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Last update: 2013-06-20

rd116 The Outsider Test For Faith

2013-06-20 :: Reasonable Doubts

How can one accept the Bible at face value but reject the Quran's teachings? How can one accept Christian miracles as evidence but reject Hindu miracles? John Loftus, author of the Christian Delusion and God or Godless, joins us on the show to discuss the Outsider Test For Faith, which challenges believers to thoughtfully consider why they reject the claims of other religions and then apply the same critical standards to their own beliefs. Also on the show, its the Gospel of Superman! Why has Hollywood decided to promote the latest superhero film specifically to evangelical churches? And for God Thinks Like You, can just thinking about Superman turn you into a hero? All that plus a polytheism that is , quite frankly, a little twisted.…

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rd115 The Myth of Martyrdom part 3

2013-06-07 :: Reasonable Doubts

The doubtcasters wrap up their "Myth of Martyrdom" series by discussing the evidence of others (non-apostles) who supposedly witnessed the resurrection, other miracle claims from antiquity and the false dichotomy at the heart of the "die for a lie" argument. Also, the Dr. Professor makes up for lost time by reviewing numerous studies on the psychology of religion, including: religious rationalizations of criminal behavior, cognitive overlap between deontological and consequentialist moral reasoning, and the different paths that lead people to doubt the supernatural.…

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RD Extra: Smith vs Schieber - The Status of God in the 21st Century

2013-05-17 :: Reasonable Doubts

Last month Justin Schieber was invited by Etcetera (Etcetera.org) to Traverse City, Michigan to debate/discuss with Scott Smith (TCApologetics.org) the ‘Status of God in the 21st Century‘. The lively discussion touched on a wide range of topics from moral intuitions to the strength of positing a God as an explanation. For video of the debate go to www.doubtcast.org…

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rd114 The Myth of Martyrdom part 2: Who Would Die for a Lie?

2013-05-03 :: Reasonable Doubts

Would anyone knowingly die for a lie? Christian tradition teaches us that many of Jesus' disciples were persecuted and martyred for their faith. But if Jesus did not really rise from the dead why would the apostles be willing to sacrifice their lives over claims they knew were false? To many Christians, the apostles martyrdom is compelling confirmation that the message they preached was true. But is there any reliable evidence that the apostles actually were martyred for their faith in the resurrection? Also on this episode: The Pew Research Center releases a global study on the views of Muslims world-wide. We'll take a look at the survey and what it suggests about the source of Islamic extremism.…

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rd113 The Myth of Martyrdom Part 1 with guest Candida Moss

2013-04-18 :: Reasonable Doubts

Jesus famously told his disciples "take up your cross and follow me" and the church has proudly circulated stories of Christian martyrs ever since. Stories of believers who refused to renounce their faith in the face of persecution inspire some to great acts of heroism but can also promote a spirit of victimization. In her new book "The Myth of Christian Persecution" Candida Moss argues that the martyrdom stories from the first centuries of the Christian church have been exaggerated, and in some cases even fabricated. Contrary to popular accounts of church history there never was any widespread systematic persecution of Christians in the first centuries of the common era. Join us as we discuss her fascinating book.…

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rd112 The Great Agnostic with guest Susan Jacoby

2013-03-28 :: Reasonable Doubts

Today most Americans have never heard of Robert Green Ingersoll but in the 19th century he was considered one of the greatest orators of his age. Known as "the Great Agnostic", Ingersoll criticized religion and championed progressive political causes with great ferocity, wit and humor. Though his writings are controversial even by today's standards his personal charm was so disarming that people would travel miles for a chance to hear him speak. Susan Jacoby, author of Freethinkers and the Age of American Unreason joins us to talk about her new biography of Ingersoll and to illuminate how his courage and integrity continues to inspire to this day. Also on this episode: Unlike Ingersoll, Pope Francis seems to have more charm than courage and the doubtcasters enjoy a hearty "I told you so" moment thanks to a new study on the impact of free will/ determinism belief on ones larger worldview.…

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RD Extra: Orme vs Schieber Debate - Does The Christian God Exist?

2013-03-17 :: Reasonable Doubts

For this RD Extra, we give you a lengthy debate on the existence of the Christian god. Arguing in the affirmative is apologist Jared Orme of Conversion Points Radio and in the negative, Justin Schieber. Reasonable Doubts wants to thank Jared for the time and effort he put into this exchange…

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rd111 Goodbye Joey Ratz

2013-02-28 :: Reasonable Doubts

Celebrate the end of Pope Benedict XVI's short reign with a look back at the good the bad and the ugly of the polemical pontiff's career. We'll discuss all the big questions you probably don't care about: will Benedict still be 'infallible'? What were the real reasons for his resign? What will he do now? Who will be the next pope? Also, a brief history of Papal resignations before Benedict and we turn to Stephen Greenblatt's book "The Swerve" for a surprising connection between a former Pope and the rebirth humanism in the western world.…

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rd110 Clever Hermeneutics

2013-02-13 :: Reasonable Doubts

What is a thoughtful, compassionate Christian to do with all the outrageous violence and hatred in the Old Testament? Many liberal Christians will reject the notion that these texts are inspired by God but in rescuing God's character they sacrifice the divine authority of the scriptures. Fundamentalists will often bite the proverbial bullet and accept that God really did command these atrocities but how can one give any intelligible account of God's holiness if He commands such evil deeds? Are these the only options available to a believer who wishes to keep the Bible and their conscience too? Apologist Randal Rauser doesn't think so. He advocates an approach to interpreting the Old Testament which he calls a "qualified embrace" of the scriptures. It's a clever hermeneutic but does it succeed in providing an intellectually and biblically sound way out of this dilemma? Also on this episode: Jesus shares your political views but he is more extreme, the Boy Scouts of America consider admitting gays and we conclude the episode with a touching Polyatheism segment.…

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RD Extra: Debating the Amalekite Genocide

2013-01-31 :: Reasonable Doubts

When Richard Dawkins wrote “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction.”, he was spot on. Many Jews and Christians recognize the deep problems these texts present to their views on the most basic moral questions. Unfortunately, it’s become commonplace for some christian apologists to claim they ‘wrestle’ with these difficult passages when, in reality, they are rewriting them. Recently, Justin Schieber was invited to debate God’s command to slaughter the Amalekites on the popular christian radio show, ‘Unbelievable’ against apologist John Allister. In this episode, we give you the debate, response emails and closing commentary.…

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RD Extra: The Nativity Debate

2012-12-23 :: Reasonable Doubts

Don't get into heated debates with your family this Christmas without first getting your facts straight. Check out this debate between Jonathan Pearce and Randal Rauser on the historical reliability of the Nativity narratives so you can impress your family by being the most informed troublemaker at the dinner table. Merry Christmas from the Doubtcasters!…

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rd109 The Biology of Religious Patriarchy

2012-12-14 :: Reasonable Doubts

Why are religious moralists so preoccupied with sex? Attitudes on sexuality are far more predictive of religiosity than attitudes on charity, social justice or any other measure. Religious scriptures abound with rules and restrictions aimed at controlling women's sexuality in particular. Is the current religious obsession with sex just an unfortunate result of religion's male-dominated history or are there deeper forces at work? On this episode the doubtcasters review recent studies which illuminate possible procreative strategies underpinning religious patriarchy. Also on this episode: the supreame court hears gay marriage cases, the Pope Who Stole Christmas and fan favorite Ed Brayton joins us to discuss his new book about the violence and intimidation many secular activists face when defending the separation of church and state.…

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rd108 Post-Election Withdrawal

2012-11-20 :: Reasonable Doubts

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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RD Extra: Is Abortion Murder? (Debate)

2012-11-14 :: Reasonable Doubts

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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RD Extra: Remembering Paul Kurtz

2012-11-04

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

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rd107 Are We Born Depraved?

2012-10-11 :: Reasonable Doubts

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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rd106 Moonie Madness

2012-09-18 :: Reasonable Doubts

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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RD Extra: The Problem of Non-God Objects

2012-08-29 :: Reasonable Doubts

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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rd105 Are We Born to Believe?

2012-08-09 :: Reasonable Doubts

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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RD Extra: Polyatheism - Modern Lessons From Ancient Myths

2012-07-20 :: Reasonable Doubts

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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rd104 Religious Experience with guest Tanya Luhrmann

2012-07-07 :: Reasonable Doubts

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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rd103 Snakes and TULIPs

2012-06-13 :: Reasonable Doubts

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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RD Extra: Debunking D'Souza

2012-05-30 :: Reasonable Doubts

Last April, secularist author Susan Jacoby and Christian apologist Dinesh D'Souza debated each other over the question, "Is Christianity Good for American Politics?" While Jacoby's argument was more accurate, D'Souza employed a host of logical fallacies and historical inaccuracies to gain a rhetorical edge. For this RD Extra, doubtcaster Jeremy Beahan joins Ed Brayton of Culture Wars Radio for some in-depth post-debate analysis.…

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rd102 Skeptic's Psychology of Religion Toolkit

2012-05-16 :: Reasonable Doubts

Over the past several years a number of studies have been published which purport to show the psychological benefits of religious belief. These studies are often plagued by shoddy design, inadequate controls and overreliance on self-report data--yet even the most careful skeptics can overlook these mistakes. For this episode Dr. Galen explains 10 of the most common errors to watch for in psychology of religion research. Also, for this episode we examine contradictions in the story of Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, and we take a look at Thor for another polyatheism segment.…

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rd101 Is God a Liar?

