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Jul 11 2014

Episode 129: Find a New Hobby, Lobby

big_girl_pantsEd Brayton of Dispatches from the Culture Wars joins the Doubtcasters for an analysis of the SCOTUS ruling on the recent Hobby Lobby case. Some popular misunderstandings about the ruling and its implications are dispelled, and the true dangers of the decision are discussed. Also, Luke Galen reviews polling data on where the American public stands on the issue of birth control and offers some predictions on how the SCOTUS ruling may impact individuals and the nation.

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May 06 2014

Episode 128: Inside the Mind of a Religious Sexual Abuser

Major League Baseball player Chad Curtis will always be remembered as the man who led the New York Yankees to victory by catching the last out of the last World Series game of the 20th century. To many religious sports fans, Curtis was a hero for taking a strong stand for Christian principles. He regularly spoke out against performance enhancing drugs and the hedonistic lifestyle of many professional athletes. He donated half of his income to charities that promoted Christian values. His friends described him as “morally blameless” and in the eyes of many, Chad Curtis was one of the few true role models left in professional sports. After retirement, Curtis returned to his home in west Michigan and began working as a teacher and coach in public and private religious schools but eventually resigned when three students accused Curtis of sexually molesting them in the school training room. Curtis denied the allegations, and his community rallied behind him even as more victims came forward. Transcripts from his trial reveal how Curtis used his reputation as a righteous man to manipulate his victims and win the support of the community after his crimes had been exposed. Disturbing but insightful, the Chad Curtis story provides a unique window into the mind of a religious sexual abuser. Also on this episode: Gay marriage advocates try an unusual legal strategy, the AFA claims they are being bullied and Christianity Today debates the causes of female masturbation.

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Episode Links:

The Chad Curtis Trial

Christianity Today: Getting to the Root of Female Masturbation

American Family Association says “We Don’t Discriminate” stickers bully Christians

NC clergymen say forbidding same-sex marriage violates their religious freedom

Journal of Religious Health: Evangelicalism, Sexual Morality, and Sexual Addiction:
Opposing Views and Continued Conflicts

Journal of Interpersonal Abuse: Cognitive Distortions of Religious Professionals Who Sexually Abuse Children

 

Apr 18 2014

Episode 127: God’s Not Dead

The Doubtcasters spend the whole hour reviewing the film “God’s Not Dead.” The whole hour. Seriously.

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Apr 07 2014

RD Extra: Does Religion Make Us Better People? (Galen’s Bulldog Edition)

Does Religion Make Us Better People? An Empirical Critique of the Religious Prosociality Hypothesis.

Does religion make us happier, healthier and more helpful? A number of popular psychology books and articles argue that religion is a positive force for enhancing the health and well-being of both individuals and whole communities. A careful examination of the social psychological literature, however, reveals a complicated relationship between religion and “pro-social” traits that defies such a simple characterization. Luke Galen, Professor of Psychology at Grand Valley State University, recently reviewed dozens of studies on religion and pro-social traits for the American Psychological Association’s Psychology Bulletin, exposing some of the misleading ways in which this research is conducted and presented to the public. For this talk Jeremy Beahan (instructor of Philosophy and World Religions at Kendall College of Art and Design and co-host of the popular Reasonable Doubts Podcast) will summarize key details of the review in a way that is accessible to non-professionals and reveal the devil lurking in the details.

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Episode Links:
Research Report: Does Religion Really Make Us Better People? By Luke Galen and Jeremy Beahan (Free Inquiry Volume 33 No 4)

Does religious belief promote prosociality? A critical examination.

Galen, Luke W.
Psychological Bulletin, Vol 138(5), Sep 2012, 876-906. doi: 10.1037/a0028251

 

Mar 24 2014

Episode 126: Why Would God Hide?

divine_hiddennessJesus said “seek and you will find” but for many spiritual seekers, clear evidence for God cannot be found no matter how hard they search. If He really exists, why would God reveal himself only to some people and not to all? For this episode we examine “The Argument from Divine Hiddenness” which assumes that a perfectly moral being would want to enter into a relationship with His creation. But If that is true, theism faces some trouble in explaining how genuinely “non-resistant” seekers of God could exist. Also on this episode: Creationists attack FOX’s Cosmos series, Fred Phelps is dead, Michigan overturns its ban on gay marriage, and the link between depression, fear and belief in Hell is examined for this episodes installment of God Thinks Like You.

