FFrF Radio: Breaking the Spell; Archives: Religious History

Podcast Link.
May 31, 2008 - Guests: Bestselling author Prof. Daniel C. Dennett and Prof. Eric Barnes

eric barnes holman wisconsin cross the village accptd lowest bid for prop lyonsclub

theo alrt mccains pastor problems continue (parsley & hitler) leibermann & hagee now.

daniel c. Dennetts second appearance. (previous) adolescent questioning is good. Debate "is religion the greatist threat to rationality & science" (quote what follows 25:00) how far can we take religious freedom (flds) the spell that must be broekn is the spell gainst the study of religion.

I sense an undercurrent of disagreement between dennett & gaylor. Makes for interesting listening.



2007 Archive episode.
June 2, 2007 - Fighting Words: The Origins of Religious Violence

kevorkian released from prison after 8 years. A prison term for helping the suffering end their suffering.

bill maher does the 700 club weather.

hector avila fighting words. Fascin disc of creatinsm teaching bible as arheist & the impact of violence in the bible.

Michelle goldburg on the rise of christian nationism.

in a dark time philip appleman by db



2006 Archive episode.
June 3, 2006 - Days of the Theocracy


pious ken lay qnd his belief in his innocence

laurie lipman brown is director of secular coalition of america. A secular lobby now exists. It's sad that it's come to this.

secular.org for e-alerts

christine lems performs "days of the theocracy"

Twain's The War Prayer set to music by db. god-less america follows.

Gideon society ann. And bible warning labels.

freethinkers almanac. Anne royale, the first secular lobbyist

calls. Pro & con.

The Other Shoe Drops; Will Evolution be Next?

Perry's appointee to the Texas Board of Education has shown his true colors. As most of us knew he would:
McLeroy’s latest antic — though I would call it the first shot fired in a war, a war on reality — was over, of all things, the English standards. According to an article in the Dallas Morning News, teachers and experts had worked for two and a half to three years on new standards for English. So what did McLeroy do? He ignored all that work entirely, and let "social conservatives" on the board draft a new set overnight.

Overnight? Think that’s better than Standards teachers and experts spent nearly three years on?

This new version cobbled together in a few hours was delivered to Board members an hour before the meeting in which they were to vote on it. An hour! In the meeting, McLeroy rammed through the discussion, even dismissing people who claimed he was going too quickly:

“Mr. Chair you’re going so fast … you’re moving so fast we can’t find it in the other document,” [board member Mary Helen] Berlanga said, shortly after the page-by-page explanation began.

After more complaints, McLeroy declared that he would continue at the fast pace.

“The ruling is you’re being dilatory in dragging this out,” McLeroy said.

What a guy! And now guess how this ends…

The board voted to approve the hastily cobbled-together standards, 9-6.

And if you’re not tired of guessing, then guess what discipline comes up next for review? Science!

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Every time you pet your dog, you are touching a known product of evolution. Through thousands of years of companionship, we have created the creatures that lovingly chew our sneakers and pee on the rug. God didn't create dogs, humans evolved them from wolves that were captured and tamed. This is a concept so obvious, most people don't even notice it.

The current chairman of the Texas Board of Education is one of these people. He is a creationist, bent on introducing Intelligent Design into Texas classrooms. He needs to be ousted, and yesterday wouldn't be soon enough.

As I said before:
There is no room for creationism at the science table when it comes to teaching children. Leave it at church where it belongs. Send a message to the powers that be this year, tell the TEA hands off our science curriculum, send the fundamentalists packing.
I have, and I will again. Either the state concedes on this issue and removes the sitting board chairman, or Texas spends millions of dollars defending itself against lawsuits as outraged parents take the state to court over curriculum that they refuse to see taught to their children.

Which outcome do you prefer?



Here's an interesting coincidence. The Governor's contact page seems to be terminally on the fritz. That's odd. I know I've used that contact system before. I wonder if he's feeling the heat from his extremely unwise choice of SBOE chairs. One can only hope.

Live from Denver

So, the LP convention is winding up in Denver today. (is it just me or is Wayne Allyn Root breathing too many of his own exhaust fumes?) Mercifully, I'm not there to witness it in person. Politics is like sausage, you really don't want to know what goes into it.