2012-05-01 :: Reasonable Doubts

Numerous passages in both the Old and New Testaments depict God as a being who actively engages in deception but apologist Joel Furches claims that these passages, seen in their proper context, reveal a God that never deceives--He simply allows sinful people to reap the consequences of their own lack of faith. A careful examination of the Bible, however, shows a God that is willing to use deception as an instrument for advancing his plan on earth. For this episode's installment of God Thinks Like You we examine more evidence that links religious faith to an intuitive style of thinking while skepticism correlates with an analytic style of thought. We also take a look at politics in Egypt in the wake of the Arab spring and find that, while the overall picture looks grim, there may still be reason for hope. Remembering that women have the most to lose from an Islamic theocracy in Egypt, we close the episode by recounting the mythology of Egypt's powerful goddess Isis--the subject of this weeks Polyatheism.…

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rd100 Live 100th Episode Special

2012-04-01 :: Reasonable Doubts

The Doubtcasters would like to thank all the RD fans from around the world who took part in our live 100th episode special. Your questions, stories and insights made this milestone for the show that much more special. But if you didn’t get a chance to listen, it's all here. Does Jesus fulfill the biblical requirements for being the Jewish Messiah? Does the bible condone the beating slaves? What are the worst arguments you've ever heard for the existence of God? Why do atheists care what religious people believe? We attempt to answer these questions and many more, and in doing so we show once again that when it comes to the claims of religion there are plenty of reasonable doubts.…

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RD Extra: Ties That Bind - Sophie's Story

2012-03-28 :: Reasonable Doubts

Former Mormon, skeptic blogger, writer and sexual rights activist Sophie Hirschfeld discusses her past in the Church of Latter Day Saints, an abusive marriage and how she got out of both…

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rd99 Formons

2012-03-12 :: Reasonable Doubts

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints remains largely mysterious to those of us on the outside. With the help of three former Mormons, we explore the history, rituals and beliefs of the LDS including proxy baptisms for the dead, racial issues, mission trips, and a theology more uncomfortable than any "magical underwear." Also, Rick Santorum's comments about the separation of church and state make us want to throw up and in God Thinks Like You we look at recent claims by Santorum and others that colleges are nothing but liberal atheist factories.…

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rd98 Presuppositional Apologetics part 2

2012-02-22 :: Reasonable Doubts

According to the Transcendental Argument For God (TAG), the principles of Logic, inductive science and morality all depend on the existence the Christian God. In the second part of RD's series on presuppositional apologetics the doubtcasters offer direct challenges to the soundness of the transcendental argument for God as well as several internal critiques of Christianity which show the Christian worldview to be incoherent.…

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rd97 Presuppositional Apologetics part 1

2012-02-09 :: Reasonable Doubts

Most Christian apologists attempt to persuade the skeptic by offering rational arguments for theism. Proof of theism may be possible, they argue, but even if it is not multiple lines of evidence support the reasonableness of the Christian worldview. Presusppositional Apologetics abandons this approach. There is no neutral ground, they say, from which the theist and atheist can argue their claims. Gods existence cannot be proven. We must believe in Him, however, if the world is to make sense at all. According to the Transcendental Argument For God (TAG), the principles of Logic and science both depend on the existence the Christian God. Atheism is a self-refuting belief because one must presuppose theism to even argue against it. For the first episode of this series the doubtcasters present an overview of Presuppositional Apologetics and discuss strategies that atheists should avoid when attempting to counter their claims. For part 2 of the series the doubtcasters will present several challenges to TAG and Presuppositionalism more generally. Also on this episode: creationism bill in Indiana, Amish renegade Johnny Mulet goes on a beard-shaving rampage, a new Pollyatheism and more.…

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rd96 Better Late Than Never

2012-01-25 :: Reasonable Doubts

Fresh from a month long break the doubtcasters return do discus some of the stories they missed while away. The U.S. supreme court has ruled that religious groups have a "ministerial exception" from anti-discrimination laws. We discuss how this ruling might effect those working for religious institutions. Meanwhile, Catholic Charities are closing their doors because they are no longer permitted to receive government funds while discriminating against same-sex couples seeking to adopt children. Hardware superstore Lowes panders to Christian bigots who insist there is no such thing as an "All-American Muslim" even though recent studies suggest otherwise. For this week's God Thinks Like You segment we discuss how secular authority can fill that "God shaped hole" in your life and in Counter-Apologetics we debunk the "King James Bible only" crowd as our belated tribute to the 400th anniversary of that historic document. We end with props for anti-fundamentalist protests in Israel and Jessica Ahlquist who recently succeeded in getting a religious banner removed from her high school.…

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RD Extra: An Atheist's Sermon

2011-12-20 :: Reasonable Doubts

Those who reject religion go by many names; atheist, agnostic, skeptic, freethinker, secular humanist--but please do not call us "unbelievers." If you ask you will find there are many things we believe in. We believe that the natural world , as revealed through science, is more beautiful and inspiring than any mythology. But a world without the supernatural also confronts us with disturbing possibilities. If there is no God then the human story comes with no guarantee of a happy ending. Humanity must solve it's own problems but it's not at all clear we are up to the task. If there is hope, it will be found in those who reject the hollow consolations of faith and choose to press on instead of hoping for a miracle. By living with courage and integrity, pursuing truth for truth's sake, we can make our lives and our world significant.…

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RD Extra: Interview with Jeremiah Banister

2011-12-12 :: Reasonable Doubts

Breaking his silence on the subject of religion after more than a year, a former apologist, conservative activist and Christian radio show host discusses his rejection of religion in this exclusive interview. Jeremiah Bannister has served as a preacher, worked with anti-gay groups, been a presuppositionalist, Calvinist, sedevacantist, and soon will be returning to the airwaves in his new role as a freethinking secularist. Hear his story in this exclusive interview with Reality Check/ Reasonable Doubts.…

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rd95 "180"

2011-12-02 :: Reasonable Doubts

The Doubtcasters take a look at Ray Comfort's film "180" that equates a woman's right to choose with the atrocities of the Holocaust. In God Thinks Like You, Dr. Prof. Luke discusses a new study that finds people view atheists as being as untrustworthy as rapists. The Aztec god Huitzilopochtli will rip your heart out in PolyAtheism. Plus, Obama doesn't acknowledge God in his Thanksgiving address, the Catholic Church goes old school and we answer listener questions about how to deal with the ridiculous and how to find comfort in atheism.…

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rd94 The Gospel of Positive Thinking

2011-11-10 :: Reasonable Doubts

Who says you can't serve both God and Money? Certainly not the 17% of American Christians who believe in the Prosperity Gospel. They think God will reward their faithfulness with great material wealth and a clean bill of health. Millionaire evangelists like Joyce Myer and Joel Osteen offer tips to help you "manifest" Gods blessings in your life by cultivating a positive attitude, banishing self-defeating thoughts and meditating daily on God's desire for you to live an abundant life. But according to Barbara Ehrenreich, it's no coincidence that the prosperity gospel resembles "the power of positive thinking" more than it does the bible. In Blindsided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America Ehrenreich highlights the striking similarities between prosperity preachers and secular self-help gurus while tracing both back to a common ancestor.…

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rd93 No Atheists Allowed

2011-10-26 :: Reasonable Doubts

While on tour promoting his new book "The Magic of Reality" Richard Dawkins found himself banned from a book signing at a Detroit area country club after the owner learned that Dawkins was an atheist. Dawkins called the last-minute cancelation of the event an act of "sheer bigotry" but some insist that a privately owned business has the right to refuse service to atheists. Jennifer Beahan, the assistant director for the Center For Inquiry Michigan, joins us on the show to explain how the law does not allow discrimination against the non-religious and why CFIMI will be filing a lawsuit against the club. Meanwhile the American Cancer Society has also banned the atheist charity Foundation Beyond Belief from joining their "Relay for Life" even though the foundation was planning to raise over half a million dollars for the event. Also on this episode: Richard Dawkins explains why he will not debate apologist William Lane Craig; The connection between intuitive thinking styles and religious belief is explored on this weeks "God Thinks Like You" segment and we examine the "Outsider Test for Faith" proposed by John Loftus in The Christian Delusion.…

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rd92 Atheists in the Pulpit

2011-10-14 :: Reasonable Doubts

Leaving religion can be difficult. It may lead to conflicts with family and friends and the loss of social support--and the more one is involved the deeper the loss. Clergy who silently doubt often feel trapped in a double life. They cannot continue to preach with conviction but they have come to depend on their congregations for financial support. Admitting their doubt could mean losing everything. Ex-minister Dan Barker, (co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and author of the Good Atheist) knows first hand the challenges faced by atheists in the pulpit. He joins us to talk about The Clergy Project--an online support network for ministers who have begun to question the faith. Also on this episode: We discuss the physical cost of leaving groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses on this weeks "God Thinks Like You." Doubtcaster Justin Scheeber takes on William Lane Craig for this weeks Counterapologetics and Fletch brings us a tribute to the Valkyries for a new Polyatheism segment.…

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rd91 View From the Watchtower

2011-09-29 :: Reasonable Doubts

Join us for an interview with a former Jehovahs Witness as he recounts his experiences as an elder within church.…

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rd89 Summer Genocide Series Part 2

2011-08-31 :: Reasonable Doubts

For the second part of RD's Summer Genocide Series the doubtcasters ask what turn to recent findings in archeology which indicate that the genocides in the book of Joshua probably never took place. But if the conquest of Canaan is just legend, what was the real reason for the fall of Canaanite civilization? Where did the ancient Israelites originate and how did the come to occupy that region? And why would the Bible's writers invent the conquest narratives if these events never really happened? Also on this episode: Michele Bachmann provides the doubtcasters with a "target rich environment", plus new "God Thinks Like You" and Pollyatheism segments.…

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rd90 Disgust Discussed

2011-08-15 :: Reasonable Doubts

Ten years have passed since the 9/11 attacks but a large number of Americans still have negative impressions of Muslims. While much of this distrust seems to be related to political ideology and misinformation in the media there are also deeper psychological forces at work. For many Christians, simply reading a passage of the Koran (or Richard Dawkins "The God Delusion") triggers feelings of physical disgust. Atheists are the only other group that face the same kind of popular distrust. That is why the Center For Inquiry is launching a new billboard campaign aimed at challenging negative stereotypes of atheists. The doubtcasters share the local reaction when one of those billboards went up in their hometown of Grand Rapids, MI. Also on this episode: another installment of Polyatheism and some obligatory reflections on the September 11th attacks.…

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rd88 Summer Genocide Series Part 1

2011-08-10 :: Reasonable Doubts

RD kicks off it's "Summer Genocide Series" with a critical review of Paul Copan's book "Is God a Moral Monster?" Copan argues that the holy war waged against the Canaanites was not the blood-soaked genocide that critics of the Bible make it out to be . It was a limited, relatively humane campaign that was morally and spiritually justified. Thom Stark disagrees. He's written a massive point-by-point refutation of Copan's book entitled "Is God a Moral Compromiser?" We'll take a look at Copan's arguments and Stark's response for this weeks Counter-apologetics segment. Also on this episode: the doubtcasters discuss the religion and politics of Anders Breivik and for a new segment of "God Thinks Like You" we share new data which proves fundamentalists are kind and helpful--except towards people who are different from them.…

