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Nov 20 2012

Episode 108: Post-Election Withdrawal

The doubtcasters collectively work through their post-election withdrawal symptoms by examining how demographic shifts are changing the American political landscape with special focus on how religious vs. secular polling locations influence voting. Also for this week’s counterapologetics Justin Schieber presents a presuppositionalist argument for atheism developed by Stephen Maitzen.

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Nov 14 2012

RD Extra: Is Abortion Murder? (Debate)

Contrary to what we hear shouted from both sides of the pro-choice/pro-life divide, abortion actually is a complicated issue. Is it possible to make progress on an issue that seems to straddle the line of our deepest philosophical differences? If it is, it certainly won’t be done with pictures of dead fetus’ or insisting that a women’s right to choose is the only morally relevant factor to consider.
This RD extra is a debate between Justin Schieber and John Barron on the issue of abortion. John keeps a blog at Siftingreality.com. There John blogs about Christianity, atheism, gay marriage and, of course, abortion.

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Nov 04 2012

RD Extra: Remembering Paul Kurtz (1925-2012)

The following is a rebroadcast of the doubtcaster’s 2007 interview with the late humanist philosopher, author and activist Paul Kurtz.

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Oct 11 2012

Episode 107: Are We Born Depraved?

The discovery that children have a natural inclination to believe in invisible, immortal, super-knowing agents has some religious apologists boasting that science has found the sensus divinitatis. Despite possessing this inner sense of the divine, John Calvin declared children to be morally corrupt by nature.  This doctrine of total depravity has served as a justification for authoritarian child-rearing practices aimed at instilling obedience in strong-willed children.  But a close look at the data suggests our theistic inclinations are byproducts of our cognitive development and not a special God-given faculty. Likewise, studies on the moral development of children reveal the foundations for empathy are present even at a young age. Authoritarian parenting may hinder that development and contribute to a variety of social ills.

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Sep 18 2012

Episode 106: Moonie Madness

The Unification Church was virtually unknown in America until the 1970′s when concerned parents, anti-cult groups and members of congress raised alarm about the powerful “brainwashing” techniques used by “moonies” to lure new converts into their dangerous cult.  Now that the self-proclaimed “messiah” Sun Myung Moon has died a group of sociologists are defending the Unification Church. While their beliefs and practices may strike most as odd they are hardly the predatory cult some have made them out to be (these sociologists claim). In particular, researchers of new religious movements object to the pseudoscientific notion of “brainwashing”–insisting that what compels people to join groups like the Unification Church amounts to nothing more than ordinary forces of group psychology at play in any religion. Anti-cult groups have fired back accusing these researchers of engaging in apologetics and secretly accepting financial kick-backs from the same groups they defend. What is a cult and how is it different (if at all) from a religion? Is there any scientific support for the concept of brainwashing? We will attempt to answer these questions and more. Also on this episode: violence across the Muslim world, blasphemy laws backfire in Pakistan, and Mark Regnerus’ research on homosexual parenting is dissected for this weeks “God Thinks Like You”

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Aug 29 2012

RD Extra: The Problem of Non-God Objects

This RD Extra is a lecture delivered by Justin Schieber to CFI Michigan on August 22nd 2012

Discription: In this week’s presentation, Justin Schieber will present – and defend from possible objections – an argument against a Christian view of the divine that insists upon God’s perfection while maintaining that God alone is responsible for intentionally creating non-god objects.The Christian scriptures seem clear; John 1:3 says ‘All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.’ They are equally clear about this God’s ontological and moral perfection. But, are these beliefs compatible with the existence of non-God objects?

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Aug 10 2012

Episode 105: Are We Born to Believe?

Some atheists have argued that children are naturally non-believers. Were it not for indoctrination at the hands of parents and clergy children would never pick up supernatural beliefs on their own and religion would wither and die. But a growing body of research in developmental psychology suggests just the opposite. Children have a natural inclination to believe in invisible, immortal, super-knowing agents who are responsible for design in the natural world. For this first part in a series on the evolved origins of religious belief the doubtcasters review two books  (Justin Barrett’s Born Believers and Jesse Berring’s the Belief Instinct) which make the case that religious belief is not only natural–it is almost inevitable.

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Jul 20 2012

RD Extra: Polyatheism – Modern Lessons From Ancient Myths

This RD Extra features a lecture by David Fletcher, delivered to CFI Michigan on July 11th 2012

Lecture Description:

There are many lessons we can learn from the myths of ancient and modern cultures, ranging from the profound to the absurd. In this presentation we will explore the mythologies of various cultures around the world and get to know some of the many gods and goddesses worth not believing in.

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Jul 07 2012

Episode 104: Religious Experience (with guest Tanya Luhrmann)

For many religious believers the most compelling evidence for theism is their own personal experience of God’s presence. Christians in the rapidly growing charismatic “renewalist” movement do not just talk to God, they claim to actually hear God talking back. Are these powerful religious experiences evidence that God really exists or are they the result of mental illness?  Anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann, author of When God Talks Back, offers another explanation: such experiences arise naturally when spiritual communities learn to train and enhance their natural capacity for imagination.  She joins us on the show to talk about what she observed while studying members of the renewalist Vineyard Church. Also in this episode: just how much government revenue is lost due to religious tax exemptions and direct subsides to churches? The answer will shock you.  Plus, a counter-apologetics on Richard Swinburne’s argument from religious experience and a new pollyatheism.

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Episode 104 Links:

Council For Secular Humanism Report on Religious Tax exemption

Churches challenge IRS/IRS does nothing

Jun 14 2012

Episode 103: Snakes and T.U.L.I.P.s

Members of the Southern Baptist Convention are denouncing the aggressive “new Calvinists” who have infiltrated their ranks and insist on pushing the belief that God predestined some people to hell long before the first human sinned. You know what that means? IT’s TULIP TIME! Join us as the doubtcasters give a skeptical overview of the five points of Calvinism (also known as T.U.L.I.P.) and explain why the SBC objects to these doctrines. But new Calvinists are not the only ones making news in the American south… hear from gay hating preachers, snake-handlers, and mega-church cult leaders for the first (and possibly the last) installment of a new segment…WHEN SOUTHERN PREACHERS ATTACK! Also, more on the link between atheism and autism, plus William Lane Craig grapples with determinism for this weeks counter-apologetics segment.

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Episode 103 Links

Vatican leaks

Pope’s butler charged

Pastor encourages abuse of gay children

famous” Snake Handler dies from bite

Serpent handlers should be lauded for their faith…seriously?

if Jim Jones ran a prosperity gospel mega-church

Southern Baptists divided over Calvinism

Scriptures for and against “the Perseverance of the Saints”

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