For a list of bloggers who attended the convention, go here, or you could listen to the mellow, bourbon infused tones of my friend Tom Knapp as he tries to assemble coherent sentences over the telephone for a Gcast from the convention:


Subscribe Free for future posts Add this player to my Page

I'm watching the coverage on C-Span. Sixth round of balloting, Bob Barr facing off against Mary Ruwart. Root has just thrown his endorsement of Barr out to the convention, and he has enough votes behind him to give the nomination to Bob Barr. Like it or not, the days of the LP as an ineffectual debating society are coming to a close.

With the nomination of a prominent former Republican as the LP's candidate for president (Dr. Paul has never been prominent within the Republican party. He has gained some fame for his principled stands on controversial issues of late, but nothing like Barr was when he was sitting in Congress) as well as the back room wheeling and dealing and the public maneuvering that went into getting Barr his nomination, the LP has turned a corner in history. Clearly someone thinks that this nomination is worth something in the grand scheme of things.

Mike Gravel left his run for the Democrat nomination for President to also run as a Libertarian for President. For all intents and purposes, the LP has graduated into the level of serious politics.

The other thing that has occurred with the nomination of Barr, is that the LP has put forward a candidate, for the first time since I pulled the lever next to "L" on the ballot more than 10 years ago, that I'm going to have a hard time voting for. His track record in congress is not something to recommend him to people who are concerned with the growth of government, especially those of us who are concerned about the growing encroachment of religion in politics. Can a leopard truly change his spots? It remains to be seen.

What is clear is that the news outlets have no excuse not to cover the campaign of Bob Barr as it progresses. They have never failed to point a camera his way when he wore an "R" next to his name; is he less newsworthy now that the "R" has been replaced with an "L"? If he can poll double digit numbers (provided pollsters actually include his name) the major party construct that runs the debates will have a hard time leaving him out and making it look like they aren't excluding him.

All of this ultimately leads to growth of the LP, and potential success at the ballot box at some point in the distant future. Mr. Barr has promised that he will grow the party, and garner more votes for the LP than any candidate in it's history. Sounds good, right?

But not all growth is good growth. Libertarians should be well acquainted with this concept, since we rail against the growth of government on a continuing basis. Will a massive influx of disaffected Republicans be a surge for the cause of liberty, or a dilution of the principles that many of us already in the party embrace? A substitution of libertarian principles for the even more amorphous conservative thought, and all the baggage that group brings with it?

This is a reason to remain active in the party, if nothing else. Hold the line against conservative encroachment. I'm not interested in being associated with an LP that is nothing more than a GOP-lite. I come from the other side of the fence, harking back to the founders and their principles, the liberals of their time; not from the Goldwater era which (supposedly) redefined what conservatism was in the US.

I am not a conservative, not even vaguely. I'm a libertarian. The self-identifying conservative who carries my parties nomination is going to have to sell me on his worthiness to get my vote.

FFrF Radio: Geneticist Sean Carroll Archives: Janeane Garofalo & BSA

Podcast Link.
May 24, 2008 - Guest: Geneticist Sean Carroll

This episode kicks off with a brief history of the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

Theocracy Alert. Hagee, McCain & Hitler. California marriage decision, from the vantage of the Family Research Council. 1 in 8 science teachers teaching creationism on same level as evolution.

Pagan Pulpit. The Problem of Evil.

Sean Carroll is the guest, The Making of the Fittest is his book. A subject near and dear to my heart. The proof for evolution; which is also an invalidation of creationism. Dan refers to it as a genetic detective story. I think I might have to read this one.


Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able, and willing?
then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
then why call him God?
-Epicurus


2007 Archive episode.
May 26, 2007 - Special Guest: Janeane Garofalo

Theocracy Alert. How's this?



Janeane Garofalo is the guest. Entertaining as usual. At a point in the second half of the show, Dan asks for and she grants him absolution. On a more serious note, her thoughts on fundamentalism struck a chord with me. I think she's got it right. Right-brained need for control.

Ask an Atheist. While hostile, still the question is, the "Separation of Church and State".


"I want to live with some degree of valor, on a daily basis. I don't always succeed at that." -Janeane Garofalo



2006 Archive episode.
May 27, 2006 - "No Hurry to Die" - Y BSA?

The first Guest is Arthur Thexton, who spoke on the Wisconsin death penalty referendum. (it appears to have had no effect, although it did pass. Narrowly)

Dan Barker performs In no Hurry to Die.