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Episode Links:

Michigan Gay Marriage Ban Struck Down

Better Things to Do Than Picket the Fred Phelps Funeral

Nathan Phelps Statement

First WBC Protest after Phelps death

Creationist critique of Cosmos episode 2

Belief in Hell makes people unhappy and afraid

Religion doesn’t protect against depression

Fatwa against living on Mars

Feb 28 2014

Does God Exist? Schieber vs. Horner debate

Does God Exist? – Horner vs. Schieber at University of Alberta in Edmonton.

 

Feb 14 2014

Episode 125: Nye Smokes Ham

The doubtcasters, along with friend of the show Jordan Fett, share thoughts and analysis (scientific, philosophical and psychological) on the debate between Creationist Ken Ham and Bill Nye the Science Guy.  Also we discuss some of the psychological barriers to understanding evolution that both creationists AND evolutionists share, for this weeks “God Thinks Like You.” Also, learn about the Babylonian Ark Tablet and what it means for Biblical literalists in this episodes “Skeptics Sunday School”

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Episode Links:

Ken Ham and other literalists can’t handle pre-biblical Ark text

Follow up: The UN’s report on Catholic child abuse is released.

Stranger than fiction: dude tries to walk on water. Drowns. 

Jan 27 2014

Episode 124: Religion’s Role in Global Conflict

New data from the Pew Research Center shows religious violence is on the rise world-wide. Religiously motivated sectarian violence, harassment of women, mob-violence and terrorism have increased steadily and dramatically over the past 7 years in every region except the Americas. Still, many of these conflicts erupt in areas plagued by disputes over land and political control, so is religion really to blame? For this episode we review empirical research that attempts to understand the role religion and politics play in global religious conflicts. Also on this episode: What the hell is going on in Philosophy of Religion departments? While only 12% of philosophers accept or lean towards theism, 72% of philosophers who specialize in Philosophy of Religion are theists. Of course, both theists and atheists can find self-serving interpretations of this disconnect, but what is really going on? In trying to answer this question we examine research and educated opinions of those who work in the field.

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Episode Links:

Kirk Cameron on Parenting

UN committee takes on Vatican and Pope Defrocks 400

Violence on the decline world wide, except religious violence which is rising

Satanic Statue controversy

Dsouza election fraud

A study of what motivates people to enter Philosophy of Religion

Uganda bill doesn’t get signed into law, but even the reasoning why is so bigoted it will make you furious.

Jan 18 2014

RD Extra: Debate – Is Belief in God Irrational? Chris Hallquist vs. Randal Rauser

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 11.47.20 PMIn late 2013, Chris Hallquist and Randal Rauser participated in a debate on the rationality of belief in God.  This debate was not a live debate, rather it was a series of audio exchanges that took place in late 2013.  The exchanges were according to agreed upon time limitations on each section. For each of their several sections, the debaters were given at least a week to analyze, script and record their entries before submitting it to their opponent.  Each submission, has been edited together in the agreed upon order for your listening interest.  As one speaker ends, the next will follow without interruption.

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Dec 19 2013

Episode 123: Rules vs. Consequences

For the second part of our “Winter of Morality” series, Dr. Galen examines the psychological factors that make a deontological (rule-based) approach to morality more appealing to most religious people than a consequentialist approach. Meta-ethical questions aside, does adopting a deontological perspective over a utilitarian ethic actually make any difference in real-world measures of moral behavior? According to new studies it might. Fundamentalists, for example, tend to adhere rigidly to a rule-based moral code and in some instances may act on their convictions more than their liberal counterparts. But as you’ve guessed, the devil is always in the details. Also on this episode: the Pope is Time’s person of the year, the ACLU sues Catholic Bishops and a Polyatheism segment delves into the bizarre and adorable beasts of Japanese mythology.

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Episode Links:

What Time Got Wrong About the Pope

What Pope Francis can learn from Obama

ACLU sues Catholic Bishops

Stranger than fiction: Roman Beef Cake Calendar

God Thinks Like You Links:

Piazza, J., & Landy, J.F. (2013). “Lean not on your own understanding”: Belief that morality is founded on divine authority and non-utilitarian moral judgments. Judgment and Decision Making, 8, 639-661. 

Blogowska, J., & Saroglou, V. (2013). For better or worse: Fundamentalists’ attitudes toward outgroups as a function of exposure to authoritative religious texts. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 23, 103-125. doi:10.1080/87567555.2012.687991 

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