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Episode 49: David Niose – 2014 Secular Legal Recap

Gabe and Dan talk to David Niose and review legal issues in the US in 2014.

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David Niose is is a practicing lawyer, avid secular activist, and author. His 2013 book, Nonbeliever Nation, is about the growing population of secular Americans and their persistent under-representation in elected public office. His new book, Fighting Back The Right, is about driving human-centered public policy and combating the culture of anti-reason.

We discuss:

  • Doe v. Acton-Boxborough Regional School District
  • Burwell v. Hobby Lobby
  • Greece v Galloway
  • American Humanist Association v. United States
  • US midterm elections
 
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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in Cognitive Bias, Guest, New Episode

 

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Episode 41: Matthew Ferguson – Metaphysical Naturalism and Secular Humanism (Part 2)

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

What are arguments in favor of naturalism?

  • Teleological argument for naturalism
  • Argument from inefficient design
  • Argument from irrational suffering
  • Naturalism makes sense of the dependence of the mind on a physical brain
  • Theism is fundamentally backwards in it’s model of the universe

What are arguments against naturalism?

  • Naturalism isn’t falsifiable
  • Pragmatic argument against naturalism: naturalism doesn’t properly motivate us to be good, whereas Christianity does
  • Naturalism seems to assume that everything that exists in the universe is somehow empirically observable, which probably isn’t true
  • Naturalism offers no basis for making or justifying normative claims
  • If secular humanism is human-centric, then it is guilty of speciesism
  • Alvin Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism

What kind of world do secular humanists want to create?

  • A culture of regular self-reflection
  • Criminal justice systems using rehabilitation instead of punishment
  • Religion, it’s role in society, and how this may change over time
  • The government’s role in a transition to secular humanism

Books references in this episode:

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

Matthew’s Blogs:

Κέλσος

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:

Counter-Apologetics FAQ (by Matthew Ferguson)

 
 

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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.

Listen to this episode

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:

Κέλσος

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:

Counter-Apologetics FAQ (by Matthew Ferguson)

 

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Episode 37-B: John McCargar – Humanist Student Groups and Chaplains + Commentary

Gabe is joined by John McCargar to talk about Humanist student groups and chaplains, drawing from his experience founding the Humanists of Boston University (HBU).

Note: this is episode 37-B, which is the interview with commentary from Gabe and Erik interwoven into the audio. You can listen to episode 37-A, which is just the interview itself.

Listen to this episode

The interview structure:

  • John’s faith journey from Catholicism, to Mormonism, to militant atheism, to Humanism
  • Building intentional communities focused on ethics and Secular Humanism
  • Secular Humanism among religious groups
  • Growth and decline of secular/humanist student groups, and the relationship of chaplains
  • Previous guests on the show, Zachary Bos and Patrick, and their involvement with the HBU
  • The cultural background of Humanism
  • The role of a chaplain at a university
  • Paths to becoming a chaplain, Humanist credentials, and The Humanist Institute
  • Current chaplains at Boston University
  • Why universities should consider having a Humanist chaplain
  • Secular Humanists using the word chaplain

Books referenced in the episode:

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2013 in Guest, Mormonism, New Episode

 

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Episode 37-A: John McCargar – Humanist Student Groups and Chaplains

Gabe is joined by John McCargar to talk about Humanist student groups and chaplains, drawing from his experience founding the Humanists of Boston University (HBU).

Note: this is episode 37-A, which is just the interview itself. You can listen to episode 37-B, which includes additional commentary about the interview if you have the stomach for it. I would recommend you start with A.

Listen to this episode

The interview structure:

  • John’s faith journey from Catholicism, to Mormonism, to militant atheism, to Humanism
  • Building intentional communities focused on ethics and Secular Humanism
  • Secular Humanism among religious groups
  • Growth and decline of secular/humanist student groups, and the relationship of chaplains
  • Previous guests on the show, Zachary Bos and Patrick, and their involvement with the HBU
  • The cultural background of Humanism
  • The role of a chaplain at a university
  • Paths to becoming a chaplain, Humanist credentials, and The Humanist Institute
  • Current chaplains at Boston University
  • Why universities should consider having a Humanist chaplain
  • Secular Humanists using the word chaplain
 
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Posted by on November 28, 2013 in Guest, Mormonism, New Episode

 

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Episode 12: Discussion with Zachary Bos – How do we grow a secular community?

Gabe had the opportunity to sit down with Zachary Bos, state director for Massachusetts of American Atheists, and talk about his role in the growth of the secular community. The Boston Atheists broke the 1000 member mark in 2012, and looks to continue growing in number and visibility. T’was a delightful conversation and Zachary has done a fantastic job helping the secular community in the greater Boston area grow as it has. Shout out to Boston Atheists!

Cool stuff to check up on:

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Should we look to the successes of the religious community as we grow the secular community? What other organizations might we use as a model? Who is the better cohost, Zachary or Erik? Are you an atheist/secularist in the greater Boston area? Get those thoughts into the comment section!

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2012 in Guest, New Episode

 

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