Pagan Pulpit deals with the same subject. (I've said this myself recently. Dead is dead, and murder is murder. Killing in cold blood, which is what execution is, is always murder)

John Scalise, the second guest, was on to discuss BSA violations of law; and his Michigan lawsuit over public school support of the Boy Scouts. A tax funded membership organization that discriminates on the basis of religion. Hard to understand how that is allowed to continue.

Dan Barker performs Y-BSA

Freethinkers Almanac. Isadora Duncan, Walt Whitman.

Ron Paul - The Revolution

I don't know how long The Revolution will continue without Ron Paul to lead it, but I did pick up a copy of his book when he was in town for the book signing tour today. I've already read a good portion of it. I wouldn't do the book justice if I tried to review it myself, so let me just point you here; The Revolution: A Manifesto.

On the subject of Ron Paul and The Revolution, I ran across this video:


read more | digg story

I daresay I've probably blogged my last on the subject of Ron Paul. But then I've been wrong before.

FFrF Radio: James Randi Archives: Parenting Beyond Belief & Richard Sloan

Podcast Link.
May 17, 2008 - Guests: The Amazing James Randi & Dad Complainant in FFRF's Newest Religion-in-School Court Challenge

Thecracy Alert. Child Evangelism Fellowship is partnering with a Wisconsin public school system, targeting children as young as 4; disguising their proselytizing as a party, and giving gifts at Christmas, using school facilities without compensating taxpayers.

McCain's pastor problems; Mother Jones magazine skewers Rod Parsley.

James Randi
is the guest.


"Cruel men believe in a cruel God and use their belief to excuse their cruelty. Only kindly men believe in a kindly God, and they would be kindly in any case." -Bertrand Russell


2007 Archive episode.
May 19, 2007 - Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion

Theocracy Alert. Tinky Winky's critic Jerry Falwell is dead; Criticism of the idiot's own words follows. The Hitchens vs. Sharpton debate has a segment aired (as well as Hitchen's rather pointed comments on Jerry Falwell) including this quote;
Not until gentle Jesus meek and mild is the concept of Hell introduced.
Thank you Mr. Hitchens for hitting on the point that I find most objectionable as well.

Dale McGowan (the guest) has written Parenting Beyond Belief a guide to how to raise children in this religion drenched society. I was impressed with his devotion to this subject. If my children weren't well on their way towards adulthood, I would probably pick up a copy of the book.

Dan Barker's song It's Only Natural is aired. Susan Hofer is the vocal artist. Here's a video of the song on YouTube.

Freethinkers Almanac. Lorraine Hansberry and an audio clip from Raisin in the Sun.


"As men's prayers are a disease of the will, so are their creeds a disease of the intellect." -Ralph Waldo Emerson


2006 Archive episode.
May 20, 2006 - Nothing Fails Like Prayer: Richard Sloan

Theocracy Alert. Guidelines allowing prayer in the name of Jesus in the military are of concern.

Richard P. Sloan is the guest (Last week, next year was his second appearance) As this was his first appearance, the discussion was much more focused on the contents of his book Blind Faith. Prayer in medicine claims are addressed (sharpshooters fallacy) Prayer studies, and their negative results.

Dan Barker performs Beware of Dogma (used as bumper music from this point forward)

Ask an Atheist addresses the myth of no atheists in foxholes? The Lake Hyapatia monument is referenced.

Freethinkers Almanac features Bertrand Russell, Lorraine Hansberry, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

44% of Americans are "libertarian"

David Boaz, discussing his new Book, The Politics of Freedom, mentions a poll that he funded, asking people if they would describe themselves as being fiscally conservative and socially liberal. An amazing 59% of the respondents said yes. When the question was revised as fiscally conservative and socially liberal otherwise known as libertarian, the yeses are reduced to 44%. Forty four percent of Americans would consider themselves libertarian? We need to tap that resource.



On a side note, McCain wants to regulate blogs? Mr. McCain, you can have a say on the content of this blog when you pry my keyboard from my cold dead fingers. Until then, read the flag.

FFrF Radio: Richard Sloan, Prayer as Medicine? Archive: Sonia Johnson & Mike Newdow

Podcast Link.
May 10, 2008 - Guest: Richard Sloan

Discussion of Dan Barker's 64th religious debate, this one with Dinesh D'Souza. As suggested, a search of YouTube turned up this;



Discussion of a Freethought weekend in New York. This appears to be an annual event, because it's mentioned each year about this time.

