Tag Archives: science

Episode 42: Bad Objections to Evolution

We once again attempt to digitally celebrate Darwin Day with a few episodes about evolution. Here, we take on some bad and common objections to evolution.

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What does the show say? This:

  • Hello, listeners!
  • Wait, What…? Alan Keyes on the coming (sp?) gay dystopia
  • Evolution can’t happen, because something can’t come from nothing
  • Evolution takes too much time to have been observed, so we can’t know it’s true
  • Ring species (see a cool look at some of these here)
  • Micro evolution is true, but macro evolution is not
  • You never see a Crocoduck
  • Why don’t you see dogs giving birth to cats?
  • If humans came from apes, why are there still so many apes?
  • Darwin was wrong about some aspect of evolution
  • Hitler believed in evolution and used the principles to drive Nazi ideology
  • The human eye is too perfect to have evolved (find your blind spot!)
  • The bacterial flagellum is irreducibly complex and couldn’t have evolved
  • We don’t observe any transitional forms in the fossil record
  • Mutations are always negative, so they can’t be making us better and better
  • Mutations don’t create new information
  • Life is balanced on a razors edge (ex: because of the proportion of oxygen in our atmosphere), it is only rationally attributable to an intelligent creator – Cliffe Knechtle in a debate with Matt Dillahunty at 1:12:30

Posted by on February 3, 2014 in Mailbag, New Episode, Science, Wait What?


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Episode 40: Matthew Ferguson – Metaphysical Naturalism and Secular Humanism (Part 1)

We chat with Matthew Ferguson about metaphysical naturalism and secular humanism. It was a lot of fun and maddeningly interesting. This is part 1 of 2 of our discussion.

Matthew is currently a PhD student in Classics at the University of California, Irvine. He has written several scholarly papers about ancient history, and blogs about naturalism, secular humanism, and counter apologetics at his blogs Κέλσος and Civitas Humana.

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We discussed:

What is a worldview?

  • Comparing worldviews
  • Explanatory scope and explanatory power
  • Worldviews used as a rhetorical tool by presuppositional apologists

What are metaphysical naturalism and secular humanism?

  • What questions do each of these answer?
  • How do they fit together and compliment each other?
  • The relationship with methodological naturalism, physicalism, materialism, and atheism.
  • The role of science in our knowledge
  • Getting knowledge from science and history
  • Can a metaphysical naturalist or secular humanist be religious?
  • Making sense of minds, consciousness, shapes, numbers, propositions, and other abstract object on metaphysical naturalism

How does metaphysical naturalism compare to christian theism?

  • Eschatology
  • Rules to live by
  • Agreeing about reality
  • Authority
  • Religion, religious experience, and the evolution of agent over-detection

Books we referenced:

Matthew was kind enough to provide a metric ton of really great resources for anyone interested in learning more about what we were talking about. Check them out below:

Matthew’s Blogs:


Civitas Humana

Resources for Naturalism:

The Naturalistic Worldview

Defining Theism, Atheism, Supernaturalism, and Naturalism (by Matthew Ferguson)

The Secular Outpost: Arguments for Naturalism (by Jeff Lowder)

The Best Argument Against God (by Graham Oppy)

Sense and Goodness without God (by Richard Carrier)

Naturalism’s Support among Professional Philosophers:

Even If Most Scientists Are Atheist, Don’t Philosophers Come to the Rescue for God and Religion? Turns Out, No. (by Matthew Ferguson)

The Teleological Argument for Naturalism:

Finely Tuning a Killer Cosmos (by Richard Carrier)

The Fallacy of Fine Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us (by Victor Stenger)

Naturalism as the Best Explanation for Irrational Suffering:

The Evil-God Challenge (by Stephen Law)

Naturalism and Mind-Body Physicalism: 

The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology: Biointerface Research Group

The Phineas Gage Case

Naturalism, Secular Humanism, and Ethics: 

Confused Metaphysics: Apologetic Efforts to Corner the Market on Ethics (by Matthew Ferguson)

Naturalism and Epistemology: 

C.S. Lewis’ Milk Jug: Apologetics and the Retreat into Epistemology (by Matthew Ferguson)

Evolutionary Naturalism, Theism, and Skepticism about the External World (by J. Wesley Robbins)

Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism Refuted (by Stephen Law)

Critical Review of Victor Reppert’s Defense of the Argument from Reason (by Richard Carrier)

Dishonest Apologetic Debate Tactics:

Southern Evangelical Seminary Tricks Bart Ehrman after a Public Debate with Mike Licona

A Response to Cliffe Knechtle’s Campus Apologetics (by Matthew Ferguson)


Counter-Apologetics FAQ (by Matthew Ferguson)


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Episode 28: Atheism, Christianity, and History with Eric Chabot

We are joined once again by Christian apologist Eric Chabot, this time to talk about Atheism, Christianity, and History. Did we stick to those topics? Barely.