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RD Extra: Deceived Into Thinking

2011-07-21 :: Reasonable Doubts

This episode features the lecture "Deceived Into Thinking: Teaching Students to Think Critically Through The Study of Deception" presented by Jeremy Beahan to CFI Michigan on May 11th, 2011 Description: After trying (unsuccessfully) to get young students excited about learning informal logic, Jeremy Beahan began flirting with a different strategy. Perhaps a better way to convey the value of fair-minded/ critical thinking would be through the study of its intellectual opposite — deception. This simple idea had a surprisingly strong impact on how students engaged with the material. Instead of endlessly rehearsing procedures for analyzing arguments, students delight in examining real "case studies in deception"-- everyday instances of fraud, distortion, manipulation,self-deceptio?n and group think. Through class activities and assignments students can imaginatively step into the role of the deceiver by learning how to fake psychic powers, perform classic street-cons or twist logic in order to defeat an opponent. Also, when students witness the harm done to individuals and society by deception they can come to see the value of thinking skeptically and work to expose deception in their own community.…

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rd87 The Unintelligent Design of Sex

2011-07-05 :: Reasonable Doubts

The design argument may be the most intuitively appealing argument for the existence of God. Creationists often point to organs such as the human eye as examples of complex systems that could not have arisen by chance. But take a closer look at nature and one will find several instances of "unintelligent design"--design flaws which reveal the blind processes of natural selection at work. For this episode Justin Schieber kicks the design argument in crotch when he brings the debate over design into the arena of human reproductive biology. Also in this episode: Will rejecting belief in free will make you a bad person? We'll look at the latest attempt to discredit determinism for a new installment of "God Thinks Like You" plus Dr. Galen gives his book review of "American Grace" and Zeus makes his debut on Polyatheism.…

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rd86 The Man Who Didn't Sell His Soul on eBay

2011-06-23 :: Reasonable Doubts

Hemant Mehta (author of the friendly atheist blog) was only looking to expand his horizons and raise a little money for a local freethinking student group when he came up with the idea that made him a media sensation. He started a page on eBay where he offered to attend the church of the highest bidder. Stories quickly spread in the media of an atheist "selling his soul" on ebay, which drove the bid higher and higher. Soon Mehta was traveling across the country visiting different churches to make good on his commitment. These church visits became the basis of his book "I Sold My Soul on eBay"--which gave Christians a chance to see church through the eyes of a friendly but critical atheist. For this episode Hemant joins us in the studio to talk about what he saw and how Christian readers reacted to his book.…

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rd85 They Had It Coming

2011-06-07 :: Reasonable Doubts

Life isn't always fair. Sometimes good people suffer needlessly while immoral people prosper. Nevertheless belief in a just world persists. Deep within the human psyche is a strong urge to believe people get what they deserve and while this mentality may bring some comfort to the individual it can also result in victim blaming or turning a blind eye toward real injustice. Unfortunately religion often bolsters just world belief--especially when the believer is forced to reconcile the idea of a righteous God with the reality of suffering. Also on this episode: the doubtcasters remember Jack Kevorkian and argue in favor of allowing physician assisted suicide; the Myan goddess of suicide and a stranger than fiction that will make you loose your head.…

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rd84 Armageddon Outta Here

2011-05-19 :: Reasonable Doubts

On May 22nd, 2011 dozens of people will be disappointed to find that the world is still spinning, hundreds of billboards across the world will look ridiculous and Harold Camping will struggle to find an explanation for how he could have gotten it wrong once again. Yes, yet another "Judgement Day" draws nigh. The Doubtcasters take the opportunity to discuss end of the world prophecies past and present and what happens to the true believers when their dreams of leaving us behind are inevitably dashed. In counter-apologetics Justin takes on the moral argument from a new perspective and asks the question: If Yahweh is so moral, how come people like Abraham and Moses need to remind him to do the right thing? Then in God Thinks Like You, Luke looks at a study that reveals how your view of God affects your moral choices. We offer Props to yet another godless institute of higher learning and making the Shit list is a Southern Baptist minister playing a part in a case of anti-gay international parental kidnapping.…

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rd83 Exodus; Pursued by Pharaoh

2011-04-28 :: Reasonable Doubts

The Biblical account of the Jewish slavery in and exodus from Egypt is regarded by many as a historical fact, give or take a few miracles. But what does modern archaeology have to say on the subject? We dive into the evidence (or lack their of) for this ancient tale. Luke and Justin take on recent criticisms concerning the roots for morality and the sacrificial practices of ancient Jews and early Christians. Dave takes a look at another springtime resurrection god in a PolyAtheism segment and the doubtcasters discuss Terry Jones trip to Michigan, a "miraculously healed" child, and some people in the Philippines who take their Easter celebrations very serisously. Also, more bad news and some potentially good news out of the on-going Catholic sex abuse scandal…

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RD Extra: The Roots of Morality

2011-04-14 :: Reasonable Doubts

This RD Extra features a lecture by Luke Galen entitled The Roots of Morality: Does Religion Play a Role or is the Tail Wagging the Dog. Video of the presentation and a pdf file of Luke's lecture slides are available at www.doubtcast.org Description: In this presentation, Dr. Galen, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology at Grand Valley State University, will consider the root of morality and pro-social behavior. Are we kind and considerate of others because religion creates a set of rules and "commandments" or are these behaviors a natural result of our evolutionary need to live in community? Dr. Galen will also cover related topics such as why humans construct religions and how religion can create prejudicial beliefs and behaviors.…

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rd82 Hell's Bells

2011-03-30 :: Reasonable Doubts

West Michigan's own Rob Bell has a new book out entitled Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Every Person Who Has Ever Lived. The Doubtcasters take the opportunity to revisit Bell's "theology," and take a look at just what it means, historically, to go to Hell. We also discuss a new study which draws the not-so-new conclusion that Yahweh had a wife.…

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rd81 Sacrificial Lambs

2011-03-07 :: Reasonable Doubts

The DoubtCasters take on some of the most bizarre stories in the news recently, including the latest Catholic sex scandal (not what you expect), the latest anti-gay crusader's sex scandal (exactly what you'd expect), the Supreme Court, Fort Bragg, and beyond. Plus, liberal use of the word "booty." In Skeptic's Sunday School Justin takes a look at Jesus' role as a sacrificial lamb. And in God Thinks Like You, Dr. Prof. Luke offers up props to other researchers who think like him and addresses a listener question about Terror Management Theory. We close out the episode with a PolyAtheistic look at the Titan Prometheus and his sacrificial liver.…

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rd80 Faith of the Fatherless

2011-02-28 :: Reasonable Doubts

In his book Faith of the Fatherless, Dr. Paul Vitz explains that atheism is the result of weak, absent or abusive fathers. Dr. Prof. Luke debunks Vitz's 'theory' through the wily use of actual research. In counter-apologetics, Justin offers desire utilitarianism as one approach to morality. And Fletch introduces us to a Celtic love god in PolyAtheism. Also in this episode: Props in Australia and Hawaii, a Stranger Than Fiction that'll help our single fans find like minded dates. And, we open up the Doubtcast Mail Bag and read some of your comments and questions.…

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rd79 Porn, Politics and Perfection

2011-02-10 :: Reasonable Doubts

First we take a look at XXXChurch.com’s latest attempt to dress puritanical sexual politics in a slutty outfit. Then, we take a look at recent events in Egypt and discuss whether or not we should be afraid of Glenn Beck’s Muslim Caliphate taking over the world. In response to listener comments from our previous episode, we take a look at Sarah Palin’s idiocy and look at the data about the claim that the American political Left is just as bad in its violent rhetoric as the Right. In our counter-apologetics segment, Justin Schieber schools apologist William Lane Craig on why there’s something rather than nothing. We wrap up this week with another adventure in the world of PolyAtheism as Fletch tells us the story of Enki, Mesopotamian god of mischief, water and incestuous rape.…

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rd78 Why Bother?

2011-01-24 :: Reasonable Doubts

Getting into debates over religion can be frustrating and people rarely ever change their minds. So why bother? What would an atheist possibly hope to achieve by debating religious apologists? Justin Schieber has had plenty of time to ponder those questions. He represents the atheist viewpoint for a monthly debate series called "A Christian and an Atheist walk into a Coffee Shop." For this episode the doubtcasters are joined by Justin for a roundtable discussion on the joys and frustrations of debate. Also on this episode: the latest development in the Catholic child-abuse scandal and inspiring proof that moderate Muslims do exist.…

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RD Extra: Stem Cell Research Update

2011-01-15 :: Reasonable Doubts

With exiting new developments in stem cell research hitting the media, we thought it would be a great time to revisit the science behind the controversy. Is stem cell therapy really the panacea it's advocates claim it to be? How is an embryonic stem cell different from an adult stem cell and is experimentation on embryos really necessary? For this RD extra, Dr. Greg Forbes gives us an overview of the current state of stem cell research. *The doubtcasters want to thank loyal RD fans for their patience during our recent unannounced hiatus. Look for regular shows to resume within the next week.…

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RD Extra: Carl Sagan Day 2010

2010-12-23 :: Reasonable Doubts

This extra was recorded at the Carl Sagan Day 2010 celebration hosted by the CFI On Campus group at Grand Valley State University. Doubtcasters Luke Galen and Jeremy Beahan share their respect for Carl Sagan with two short presentations. Luke talks about Sagan's "baloney detection kit" and Jeremy shares his favorite passages from Sagan's 1985 Gifford lecture series on natural theology.…

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rd77 Every Thought Captive

2010-12-22 :: Reasonable Doubts

A broad secular education can undermine dogmatic religious faith. Knowing this many conservative Christians choose to isolate their children intellectually through homeschooling or enrolling them in religious private schools and Christian colleges. Such children can reach adulthood without ever being challenged to think critically about their religious or political beliefs. In some cases they are recruited directly from Christian colleges into republican politics for that very reason. For this episode the doubtcasters examine this process of indoctrination and argue that it is a threat public education as well. Also on this episode: the religious right's reaction to the U.S. midterm election results and a counter-apologetics segment debunking "beatific vision" theodicies. We also introduce and a brand new segment on mythology called "polyAtheism"…

