Monthly Archives: October 2013

Episode 35: Philosophy of Religion and Jesus v. Salem with Dr. Matt McCormick

Dr. Matt McCormick is an atheist who teaches and publishes on philosophy of religion. He joins us to talk about his experiences examining philosophical religious claims, confronting a public fear of philosophy, and to explain why if you don’t believe witches performed magic in Salem, you shouldn’t believe Jesus performed magic in Jerusalem.

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The outline of our discussion:

  • Being an atheist in the field of philosophy of religion
  • Demographics of philosophy
  • Teaching philosophy of atheism
  • Why we shouldn’t strive to be apologists for atheism
  • Dealing with a fear of philosophy
  • Salem vs Jerusalem: evidence of magic
  • Accepting a low threshold for magic, and subsequently opening the floodgates for all the other crazy magical claims: Hindu Milk Miracle, Miracles and healings performed by Joseph Smith, miraculous levitations of Joseph of Cupertino (now the patron saint of aviation and also, perhaps comically, of mental handicaps), the miracle of the sun, and on and on and on…
  • Epistemology of accepting miracle claims
  • Faults, biases, and glitches in human cognition (for more: see our other episodes about cognitive biases)
  • Dangers posed to the information age
  • Daniel Dennett’s proposal to teach a comprehensive comparative religion course.
  • The social benefits of being out as an atheist, at least if you’re mildly well-adjusted and not an axe-wielding maniac

Books referenced in the show:

Find out more about Matt, because he’s pretty awesome:


Posted by on October 27, 2013 in Cognitive Bias, Guest, New Episode, Philosophy


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Episode 34: Circular Reasoning and Self-Perpetuating Systems

Gabe wrestles the podcast rudder out of filthy Erik’s hands, and we talk about some examples of circular reasoning, wherein one or more of an argument’s premises assume the truth of the conclusion. We also cover some related circular phenomena.

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Show notes and kick-ass links below!

Hello once again to all our Brazilian and Bothan listeners!


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