Doyle for a look at the sometimes harmonious, often tumultuous
relationship between Western science and religion. Despite 80 years of progress in science
a recent University of Georgia survey indicates that as many scientists believe in God today
as did earlier this century. Melinda talks with guests about why science and religion have
been deemed incompatible throughout history and how some scientists have managed to reconcile
work and faith. (HTML)
- Ann On-line: "The Whole Shebang" September 1, 1997.
Ann Devlin talks to Timothy Ferris about his book
The Whole Shebang: A
State-Of-The-Universe(S) Report. Ferris is the author of
Coming of Age in the Milky
Way, The Red
Limit, The Mind's
Sky, Galaxies, and other best-selling books on astronomy, physics, and the
history and philosophy of science. He has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the
National Book Award. A Guggenheim Fellow, he has twice received the science writing medals
of the American Institute of Physics and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
- Ann On-line: "From Lucy to Language" December 4, 1996.
Donald Johanson talks to host Ann Devlin about his newly
released and lavishly illustrated book From
Lucy to Language (1996). Discussed on the program, how we humans came to be, the tale
behind Johanson's discovery of the famed "Lucy" skeleton, as well as the current trends and
thinking in the field of paleoanthropology.
- National Geographic: "Footprints" August 14, 1997.
A trail of fossilized footprints left more than 100,000 years ago
by an anatomically modern human has been found on the shore of a South African lagoon. The
fossils, found in a sand-dune-turned-rock dated at 117,000 years ago, are the oldest known
footprints of an anatomically modern human. Lee Berger, paleoanthropologist at Johannesburg,
South Africa and David Roberts, geologist, Cape Town, South Africa discuss the fossils.
- Talk of the Nation: "Early Human Ancestors" May 30, 1997.
A group of Spanish scientists have announced that they've
found a new species of human beings. The 780,000 year old fossils may be those of some
of the earliest Europeans. In this hour of Science Friday, we'll talk about how this
could change our view of human evolution. We'll also discuss a recently published paper
by the late Carl Sagan. Plus, a look at comets that seem to be constantly pelting the
earth, bringing water and maybe some building blocks of life.
- Talk of the Nation: "Memes" May 20, 1999.
A meme is a idea or behavior one person can pass on to another.
Some scientists claim that memes act like genes, with the fittest surviving and interacting
to produce the peculiarities of human behavior. Can memetics help us understand complex
aspects of human nature and culture, or is it, as some have complained, "cocktail-party
science"? Join Ray Suarez and guests Richard Dawkins, Susan Blackmore, and Robert Wright
for a look at the controversy over memes.
- Talk of the Nation:
Science Friday: "Edward O. Wilson" November 15, 1996.
E.O. Wilson's contributions to science, and especially to
evolutionary biology, are invaluable. Join Ira Flatow with the man who, in his own
words, has "served as a close witness to fundamental changes in nature."
- All Things Considered: "Consilience" March 11,1998.
Robert speaks with Edward O. Wilson, Research Professor
and Honorary Curator of Entomology at Harvard University. Professor Wilson makes his
case for the notion that "a fundamental unity" is "underlying all forms of knowledge."
Robert and Professor Wilson discuss the meaning and implications of this
concept, which Wilson calls "consilience." In his new book,
The Unity of Knowledge (Published by Knopf) and an article in the March issue of
The Atlantic developed from the book, Wilson makes the case for a more holistic
approach to classifying knowledge, and for the rejection of postmodern ideas about the
fragmentation of reality and understanding. (HTML)
- Talk of the Nation:
Science Friday: "A Conversation with James D. Watson" June 2, 2000.
In April of 1953, the journal Nature published a very short
paper by two scientists, Francis Crick and James Watson. In that paper, the pair suggested a
structure for the DNA molecule which, they pointed out, "has novel features which are of
considerable biological interest." and the world hasn't been the same since.
- Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory: "Lecture by James D. Watson" November 2, 1999.
The discovery of the DNA double helix by Francis Crick and Jim
Watson was one of the greatest scientific discoveries of the twentieth century. It had
an impact far beyond biology. It had an impact on medicine through the development of clinical
genetics. It led to the development of a whole new industrybiotechnology. And through
these things the discovery has an impact on our lives and on society in general. This lecture
describes Dr. Watson's personal reminiscence of events that led up to the discovery of the
DNA double helix in the spring of 1953.