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rd76 Religious Illiteracy

2010-12-21 :: Reasonable Doubts

America is one of the most devout nations in the west but it also has one of the lowest levels of religious literacy. According to the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey published by the Pew Research Center most Americans cannot correctly answer simple questions about their own faith. But America was not always this way…what changed? Stephen Prothero attempts to answer this question in his book "Religious Literacy". For this episode the doubtcasters discuss the Pew Survey and offer a short synopsis and critique of Prothero's ideas. Also on this episode: the fundamentalist response the recent string of gay suicides, the Crystal Cathedral goes bankrupt and a renegade Christian filmmaker discovers the founder's dark secret.…

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RD Extra: Is Christianity Rational

2010-12-20 :: Reasonable Doubts

On October 7'th Jeremy Beahan debated Cliff Knechtle (of Give Me an Answer Ministries) on the question "Is Christianity Rational." The debate covered the following topics: the existence of God, the historical reliability of the gospels and the historicity of the resurrection. The debate was organized by Epic: the college ministry of Riverview Church in Lansing. Chuck Wynn moderated the debate.…

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rd75 Confession of a Buddhist Atheist part 2

2010-12-19 :: Reasonable Doubts

While the doctrines of early Buddhism were pragmatic, skeptical and humanistic it did not take long for Buddhism to acquire the familiar trappings of an organized religion. Just a few hundred years after the Buddha's death many of his followers began to teach that the Buddha was not an ordinary human but rather a supernatural being living in a celestial realm. Mahayana Buddhists believed that they too could acquire supernatural powers by earning merit and becoming Bodhisattvas. How did Buddhism stray so far from the teachings of its founder? What happens when western converts to Buddhism start to question its metaphysical assumptions? Stephen Batchelor, former Buddhist monk and author of "Confession of a Buddhist Atheist", answers these questions and makes the case that Buddhism must become secularized if it is to remain relevant in our modern world.…

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rd74 Mindfulness

2010-12-18 :: Reasonable Doubts

For this, the second in a three part series on Buddhism, the doubtcasters turn their attention to the Noble Eightfold Path and its emphasis on mental discipline. While some meditation techniques aim at achieving deep trance-like states, Vipassana or "mindfulness" meditation is relatively free of mysticism. The goal of mindfulness is to carefully observe every aspect of ones experience in order to break free from habitual patterns of thought and behavior which cause suffering. In recent years, mindfulness has become popular in western therapeutic circles. Many insist that meditation is an effective treatment for a variety of mental health problems including depression and anxiety disorders. Is there any solid data to support these claims or is mindfulness meditation just the latest fad in a long series of pseudoscientific psychotherapies?…

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rd73 Confession of a Buddhist Atheist

2010-12-17 :: Reasonable Doubts

Stephen Batchelor, author of "Confession of a Buddhist Atheist" joins us for the first installment of a three part series on Buddhism. Batchelor, a former monk in both the Tibetan and Zen traditions, was trained by monks in the Dali Lama's inner circle. Over time he began to doubt many core doctrines of Buddhism when he found they could not withstand the test of reason. This crisis of faith prompted him to closely examine the earliest Buddhist texts. In them he found a very different conception of the Buddha and his teachings--one that is surprisingly humanistic. Also in this episode: the doubtcasters give a thumbnail sketch of the religious and social context of early Buddhism and a summery of Buddhist doctrines such as "the three marks of existence" and "the four noble truths".…

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rd72 Cutting

2010-12-16 :: Reasonable Doubts

Each year 2 million women worldwide are subjected to the practice of female circumcision, sometimes called "cutting" (we prefer the term Female Genital Mutilation). This brutal practice is not limited to the Islamic world. As many as 2,000 British school girls may be forced to undergo this horrific procedure over the summer. Apologists for Islam claim FGM is a cultural practice, not a religious requirement while some cultural relativists argue FGM is just a different way of celebrating womanhood and should not be condemned by western outsiders. By addressing these claims, the doubtcasters make their case that Religion may not be the sole source of sexism but it is the greatest obstacle in challenging patriarchy. Also on this episode: the overturning of California proposition 8 may set the stage for legalizing gay marriage nationwide. Also a new "stranger than fiction"…

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RD Extra: Which Jesus?

2010-12-15 :: Reasonable Doubts

The following is a lecture entitled "Which Jesus: Examining Diffrences in the Gospel Narratives" by Jeremy Beahan recorded at CFI Michigan. A pdf file of the PowerPoint slides for this lecture is available at www.doubtcast.org Description: Christian apologists spend time and ink trying to smooth over the many contradictions within the Gospel narratives. But according to biblical critics, such discrepancies hold the key to understanding how stories of Jesus evolved. This lecture will examine some of the methods used in redaction criticism and the patterns they reveal when applied to the gospels.…

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rd71 Reason Behind Bars with guest Michael DeWilde

2010-12-14 :: Reasonable Doubts

Two decades ago David Berkowitz, the infamous "Son of Sam" serial killer, became a born-again Christian in what may be the most publicized jailhouse conversion of our time. For many his story proves religion's power to transform the lives of even the most hardened criminals. Today groups like Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship Ministries aim to convert inmates while seeking public funds for their sectarian programs. But are these programs as successful at lowering recidivism rates as they claim? And are there any secular alternatives to such programs? Dr. Michael DeWilde, founder of the Community Working Classics Program, joins us to discuss the joys and challenges of teaching philosophy to prison inmates. Also on this episode: American evangelicals are meddling in foreign affairs from Uganda to Palestine; plus a new "Stranger Than Fiction"…

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rd70 Accommodationism with guest Chris Mooney

2010-12-13 :: Reasonable Doubts

Are Science and Religion compatible? The New Atheists argue that a proper understanding of science undermines faith. But according to atheists such as Chris Mooney (author of Unscientific America and host of CFI's podcast Point of Inquiry) not only are science and moderate religion compatible , but the uncompromising rhetoric and harsh tone of the New Atheists "can only damage the cause of scientific literacy." For this episode, the doubtcasters share their take on the "accommodationist" vs "confrontationist" debate. Also on this episode: a critical look at the Templeton Foundation and we look at the psychology of persuasion for a new installment of God Thinks Like You.…

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RD Extra: Denying Death

2010-07-08 :: Reasonable Doubts

Forty years ago Ernest Becker theorized in his "Denial of Death" that our culture and our cherished worldviews serve the purpose of maintaining our self-esteem and sense of meaning in the face of inevitable death and insignificance. More recently a body of work in the social sciences called "Terror Management Theory" has lent empirical evidence to these provocative ideas. The unconscious anxiety about our own mortality has been linked to group conflict, aggression against those who challenge our worldview, denial of our animal nature including the theory of evolution, and the unreasonable belief that the world is predictable and just.…

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rd69 Determinator 4 - Rise of the Machines

2010-06-14 :: Reasonable Doubts

Through billions of years of evolution, small molecular machines have acquired an amazing range of abilities including the capacity to think, feel and change. For this episode the doubtcasters once again return to the subject of determinism--answering questions from our listeners about Jeremy's debate with Don Johnson. Also on this episode: a witch hunt in Nigeria targets young children, Muslims consider creative ways around Sharia law, and we'll explore the connection between atheism and Asperger's syndrome for this weeks installment of God Thinks Like You.…

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RD Extra: Jeremy's appearance on the Don Johnson Radio Show

2010-06-07 :: Reasonable Doubts

Recently the Don Johnson Radio show (a Christian apologetics podcast) devoted an episode to critiquing the doubtcaster's case for determinism (made in episodes 29, 30, 34). After several listeners of both shows asked for a follow up, Don Johnson graciously allowed Jeremy from RD to come on the show and clarify his position. The conversation generated "more heat than light" but we submit it for your listing (dis)pleasure.…

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rd68 A New Kind of Christianity with guest Brian McLaren

2010-05-24 :: Reasonable Doubts

Brian McLaren, evangelical author and leading voice in the "emergent church" movement, is creating controversy with his latest book "A New Kind of Christianity." Some evangelicals see McLaren as a wolf in sheep's clothing. He rejects the notion of a vengeful God that would punish all non-Christians with eternal torment. He questions traditional evangelical doctrines like original sin and the inerrancy of the Bible and he argues in favor of a number of (gasp!) progressive political causes. McLaren joins us on the show to discuss his perspective on Christianity and the Bible. Also in this episode: for a new installment of "God Thinks like You" we critique a recent Christianity Today article "the Case for Early Marriage" and discuss research regarding "blue state" vs. "red state" views on marriage and divorce.…

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rd67 Creationism vs Psychology Part 2 with guest Steven Novella

2010-05-10 :: Reasonable Doubts

Not content with attacking evolution, the Discovery Institute and its cultural allies are taking aim at psychology. Believing that any naturalistic approach to psychology is inherently biased against religion they seek to overturn the "materialist paradigm" in neuroscience and replace it with their own version of mind-body dualism. For the second part of a two part series, the doubtcasters are joined by Dr. Steven Novella, author of the Neurologica Blog and host of the Skeptic's Guide to the Universe. Novella refutes ID nonsense by showing how successful the naturalistic approach in neuroscience has been.…

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rd66 Creationism vs Psychology Part 1

2010-04-12 :: Reasonable Doubts

Not content with attacking evolution, the Discovery Institute and its cultural allies are taking aim at psychology. Believing that any naturalistic approach to psychology is inherently biased against religion they seek to overturn the "materialist paradigm" in neuroscience and replace it with their own version of mind-body dualism. For the first of a two part series, the doubtcasters critique a paper by Dr. Brent D. Slife who wishes to replace the scientific foundations of psychology with his own theistic assumptions. Also on this episode: the radical Christian militia Hutaree both shocks and amuses, and somehow things manage to get even worse for Pope Benedict XVI in our follow up to the "Scandal" episode.…

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rd65 Scandal

2010-03-29 :: Reasonable Doubts

The Catholic child abuse scandal which began decades ago in the United States has now gone international. In the past few months hundreds of accusations have been made in Ireland, the Netherlands, Austria and Germany. Alarming new evidence suggests Pope Benedict himself ignored, refused to discipline and even approved the transfer of known pedophiles in the Church. Defenders of the Church claim the anti-catholic media is conducting a smear campaign. Abuse is no greater in the Catholic Church than any similar institution and Benedict, they say, has been at the forefront of efforts to reform church laws and prevent abuse. Join us as we counter these claims by reviewing available research on child abuse, the history of the scandal, and the details of Ratzingers own involvement. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd64 Rewriting History