Julia Sweeney's wedding merits a mention. I'm sure it's on the web somewhere. In this, I'm the average guy. Weddings don't merit a search and link effort. Sorry Julia. Congrats, though.

Freethinkers Almanac features Irving Berlin and Catherine Hepburn.

Richard P. Sloan is the guest, and his book is Blind Faith. This was his second appearance on the show, with more disturbing trends in medicine.


"I never felt the slightest interest in the next world. I think it's here, and I think that anything good that you're going to do, you should do for other people here, and not do anything to make yourself have a happy time in the next world." - Catherine Hepburn


2007 Archive episode.
May 12, 2007 - "From Housewife to Heretic"

The episode opens with discussion of a Freethought weekend in New York.

Theocracy Alert. Pat Tillman's mother Mary Tillman on military snobbery towards Atheists; Bill Maher on Monica Goodling and Pat Robertson's tier 4 law school. History of Disbelief not aired in Wisconson (Austin's KLRU aired it. I wrote and thanked them for airing it) while the program is not available on disc, there are torrents available for download if you are really curious. Content owners, this is the reason to release material on disc. Someone else will make it available if you do not.

Sonjia Johnson was excommunicated by the Mormon church for her support of the ERA. The Mormon church worked very hard behind the scenes to defeat the amendment. Sonjia Johnson is listed in Annie Laurie Gaylor's Women Without Superstition. An entertaining interview and history lesson.

The episode wraps up with supportive phone messages.



2006 Archive episode.
May 13, 2006 - One Nation, Indivisible: Mike Newdow

Mike Newdow has brought two cases before the courts now, attempting to remove the phrase "under god" from the pledge. How about we just don't pledge?

(skip Newdow's song, that's my advice)

Freethinker's Almanac Features Irving Berlin, author of God Bless America (written for a play which it was later removed from) Dan sings Berlin's Pack up Your Sins and Go To the Devil in Hades.

Anne Nicol Gaylor (Annie Laurie's mother) was on for Mother's Day, to talk about women's issues and her long standing support for the Women's Medical Fund. Dan sings Bread and Roses.

FFrF Radio: Exposing Expelled Archives: Ellery Schempp & Robin Morgan

Podcast Link.
May 3, 2008 - Guests: Eugenie Scott, director, National Center for Science Education: Exposing "Expelled", & "Atheist in Foxhole" Litigant Jeremy Hall: Military Harassment Continues

Jeremy Hall leads off the episode. He has appeared on the show at least once before, but his story was first presented on Freethought Radio by Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, because Mr. Hall was unable to make his scheduled interview, being still in Iraq at the time. His story should serve as the proverbial canary in a coal mine for the rest of us.

Eugenie Scott has been on the show before as well. As the Director of NCSE, and one of the deceived participants in the film, she is almost uniquely qualified to critique the film Expelled.



How Annie Laurie Gaylor made herself sit and watch the film is beyond me. I have no interest in wasting 90 minutes of my time watching it. My thoughts on the film are here and here.



2007 Archive episode.
May 5, 2007 - Champion of the First Amendment

Theocracy Alert. National Day of Prayer (last week, this year, still just as offensive) Deja vu?

Ellery Schempp, through his and his families efforts, brought the case Abington vs. Schempp before the Supreme court and ended prayer in government schools. His story really is an inspiraton for all of us out here facing similar (if not as egregious) violations of state/church separation.

I found his observations about O'Hair amusing, myself.

Dan Barker performs "Nothing Fails Like Prayer"

Pagan Pulpit. Prayer in public, a violation of god's law?


If Atheism is a religion, then baldness is a hair color.


2006 Archive episode.
May 6, 2006 - Fighting Words . . . Robin Morgan

Theocracy Alert. National Day of Prayer (last week, this year, still just as offensive) Dan Barker performs "Nothing Fails Like Prayer"

Freethinkers Almanac. Thomas Henry Huxley grandfather of Aldous Huxley (author of my favorite children's book as a child The Crows of Pearblossom) George Clooney.

Pagan Pulpit Debuts. Nothing fails like Prayer (I think I see a pattern)

Robin Morgan was on to talk about her recent books The Burning Time, Fighting Words, and her long term concerns over the encroachment of religion on American government.

The episode winds up with "Atheists are People Too" (parody of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood) and a discussion of the differences between growing up atheist and growing up religious (yes, Dan; sleeping in Sundays is something to be jealous about) and what effect that has on life as an adult.