Separation of Church and State
- Talk of the Nation:
"The 10 Commandments in School" June 21, 1999.
A crime bill
approved by the House last Thursday contained a provision to allow states to post the Ten
Commandments in government buildings, including public schools. Conservatives argue young
people desperately need the moral lessons in the commandments, but many see this as a dangerous
violation of the divide between church and state. Join Ray Suarez and guests Barry Lynn, John
Eidsmoe, and Charles Moore, for a look the debate over the ten commandments.
- Ideas and Issues: "The Role of Religion in the Public Schools" November 8, 1998.
Hugh LaFollette interviews Barry Lynn, executive director of
Americans United. Lynn discusses the history of church-state
separation and the current efforts in the United States to usurp the constitutional principle.
Other topics discussed on the program include defining what "separation of church and state"
really means, issues like government sponsored prayer, official invocations at both football
games and graduation, and the future of state-church separation. (HTML)
- In Search of History: "Scopes Monkey Trial" 1998.
Here in this 20 minute clip, Stephen Jay Gould, Edward Larson,
and Phillip E. Johnson discuss the historic Scopes "Monkey" Trialfrom its influence,
characters, to its lasting cultural legacy. (See also Edward Larson's
Summer for the Gods.)
- Tom Leykis Show: "Freedom From Religion Foundation" 1995.
Audio from Dan Barker's appearance on the
Tom Leykis Show. Dan
talks to Tom and callers about his organization and the importance of defending the
separation of church and state. (17 Minutes.)
Web Radio Show: "Interview with Molleen Matsumura" November 1, 1999.
Church-State Activist and Outreach Director of the National
Center for Science Education (NCSE) Molleen Matsumura talks with T. J. Walker about her
experiences with the Creationist Right in public schools, the Discovery Institute's
attempt to dumb down science, and reports to us from the front lines of the
Web Radio Show: "Interview with Ed Buckner" January 31, 2000.
Ed Buckner of the Atlanta Freethought Society talks with T. J.
Walker about American politics, U.S. constitutional history, and his newly co-authored book
Support the Separation of State and Church.
- Northwestern University: "Supreme Court Oral Arguments"
Engel versus Vitale (1962)
U.S. Supreme Court case which forbade public schools to require the recitation of prayers.
Abington Township v. Schempp (1963)
Supreme Court case which prohibited any state law or school board to require that passages from the Bible
be read or that the Lordís Prayer be recited in the public schools at the beginning of each school day.
Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971)
Established the three part test for determining if an action of government violates First Amendmentís separation
of church and state: 1) the government action must have a secular purpose; 2) its primary purpose must not be to
inhibit or to advance religion; 3) there must be no excessive entanglement between government and religion.
Wallace v. Jaffree (1985)
Supreme Court case which the high court voted 6-3 to strike down an Alabama law requiring public schools to
set aside a moment of silence for meditation or prayer.
Edwards v. Aguillard (1987)
Decision which held, 7-2, the Louisiana's "Creationism Act," unconstitutional. This statute prohibited the
teaching of evolution in public schools, except when it was accompanied by instruction in "creation science."
Lee v. Weisman (1991)
Court ruled that public schools may not sponsor invocations at graduation ceremonies.
Association of Biology Teachers: "Eugenie Scott: Evolution" September 8, 1999.
Dr. Eugenie Scott visited Kansas in September and presented a series
of keynote addresses entitled Creationism? Evolution? Both? Neither? Her presentation is
now available for viewing in the Real G2 format.
- Talk of the Nation:
"Religion and the Bill of Rights" February 5, 1996.
Talk of the Nation kicks off its series on the Bill of Rights
with a discussion of Freedom of Religion. Its principles are among the most treasured in
America, yet the First Amendment is often at the center of angry debate. Join Ray Suarez
for the first of two shows discussing the First Amendment, focusing on the provision
guaranteeing the freedom of religion.
| Humor and Satire|
- You Are All Diseased "Religion" February 29, 1999.
George Carlin voices his views on religion. Listen to part of the
- Prank Phone Call "Southern Hospitality"
Melba chats with a Mormon on the Home Shopping Network.
- Prank Phone Call "Family Values"
Melba calls The Bob Larson Show about 'gay day' at Disney World.
- The Cannabis Song "Parody" In
A rather humorous parody of Joan Osborne's "What if God was One of Us."
- MC Hawking Raps "F* the Creationists" In
Stephen Hawking lays down his views on creationists!
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