2010-03-19 :: Reasonable Doubts

For years the religious right has argued, in clear contradiction of our secular constitution, that the founders intended America to be a Christian Nation. Tired of fighting against history, the Texas Board of Education has decided to simply rewrite it. Topping their list of inconvenient facts that need to be removed from the history books is Thomas Jefferson and the enlightenment roots of his thought. Unfortunately Texas sets the tone for textbooks nationwide. But could secularists be just as guilty of rewriting history? David Bentley Hart thinks so. His book, Atheist Delusions: the Christian Revolution and it's Fashionable Enemies, is the subject of this weeks Counter-Apologetics segment. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd63 Zeitgeist Debunked

2010-03-05 :: Reasonable Doubts

Since its release in 2007 the internet film Zeitgeist has been seen by 50 million people around the world. The film attacks the foundations of Christianity by claiming that the historical Jesus never existed. Jesus was originally a solar deity, whose story closely parallels several other pagan gods. The story of Jesus life is best understood as an astrological analogy. When the first Council of Nicaea met in 325 under the direction of the Roman Emperor Constantine, the Christ myth was rewritten as if it were real historical fact. While some of the ideas in the Zeitgeist film are based in fact, others are pure fiction. Tim Callahan, religion editor for Skeptic Magazine, joins us on the show to share his critique of the film. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd62 Religion and Society

2010-02-18 :: Reasonable Doubts

Is religion necessary for a society to flourish? The research of Gregory Paul suggests the most secular, non-religious countries are also the most healthy. But not everyone is convinced. Critics have accused Paul of cherry picking the evidence that best supports his own views. But the critics fail to mention that other researchers have discovered the same relationship using different methods. Tom Rees from the Epiphenom blog, joins us on the show to discuss this research and to share the results of his own study which explored the connection between income inequality and religious belief within a society. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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RD Extra: Getting Into Someones Genes

2010-02-12 :: Reasonable Doubts

Ever wonder why you find that special someone so alluring? The answer may be in their genes. This Valentines day the doubtcasters invite you to learn about the Darwinian side of attraction with Dr. Gregory Forbes, Professor of Biology at Grand Rapids Community College and former Education Director for the Michigan Evolution Education Initiative. The following is a long excerpt from his lecture Mate Choice and Sex: Getting Into Someone's Genes.…

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rd61 The Curious Case of Robert P. George

2010-02-05 :: Reasonable Doubts

Robert P. George, professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University, is considered by some to be the “most influential conservative Christian thinker” in America. In recent years he has advanced sophisticated arguments against abortion, embryonic stem-cell research and gay marriage. The key to Robert George’s appeal is his unique brand of Natural Law ethics. He doesn’t appeal to faith, scripture or Church doctrine to advance his arguments. He invokes “no authority beyond the authority of reason itself.” For this episode the doubtcasters examine George’s complicated (and frankly bizarre) argument against gay marriage.…

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RD Extra: Defending the West

2010-01-28 :: Reasonable Doubts

Recently Ed Brayton, author of the "Dispatches From the Culture Wars" blog and host of WPRR's weekly show Declaring Independence, interviewed Ibn Warraq on a variety of subjects concerning Islam. These were subjects that were not covered in RD #60, including Warraq's most recent book "Defending the West." The doubtcasters would like to thank Brayton for allowing us to share the interview with our listeners. Reasonable Doubt will return next week with episode 61: The Currious Case of Robert P. George.…

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rd60 Koranic Criticism with guest Ibn Warraq

2010-01-19 :: Reasonable Doubts

Most Muslims believe the Koran was dictated by God--word for word, in Arabic-- to Muhammad through the archangel Gabriel. For years Koranic scholars (even in western, secular institutions) have been reluctant to challenge this notion. But now a handful of academics are applying the same critical methods used in biblical studies to the study of the Koran. Koranic criticism is still in its infancy but scholars are already discovering facts which radically challenge the traditional account. Ibn Warraq, author of "Why I am Not a Muslim" and "What Does the Koran Really Say" joins us on the show to discuss some of these findings. The doubtcasters would like to encourage RD listeners to donate what they can to S.H.A.R.E (Skeptics and Humanists Aid and Relief Effort) to help the victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti. Visit www.doubtcast.org for details.…

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RD Extra: the Pseudoscience Fair

2010-01-13 :: Reasonable Doubts

Typically on RD we aim our skepticism towards claims that are religious in nature. But for this RD extra we focus instead on some of the more common targets for skeptics: alternative medicine, the paranormal, and other fringe claims. It was all for the Pseudoscience Fair, an event organized by the CFI On Campus group at Grand Valley State University. What you will hear first is Luke Galen on the psychology behind pseudoscientific beliefs and followed by Jeremy Beahan on how to distinguish between genuine science and pseudoscience. Then at the end there is a brief panel discussion between Jeremy, Luke and Dr. Paul Critelli (a psychiatrist, Magician and mentalist who currently lives in the West Michigan Area). Thanks for listening, we'll be back next week with episode 60 of Reasonable Doubts. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd59 Parenting

2009-12-30 :: Reasonable Doubts

On this special episode, we take a look at the issue of freethought parenting. Joined by Dale McGowan, editor and co-author of Parenting Beyond Belief, The Freethought Mom Squad and some actual children, we discuss many of the issues facing non-religious parents including: the fear of indoctrination, how to have religiously literate children, being an outspoken atheist while still being a good parent, raising moral kids and how to deal with the ever important Santa question. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd58 WWJD

2009-12-08 :: Reasonable Doubts

What would Jesus do? Many freethinkers who doubt the divinity of Jesus nevertheless believe he was one of the great ethical teachers of all time. For this episode the doubtcasters examine the gospels to determine if such praise is deserved. But first, Jamie Deleeuw joins us on the show to discuss her research on how dogmatism relates to the creationism vs evolution debate. Also on this episode: a disturbing update on the Catholic Church child abuse scandals in Ireland; Iraq tries a clever new strategy for reducing sectarian strife and Pentecostal rappers present a more godly way to hug.…

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rd57 Mere Apologetics with guest DJ Grothe

2009-11-16 :: Reasonable Doubts

C.S. Lewis may be the most celebrated Christian apologist of our time. His reputation for thoughtfulness and eloquence of speech has earned him many admirers even amongst non-believers. For this episode the doubtcasters consider the main argument of his most popular apologetic work, Mere Christianity. Lewis claims there is a Moral Law, known to all human beings, which must be the creation of a divine mind. DJ Grothe (The host of CFI’s radio show and podcast Point of Inquiry) disagrees. Though an admirer of Lewis, Grothe sees no evidence of a Moral Law. Nevertheless, he believes we can still have an objective basis for our ethics without it. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd56 Degrees of Faith with guest Michael Shermer

2009-11-03 :: Reasonable Doubts

Does it take faith to be an atheist? Does the skeptic place their faith in science and rationality in the same way believers trust God? Michael Shermer, editor of Skeptic Magazine and author of How We Believe, joins us on the show to discuss the nature of faith, skepticism and belief. Also on this episode: Blasphemy gets a second chance, Scientology takes a hit in France, Conservapedia makes a bible, NPR makes our shitlist and there will be blood in the strangest “Stranger Than Fiction” yet.…

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rd55 From Darwin to Hitler

2009-10-20 :: Reasonable Doubts

Did Darwin inspire the atrocities of the Third Reich? Richard Weikart’s book From Darwin to Hitler claims “In Hitler's mind Darwinism provided the moral justification for infanticide, euthanasia, genocide, and other policies that had been considered immoral by more conventional moral standards.” For this episode the doubtcasters draw upon the research of R.G. Price, Adrian Desmond, James Moore and the writings of Darwin himself to counter Weikart’s claims. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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RD Extra: Godless Blasphemers

2009-10-13 :: Reasonable Doubts

Unfortunately our schedules are getting very busy right now so there will not be a new episode this week as originally planed. Look for episode 55 of Reasonable Doubts (which discusses Darwin's views on race) next week. In the meantime please enjoy this extra material 1. William Crawley from the BBC show Everyday Ethics interviews RD's Luke Galen about the Profiles of the Godless survey. 2. Jeremy Beahan's speech to Blasphemy Bash, an event hosted by Grand Valley State Universities CFI On Campus group to celebrate Blasphemy Day International 2009.…

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rd54 In Defense of Blasphemy

2009-09-29 :: Reasonable Doubts

On September 30th 2005 a Danish newspaper released cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed. Many blamed the cartoonists for the deadly protests that soon spread throughout the Muslim world. Tom Flynn joins us on the show to explain his decision to re-print the cartoons in Free Inquiry Magazine. He also explains the purpose behind International Blasphemy Day 2009 and Center For Inquiry’s Campaign for Free Expression. Also on the show Ed Brayton, author of the Dispatches From the Culture Wars blog, interviews Ayaan Hirsi Ali about her outspoken criticism of Islam and passionate defense of free speech and women’s rights. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd53 The Disunity of the Bible part2 with guest Robert M. Price

2009-09-20 :: Reasonable Doubts

Apologist Josh McDowell claims that although the bible was “composed by men, its unity betrays the hand of the almighty…there is complete harmony which cannot be explained by coincidence or collusion.” For a two part Skeptics Sunday School we expose the bible for what it really is: a loosely edited collection of discrepant accounts and contradictory claims—a disunity repudiating all claims of divine inspiration. Part two examines contradictions between the epistles of Paul, the gospels and other New Testament writings. Dr. Robert Price (from the Bible Geek podcast) joins us on the show to discuss his upcoming book The Amazing Colossal Apostle. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd52 The Disunity of the Bible part1

2009-09-15 :: Reasonable Doubts

Apologist Josh McDowell claims that although the bible was "composed by men, its unity betrays the hand of the almighty…there is complete harmony which cannot be explained by coincidence or collusion.” For a two part Skeptics Sunday School we expose the bible for what it really is: a loosely edited collection of discrepant accounts and contradictory claims—a disunity that repudiates all claims of divine inspiration. Part one examines the sources, themes and disharmonies in the Hebrew Bible. But why then do so many people perceive unity in the bible? We will tackle that question for this weeks "God Thinks Like You.” Also on this episode: a special back-to-school edition of the shitlist. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd51 Don't Fear The Reaper