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Eric is the director of the Ohio State University branch of Ratio Christi, a Christian apologetics student group, and has been teaching about Jesus, Christianity, and Old Testament prophecy since the beginning of time.

Further stuff to check out:


Posted by on April 8, 2013 in Guest, New Episode


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Episode 26: The Evolution of the Human Mind with Dr. Gary Marcus

Continuing with part 2 of our series about evolution, we cover a special topic within evolutionary biology. We are joined by Dr. Gary Marcus to talk about the oft-overlooked evolutionary history of the human brain. Our discussion draws largely from some of the chapters of Dr. Marcus’ book Kluge: The Haphazard Evolution of the Human Mind. Read it and love it.

Dr. Marcus’ book Kluge shows that our brain, like the rest of our bodies, has evolved not to function well, but to function well enough. Evolution works with what it has, and cannot start over with a better design, regardless of how much better a new design might be. As a result, our brains work with neuro circuitry which did not evolve to help us solve complex problems or think critically–and yet they do (or, at least, our brains tell us they do). This presents interesting problems which might undercut common notions of our own rationality.

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Use your evolved brain to understand the following from our conversation:

  • Decisions about chocolate cake and sex
  • Quantified Self
  • Evolution of cognitive biases (familiarity biasstatus quo bias, etc)
  • The strength of evolutionary accounts of homosexuality
  • The halo effect and the pitchfork effect
  • How can we use our evolved brains to become better thinkers?

Dr. Marcus is a professor of Psychology at New York University, whose research covers neuroscience, psychology, linguistics, and molecular biology. He is also a best selling author and contributor to The New YorkerThe Wall Street Journal, as well as other important popular media. He is a top-notch writer, so check out his other books about psychology and neuroscience.


Posted by on February 19, 2013 in Cognitive Bias, Guest, New Episode, Science


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Episode 20: Non Sequitur (Part I)

We take a magical journey through the informal side of the incredibly broad fallacy/phenomenon known as a non sequitur. We look at some examples of when non sequiturs and their “casual cousins” make their ways into our lives.

The conversation quickly dissolves into common ways people attempt to reach conclusions through faulty means, instead of focusing exclusively on what logicians mean when they say “non sequitur”, which is fine because we plan to do a part II and delve into the formal side of non sequiturs.

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For those of you who are appalled and disgusted of our treatment of this topic (which, by the way, should be all of you), here are people considerably smarter than us doing a much better job on this topic:

Also check out:


Posted by on December 16, 2012 in Fallacies, New Episode, Wait What?


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Episode 11: Dethroning the Authorities!

You should believe everything we say in this episode, because all scientific authorities agree with us when we discuss the following:

  • The first sparks of scientific investigation with the pre-Socratic philosophers
  • Aristotle’s many contributions and errings to natural philosophy
  • The genius and folly of Isaac Newton
  • The brilliance and stubbornness of Albert Einstein
  • The acceptance and subsequent rejection of Piltdown Man

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Big ol’ buncha show notes and fun things to follow up on:

Are you a classical atomist? What other scientific authorities do you hear cited stupidly? Do you hear religious people (popes, preaches, imams…) cited as authorities? Be the first of your friends to comment below!

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Posted by on September 10, 2012 in New Episode, Science


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Episode 10: Argument from Authority

We discuss a great many things, including:

  • How cool we are for having recorded 10 episodes
  • Listener feedback
  • Does God believe things on faith?
  • The argument from authority
  • Similarities between the peer review process and evolution

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Does God believe things on faith? What are some funny ways you have seen people attempt to establish authority? Do we have a piss-poor understanding of the fallacy we discussed? Plop your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Posted by on September 3, 2012 in Fallacies, New Episode, Rants


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