2009-09-04 :: Reasonable Doubts

The human beast’s most primal fear is of its own mortality. Religion's function is to deny this reality, through the promise of an afterlife…at least that is what Freud and many others have speculated. But is there any science to back up this claim? Terror Management Theory (TMT) attempts to explain how religion, and ones worldview more generally, can allay fears of death by offering either literal or symbolic forms of immortality. But easing this death anxiety can come at great cost: simplicity in thinking, deference to authority, hostility towards outsiders. For this episode the doubtcasters discuss TMT research and perhaps it’s most controversial finding: fear of death is closely tied with not just religious conservatism, but political conservatism as well. Also on this episode: a Skeptics Sunday School which explores views of the afterlife in the Hebrew Bible and listener T. Robinson offers up this week’s Gospel of Doubt. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd50 God, Gays and Gunmen

2009-08-28 :: Reasonable Doubts

For their 50th episode the doubtcasters barely take a breath. What arguments against the existence of God do you find the most persuasive? Is there anything that could change your mind? Join us for a candid (if sometimes rambling) discussion about theism, atheism and the nature of evidence. Also in this episode: the motivation behind Blackwater founder Eric Prince’s bloody religious crusade is revealed and the American Psychological Association comes out against "therapies” that purport to turn gays straight. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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RD Bonus Episode: RD's Speech to CFI Michigan

2009-08-21 :: Reasonable Doubts

Back in June the doubtcasters were invited by CFI Michigan to give a presentation about the podcast. Here is a recording of that speech entitled "Reasonable Doubts: Answering the Apologists." It's an overview of the show's content including our favorite topics from past episodes. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd49 Liars for Jesus with guest Chris Rodda

2009-08-06 :: Reasonable Doubts

Chris Rodda, MRFF researcher and author of Liars for Jesus, joins us on the show. She exposes the right wing theocrats who are rewriting history claiming America was founded to be a Christian nation. The NCBCPS Bible as Literature curriculum has already introduced these fictions into public schools across the nation. Making things worse, the Texas Board of Education has hired historical revisionist David Barton to review the state's social studies curriculum. Rodda explains what this could mean for textbook publishers in the United States. Also in this episode: the doubtcasters answer email criticizing their case for vegetarianism. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd48 Cults

2009-07-30 :: Reasonable Doubts

What is a cult and how is it different from a religion? Recent revelations about the Church of Scientology provide a frightening example of how cult leaders can manipulate their flock using basic principles of group psychology. Later we talk to a RD listener who is trying to leave the Mormon church, and finding that it is harder than one would think. Finally, a former Jehovah's Witness asks for advice on how to convince his younger brother to leave the sect. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd47 Anything Goes

2009-07-24 :: Reasonable Doubts

How do you argue with someone who does not appreciate the value of reason and evidence? If personal feelings are allowed to trump logic, if myth is elevated to the same status as science—then anything goes. The new age "integral movement” and the postmodern "emerging church” movement both claim to offer a more open, affirming (and trendy) spirituality. But is there any substance behind the style? Also on this episode: A young atheist wants advice on speaking to religious relatives; plus a new gospel of doubt. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd46 The Family with guest Jeff Sharlet

2009-07-16 :: Reasonable Doubts

Jeff Sharlet joins us on the show to discuss his disturbing book "The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power". This elite but secretive cult, which some of its own members describe as a "Christian Mafia,” works behind the scenes in Washington to advance "biblical capitalism” and the "totalitarianism of Christ.” But is the Family real or is it just the latest delusion of conspiracy theorists? Also: did the Protestant work ethic fuel the rise of capitalism in Europe? We have our doubts. Plus a stranger than fiction and this week’s Gospel of Doubt. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd45 Christian Zionism

2009-07-03 :: Reasonable Doubts

For this episode we take a look at the tension between Israel and Palestine paying special attention to how Christian Zionists are perpetuating the conflict through their unconditional support for Israel. We also answer some listener email, explain why Buddhism is on both the props and shit-list for this week, and we introduce a new segment—the Gospel of Doubt. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd44 Sex, Drugs and Rock n' Roll with guest Ethan Nadelmann

2009-06-26 :: Reasonable Doubts

Religion gets in the way of having fun. But for this special vice episode the doubtcasters celebrate those sins that can bring so much joy to our lives. We begin by exploring XXXChurch.com (the leading Christian porn site) which offers old time sexual repression in a hip new trendy package. We also discuss the religious roots of drug prohibition with Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. We conclude the episode with a selection, chosen by our listeners, of some of the best freethinking music out there. We hope you enjoy our goofy, irreverent (and hopefully informative) celebration of vice. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd43 Stewards of this Earth

2009-06-19 :: Reasonable Doubts

As citizens of earth we all have a responsibility to protect the planet. But even today many maintain the Judeo-Christian belief that God granted human beings dominion over the whole of creation—that the earth exists for our benefit. For philosophical naturalists, evolution compels us to confront the fact that we are not fundamentally different from non-human animals. As fully natural beings must consider how our attitudes and actions impact other species and the environment as a whole. An increasing number of Christian evangelicals are also reevaluating their attitudes towards the environment and are rejecting dominion for a new concept—stewardship. For this episode we examine the new “green” evangelicalism, and challenge our fellow skeptics to consider the moral implications of our kinship with all life. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd42 Onward Christian Soldiers

2009-06-05 :: Reasonable Doubts

Over the past month a series of disturbing revelations put the subject of Christian militarism back in the headlines. So for this episode the Doubtcasters revisit "the Lords Army.” When historically did Christian fundamentalism take root in the American Armed Forces? Can we expect any changes with this new administration? And for a new "God thinks like you” segment, we examine the dangerous connection between pre-millennial eschatology and nuclear war. Also, for this week’s "Skeptics Sunday School” we take a look at the biblical passage known as the "great commission” and why it’s highly unlikely Jesus would have taught such a thing. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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RD Bonus Episode: Guest Appearance on "Faith and Reason"

2009-05-22 :: Reasonable Doubts

The Reasonable Doubts crew were recently guests on the "Faith and Reason" radio show hosted by Bill Freeman. Since we often focus on the claims of fundamentalists and conservative Christians this was our chance to engage with the ideas of with religious liberals. As we quickly discovered this is not as easy as it sounds. But we've offered it up for your listening "pleasure." After listening please share any tips you might have for nailing Jello to a wall. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd41 A Friendly Interview With David Myers

2009-05-15 :: Reasonable Doubts

For this episode we interview Dr. David Myers, Professor of Psychology at Hope College, contributor to Skeptic Magazine and author of “A Friendly Letter to Skeptics and Atheists: Why God is Good and Faith Isn’t Evil.” Myers explains how his experience as a psychologist and promoter of critical thinking has influenced his religious faith. Also, the Doubtcasters engage Myer in a friendly debate over what role religion itself plays in making people “happy, healthy and helpful.” Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd40 Unintelligible God

2009-05-08 :: Reasonable Doubts

What do people mean when they say they believe in God? Supernatural, incorporeal, immutable, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent—it’s easy to rattle off a list of divine attributes. We can say these words but do we really understand what they mean? For this episode the Doubtcasters examine the god concept itself—his metaphysical nature, abilities and attributes—to see if they can meet even the most minimal standards for coherence and intelligibility. Also for this episode, we discuss listener emails and look at the connection between church attendance and support for torture. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd39 Holier Than Thou

2009-04-25 :: Reasonable Doubts

Does Atheism result in immorality? Christian apologists are using two surveys to argue that Christians value moral behavior more than the non-religious. For another "God Thinks Like You" the doubtcasters remind the holier-than-thou crowd that "Ye shall judge them by their fruit." Also, apologist William Lane Craig's case that a loving God is consistent with the idea of hell is also challenged for this weeks Counter-apologetics segment. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd38 Women

2009-04-16 :: Reasonable Doubts

Women have suffered more from organized religion than any other group. So for this episode the Doubtcasters examine the scriptural roots of male dominance in both the Bible and the Quran. We also take a look at the “quiverfull” movement, which condemns birth control and encourages women to view their "wombs as weapons” against secular society. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd37 Resistance with guest PZ Myers

2009-04-09 :: Reasonable Doubts

From India to Iowa courageous men and women are speaking out and fighting back against religious intimidation and repression. For this episode, the Doubtcasters share some of these inspiring stories. PZ Myers, author of the science blog Pharyngula, joins us in the studio to discuss what needs to happen next in the struggle against dogma. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd36 Get to Know a Fallacy

2009-03-21 :: Reasonable Doubts

On this episode we introduce a new segment called "get to know a fallacy." For the first installment we examine false analogies in the design arguments of William Paley and Dinesh D'Souza. But first join us for a new installment of God Thinks Like You where we explain why, to the brain, God is just another guy. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd34 Determinism...One Last Time

2009-02-19 :: Reasonable Doubts

Never before in the history of the show, have we received such a strong and mixed response from our listeners as we did with our two part series on the subject of free will and determinism. So for this episode the doubtcasters, as promised, respond to our listeners emails. Also, we take a look at "Ten Books that Screwed Up the World" and explain why President Obama is once again on Reasonable Doubts shitlist. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd33 Darwin Day with Ed Brayton and Ken Miller

2009-02-12 :: Reasonable Doubts

To celebrate the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin Ed Brayton, author of ScienceBlogs popular blog Dispatches from the Culture Wars, joins us to talk about his new radio show and podcast Declaring Independence. He shares with us a fascinating interview with Ken Miller, critic of Intelligent Design and author of the new book Only a Theory. Miller explains the findings of a paper that was devastating to the notion of irreducible complexity, a paper written by none other than Intelligent Design advocate Michael Behe. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd32 Profiles of the Godless

2009-02-05 :: Reasonable Doubts

This week we're going to take a break from our usual format to bring to you a lecture recently delivered to CFI Michigan by Reasonable Doubts co-host Luke Galen. Luke has just completed the most comprehensive survey to date on the Non-Religious. The results provide some answers to questions such as How are non religious individuals viewed by the broader community? What differentiates religious and non religious individuals within the same community? Are there sub groups within the non religious community, and are there any differences between atheists, agnostics and humanists? Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd31 Obamination

2009-01-29 :: Reasonable Doubts

Barack Obama has been president for barely a week, yet the religious right has already ramped up their rhetoric to hysterical levels. For this episode we examine their claim that Obama’s reversal of the "Global Gag Rule" on family planning funding represents an assault on human life. Also we look to the New Testament and ask whether Christianity is more compatible with capitalism or socialism for another installment of the Skeptic’s Sunday School. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd35 Speechless

2009-01-27 :: Reasonable Doubts

According to the American Family Association's new documentary "Speechless: Silencing The Christians" Homosexual advocates are using sophisticated propaganda techniques to manipulate the public into accepting the homosexual lifestyle as normal and harmless. As a result Christians are now being stereotyped by the media as being intolerant bigots clearing the way for persecution at the hands of homosexual advocates who use hate speech laws to silence Christian's free speech rights and suppress their freedom of religion. For this episode the Doubtcasters set the record straight by exposing the exaggerated claims, cherry-picked evidence and anti-gay pseudoscience in the film speechless. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd30 FWvD2: Judgement Day

2009-01-22 :: Reasonable Doubts

Having argued for determinism, the doubtcasters now turn to its implications. Is moral responsibility possible in a deterministic universe? Could justice and self-knowledge still be achieved if free will is just an illusion? Tom Clark, Director of the Center For Naturalism joins us on the show to explain how adopting a consistently naturalistic worldview would transform our view of society and ourselves. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd29 Free Willy vs The Determinator

2009-01-15 :: Reasonable Doubts

Does every person possess a immaterial soul capable of making free choices or are we all just electrified meat--slaves to brute causality? For this episode, the doubtcasters draw upon arguments from philosophy and psychology to make the case for determinism. But if a naturalistic outlook rules out freedom of the will is morality still possible? Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd28 Nothing For Christmas with guest Nica Lalli

2008-12-23 :: Reasonable Doubts

Nica Lalli Author of "Nothing: Something to Believe In" joins us in the studio to talk about art, the holidays and raising freethinking children. Also in this episode are holiday editions of the "props/s***list" and "stranger than fiction" segments.…

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rd27 Cross-Examining the Four Witnesses part 2

2008-12-10 :: Reasonable Doubts

Does the New Testament provide a clear and accurate portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth? If the gospels provide the testimony of four independent witnesses who overwhelmingly agree on the details, as apologists claim, then we would have reason to trust these accounts. But modern biblical scholarship paints a radically different picture of the gospels, their origins and historical accuracy. In this, the second of a two part series, the Doubtcasters consider and respond to recent counter-arguments offered by prominent Christian apologists. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd26 Cross-examining the Four Witnesses part 1

2008-11-25 :: Reasonable Doubts

Does the New Testament provide a clear and accurate portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth? If the gospels provide the testimony of four independent witnesses who overwhelmingly agree on the details, as apologists claim, then we would have reason to trust these accounts. But modern biblical scholarship paints a radically different picture of the gospels, their origins and historical accuracy. In this, the first of a two part series, the Doubtcasters draw upon the insights of biblical criticism to challenge the reliability of the gospel narratives. For part two of the series, the Doubtcasters will consider and respond to recent counter-arguments offered by prominent Christian apologists. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd25 Bioethics and Belief with guest Ron Lindsay

2008-11-12 :: Reasonable Doubts

Embryonic stem-cell research, assisted dying, human enhancements and genetically modified foods. Is it possible to have a constructive moral and legal dialogue about such controversial bioethical issues without being derailed by religious and ideological dogmas? Ron Lindsay, author of Future Bioethics: Overcoming Taboos, Myths and Dogmas joins us on the show to explain how we could resolve these controversies without presupposing either a religious or non-religious worldview.Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd24 Halloween Special

2008-10-28 :: Reasonable Doubts

Zombies, demons, Satan, witches, ritual abuse, Mel Gibson and more...this episode's a nightmare. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd23 Plantinga Schmantinga

2008-10-20 :: Reasonable Doubts

By popular demand, the Doubtcasters present their critique of Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism (EAAN). This celebrated argument attempts to demonstrate that natural selection, if unguided by god, could not produce beings with reliable cognitive faculties capable of discerning the truth. But is EAAN all its cracked up to be? Also on this episode: The Doubtcasters consider William Lane Craig's rebuttal to Euthyphro's Dilemma, answer listener e-mails, and discuss Bill Maher's new movie Religulous. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd22 God, Sarah Palin and Other Failures with guest Victor Stenger

2008-10-02 :: Reasonable Doubts

Physicist Victor Stenger joins us on the show to discuss his book God The Failed Hypothesis. Stenger challenges Christian apologists who argue that modern physics point to a creator. He also defends the more aggressive approach "the new atheists" use when critiquing religion as well as his own controversial claim that a proper understanding of science actually proves that no gods exist. Also on the show… the Doubtcasters outline the reasons why every American, regardless of their politics, should be terrified at the prospect of a Palin presidency.Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd20 With a little help from our friends

2008-08-31 :: Reasonable Doubts

Reasonable Doubts departs from its usual format to bring you an audio-documentary about the importance of friendship and community amongst non-believers. Recorded at CFI Michigan's Second Annual Long Lake Retreat, the episode traces the history of how the group evolved and the friendships that developed along with it. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd21 Miracles with guest Joe Nickel

2008-08-15 :: Reasonable Doubts

Visions, weeping statues, speaking in strange tongues…even in modern times believers have appealed to seemingly miraculous events as evidence for their supernatural beliefs. But is there any evidence that miracles really happen? Paranormal investigator Joe Nickel joins us on the show to discuss how to scientifically investigate claims of the miraculous. Also for a "God thinks like you" segment the doubtcasters discuss the psychological basis of supposedly supernatural phenomena such as glossolalia or "speaking in tongues" Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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RD Bonus Episode: Responding to Ravi Zacharias (from Reason Driven Podcast)

2008-08-10 :: Reasonable Doubts

Reasonable Doubts Bonus Episode: Jeremy's interview with the Reason Driven Podcast. RD co-host Jeremy Beahan joined Danny and Mikyle from the Reason Driven Podcast to help the duo with a follow up to their debate with Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias. The interview portion of that episode is included here, but you can get the entire episode as well as the Debate with Ravi from their website www.reasondriven.blogspot.com Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd19 Decalogue with guest Jim Underdown

2008-07-24 :: Reasonable Doubts

Paranormal investigator Jim Underdown discusses skepticism, faith healing and the Ten Commandments. Also: Messiahs before Jesus? Join us for another Skeptics Sunday School where we examine Israel Knohl's suffering servant of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Also the doubtcasters review new research on the relationship between different forms of religiosity and retaliatory violence for the most recent installment of "god thinks like you." Dave, Jeremy and Luke would like to thank everyone who has supported this podcast over the past year. Reasonable Doubts Podcast will be taking the month of August off to make improvements to the show. During the break please keep the emails coming to doubtcast@gmail.com. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd18 Independence Day

2008-07-02 :: Reasonable Doubts

"As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion…" These words taken from Article XI of the United States treaty with Tripoli in 1796, provide a clear and direct answer to historical revisionists who claim America is a "Christian Nation." The doubtcasters discuss this document and others for a special Independence Day episode of RD. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd17 The Lords Army

2008-06-20 :: Reasonable Doubts

One of the most dangerous entanglements between Church and State is seldom witnessed by the average American civilian. Yet from the Air Force Academe to the Pentagon, the United States Armed Forces have been infiltrated by evangelical Christians who believe their purpose is to "raise up a Godly army." For this episode the doubtcasters examine this trend and its connection to Christian apocalypticism. This episode also features the comic short "This Humanists Army" as well as a counter-apologetic segment debunking the "70 Weeks" passage in the book of Daniel which is thought by many apologists to be one of the strongest examples of a fulfilled prophecy. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd16 Off the Deep End

2008-06-05 :: Reasonable Doubts

Polygamy, eschatology, scientology…there is no shortage of religious craziness in the world today. On this episode the doubtcasters wander (more or less) aimlessly through recent headlines. The Church of Scientology, John Hagee and the fundamentalist Mormon church receive special attention. Also listen for an unusual shitlist and a public service announcement on behalf of www.youvebeenleftbehind.com. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd15 The Soul of Secularism with guest Austin Dacey

2008-05-20 :: Reasonable Doubts

Alarming developments at the UN now threaten freedom of expression world wide. Austin Dacey, philosopher and Center for Inquiry's representative to the United Nations joins us to explain how the core principle of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been abandoned by the very council that is charged with upholding it. How did the UN, which was founded on humanistic principles, come to this? And why are so many unaware or unconcerned about these developments? In his book "the Secular Conscience" Dacey argues that western liberal secularism "lost its soul" when it began treating claims of conscience as purely subjective matters that do not belong in the public sphere. By privatizing conscience, secular liberals sought to keep religion separate from politics but only succeeded in placing a gag order upon themselves thus giving up the language of morality to religious conservatives. Now is the time for secularists to reclaim civic moral dialogue and defend a free and open society. For inspiration, Dacey adds, we should look to the courageous men and women of the Secular Islam Summit who's approach to matters of conscience more closely resembles our enlightenment forbearers than that of modern secular liberals. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd14 In Defense of the ACLU with guest Ed Brayton

2008-04-28 :: Reasonable Doubts

Religious right commentators have referred to the ACLU as the "Anti-Christian Lawyers Union" which targets the rights of Christian citizens. Ed Brayton, author of scienceblogs.com's popular blog Dispatches From the Culture Wars joins us on the show to expose the blatant misinformation behind such accusations and to share the important contributions religious believers have made to defending liberty. In the end, Brayton argues, we should honor those who defend freedom of expression as the true American heroes they are. Also in this episode, RD discusses possible evolutionary advantages to religiosity and the hype behind "the God gene" for another installment of God Thinks Like You. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd13 Hitchens Vs. Hitchens

2008-04-13 :: Reasonable Doubts

In addition to sharing DNA, both Christopher and Peter Hitches posses a passion for ideas, eloquence of speech and razor-sharp wit. But this is where the similarities end. Christopher Hitchens, author of "God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything" is an outspoken Atheist and defender of the Iraq War. His brother Peter is a devout Anglican Christian and anti-war journalist. After a recent reconciliation the two met for their first (and possibly last) public debate in nearly a decade. The result was a fantastic debate on God and war that left a bewildered audience wondering who to cheer for. With the help of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies & Center For Inquiry Michigan, Reasonable Doubts was able to seize a rare opportunity to interview both Hitchens brothers together in the peaceful moments just before things got ugly. Also be sure to check out www.doubtcast.org for video and pictures from the Hitchens vs. Hitchens debate and to hear more great interviews with todays top skeptical minds such as Susan Jacoby, Paul Kurtz, DJ Grothe and Taner Edis.Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd12 Stupid Americans with guest Susan Jacoby

2008-03-29 :: Reasonable Doubts Podcast

How is it, that in an age of unprecedented access to information, ignorance and anti-reason could be so widespread in American society? Susan Jacoby author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism joins us to discuss her latest book, the Age of American Unreason. During the "golden age of American freethought" the great agnostic Robert Ingersoll could argue for religious skepticism before huge and ideologically diverse audiences. But in a world where video culture has replaced print culture, where sound-bytes and 24 hour infotainment have replaced thoughtful dialogue, Americans are able to isolate themselves from other viewpoints that might challenge their own. Can freethinkers learn anything from their own intellectual heritage, that will aid them in combating unreason today? Also: Buddhist violence, another installment of God Thinks Like You, listener e-mails and a totally psychedelic Stranger Than Fiction. Check out the Reasonable Doubts Podcast group on Facebook.com or myspace.com/doubtcast for a full length "spring break" bonus episode of Reasonable Doubts including SKEPTICS GONE WILD: uncensored outtakes and bloopers from previous episodes. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd11 Bizarro World

2008-03-13 :: Reasonable Doubts
Length: 1s

What if an alternate universe exists parallel to our own-a horrific bizarro universe where all defenders of reason and skepticism are transformed into religious apologists? On this episode the apostles of doubt get a small taste of what such a world would be like as they confront their own internet doppelganger--the Reasonable Faith podcast. Apologist William Lang Craig heads this apologetics podcast, where he advances his favorite arguments for the existence of God. Luke, Jeremy, and Fletch are unconvinced and spend the show taking on Craig's arguments. But can skeptics breath a sigh of relief trusting that our hero's have once again made the world safe for freethought? Rd's journey into the depths of this alternate universe takes a nightmarish turn as they confront the bizarro version of their favorite skeptic in the extended comic short "LOGOS" with Reverend Carl Sagan. Also this month: Look for Reasonable Doubts: SKEPTICS GONE WILD, a special "spring break" episode available exclusively to members of the Reasonable Doubts Facebook group. Available towards the end of March, this full-length bonus episode will feature more counter-apologetics segments (addressing additional arguments made by William Lane Craig) a movie review and uncensored outtakes from past episodes (some material may not be appropriate for younger listeners). Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd10 Islam, Science and Modernity Part Two with guest Taner Edis

2008-02-21

Join us as we conclude our interview with Taner Edis, author of "An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam." Muslim immigrant communities continue to grow throughout Europe and in some cases they continue to grow more isolated and hostile towards western secular values . Are the teachings of Islam to blame? Or do socioeconomic factors provide a better explanation? And how should concerned skeptics respond? Difficult questions seldom yield to simple answers, and even freethinkers need to be on their guard for those who would offer superficial rhetoric over real understanding. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd09 Islam, Science and Modernity Part One with Guest Taner Edis

2008-02-02

Taner Edis, author of "An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam" joins us on the show to discuss the rise of Islamic pseudoscience in the Muslim world, in this first installment of a two part series. We explore why a growing number of Muslims believe the Qur'an prefigures many scientific discoveries of today, and what this reveals about Muslim attitudes towards science and modernity in general. Also featured: Where to get premium bottled holy water for believers who live an active lifestyle (sadly that’s not a joke). And Dave geeks out on his blasphemous music playlist. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd08 God Thinks Like You

2008-01-18 :: Reasonable Doubts

Why do people believe? Why do they doubt? What can psychological research tell us about religious belief? And can it tell us anything about non-believers and skepticism? For this episode the RD crew draws upon one of its greatest resources...our co-host Luke Galen, Associate Professor of Psychology at Grand Valley State University. Luke shares with us some of the research that he is conducting on the psychology of religion. Also featured: RD responds to a challengers e-mail and a new segment "stranger than fiction." Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd07 The Gospel Of Doubt with guest DJ Grothe

2008-01-11 :: Reasonable Doubts

Religious apologists are fond of sharing "testimonies"; emotional stories of the life changing experiences often associated with religious conversion. But what happens when a person looses faith? DJ Grothe (associate editor of Free Inquiry Magazine, host of the Point of Inquiry as well as Vice President and Director of Outreach Programs for the Center For Inquiry)joins us on the show to share his personal "de-conversion" story. Jeremy and Dave also comment on the joys and frustrations of leaving the faith, while Luke shares some illuminating research comparing the psychology of skeptics verses the religious when confronted with life's difficult moments. Also featured is a brief "History of Reasonable Doubts" in the form of an old time radio short. Please spread the word about Reasonable Doubts: your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd06 Peace On Earth with guest Paul Kurtz

2007-12-30 :: Reasonable Doubts

Celebrate the holiday with humanist pioneer, Dr. Paul Kurtz as he joins us in the studio for an inspiring interview. Paul Kurtz is, in many ways, the founder of the Secular Humanist movement and has had an impact on nearly every aspect of modern skepticism. He is the author of the Humanist Manifesto II, founder and chair of the Council for Secular Humanism, the Center for Inquiry, Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly CSICOP) and editor of Prometheus Books. For this special Christmas episode Kurtz shares with us his vision of peace on earth. He envisions a new enlightenment where the recognition that human beings are all members one species, with equal dignity and value, serves as the foundation for creating a planetary ethic. Also in this episode join us for Skeptics Sunday School where we will examine the Christmas narrative and belief in the virgin birth of Jesus. Finally we offer some gift ideas for freethinkers this holiday season. Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd05 Separation On State Street with guest Rob St. Marry

2007-12-07 :: Reasonable Doubts

Does your grandmother run a dungeon? Independent film maker Rob St. Marry joins us in the studio to discuss his new documentary The Separation on State Street. His film follows the story of Anonka owner of a new age gift shop and "Witch Museum" in a small conservative Michigan town. Anonka's shop met with protests and boycotts from the beginning. But "all hell broke loose" when she challenged the cities decision to have a nativity scene placed on the court lawn. Soon afterwards Anonka and her family had to endure violence, death threats and intimidation at the hands of their "Christian" neighbors. Rob St. Marry shares the fascinating story, much of which he was personally an eye-witness to. Also featured: the Dali Lammas controversial statement about his future successor, Scholars of Religion take on the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and the latest development in stem-cell research that has the Religious right (prematurely) saying "I told you so!"Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd04 Theocracy with guest Eddie Tabash

2007-11-20 :: Reasonable Doubts

Join us for a discussion with Eddie Tabash current chair of the national legal committee of Americans United for separation of Church and State as well as the Council for Secular Humanism's First Amendment Task Force. In addition to his better known role as an official campaign speaker and debater for numerous presidential candidates (including Bill Clinton & Jimmy Carter) Tabash is also a professional counter-apologist having debated such world famous Christian philosophers as: Peter van Inwagen, Greg Bahnsen, William Lane Craig and Richard Swinburne on the existence of God. In an extended interview, Tabash discusses a wide-range of topics: from disarming the arguments of Christian philosophers to the "unholy alliance" between the religious right and the postmodern academic left. The show concludes with a disturbing glimpse at the difference just one Supreme Court justice could make for American secularists...and the very real possibility that we may be on the verge of a theocratic America. Please spread the word about Reasonable Doubts: your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd03 Skeptics Sunday School

2007-11-03 :: Reasonable Doubts

Our third episode features a look at the religeous rights frustration over the new republican canidates as well as a counter-apologetics segment that debunks the "science" behind the Family Research Institutes attacks on homosexual parents. Also featured is a new segment: The Skeptics Sunday School. On the Skeptics Sunday school we draw upon biblical criticism, archeology, and comparative mythology (and the bible itself) to illuminate bible stories and doctrines. This is stuff you wouldn't ever hear in church, yet it is common knowledge amongst reputable biblical scholars. In this segment we take a look at some intriguing passages from the Hebrew Bible referring to child sacrifice...and ask the question did the ancient Israelites actually preform the "detestable" practice that their scriptures so passionately argue against? Please spread the word about Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd02 Doubt On Campus with guest Lauren Becker

2007-10-27 :: Reasonable Doubts

Our second episode features an interview with CFI On Campus organizer and Point of Inquiry editorialist Lauren Becker. Lauren shares the story of her transformation from park ranger and education enthusiast to secular activist and organizer. She also tells us about the challenges facing non-religious students on college campuses nationwide. She explains the mission of CFI On Campus, their strategy to promote critical thinking and challenge religious dogmas, and how anyone can help promote free inquiry at their local campus. Also featured in the second episode is a humorous look at evangelists trying to save digital souls in the web-based virtual world "Second Life" and a counter-apologetics segment responding to the charge that atheists have no foundation for morality. Please spread the word about Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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rd01 Anti-Evolution After Dover with guest Wesley Elsberry

2007-10-19 :: Reasonable Doubts
Length: 54s

Episode 1 Features an interview with Dr. Wesley Elsberry, former Information Project Director for the National Center for Science Education who is currently a Visiting Research Associate at Michigan State University, where he works with Robert Pennock studying the evolution of intelligence through computer simulations. His enlightening discussion focuses on the state of "Anti-evolution after Dover"--how creationists have been adapting their arguments after the devastating legal blow they received during the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial in late 2005. Please spread the word about Reasonable Doubts: Your skeptical guide to religion offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, humanists, apologists looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions.…

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Reasonable Doubts Podcast

Reasonable Doubts takes an informative and humorous look at religion from a freethinking perspective; offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, agnostics, humanists, courageous religious believers looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions. In addition to interviewing the top minds in skepticism (former guests include Christopher Hitchens, Susan Jacoby, Paul Kurtz, Edward Tabash, DJ Grothe) RD offers regular segments on counter-apologetics, biblical criticism, creationism intelligent design and church state issues. RD also examines the psychology of religion, reviewing recent and exciting research you won't hear about anywhere else. Tune in for a hard-hitting critique of religion balanced by plenty of humor, a fair-minded attitude and a commitment to critical thinking. Check out our website at doubtcast.org for information, episode links or to email questions, comments and challenges. Reasonable Doubts...for those who won't just take things on faith.

Reasonable Doubts Podcast


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