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Edouard Tahmizian

Podcasts

Edouard Tahmizian Dialog with Bob Enyart (2021) (Off Site)

In this half-hour dialog with American Christian talk radio host and Denver pastor Bob Enyart, Edouard Tahmizian and Enyart discuss whether Adam's sin in the biblical account was predestined/predetermined, or freely chosen. Both speakers agree that biblical hard determinism would make God the author of sin, and Enyart even maintains that the God of the Bible has the moral ability to commit evil, which conflicts with the traditional orthodox view that God is so holy that he cannot commit acts of sin.


Published on the Secular Web


Modern Library

The Origin of Evil

Where did evil in the world come from? In this article Edouard Tahmizian considers God's causal influence on the origin of evil. He aims to show that, if biblical hard determinism is true, God would be the efficient cause of Adam and Eve's transgression—the original sin that the rest of humanity inherited when the first humans, Adam and Eve, purportedly ate fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil according to the Book of Genesis. Moreover, he argues, even if biblical hard determinism is not true and all events could have turned out differently, God would still be the final cause of Adam and Eve's sin, making him at least somewhat causally responsible for the sin of Adam and Eve that we all purportedly inherited. In the end, Tahmizian's analysis implies that God is ultimately the source of all evil.
Kiosk Video

Interview with Robert M. Price on Adversarial Exchanges on Mythicism

Check out this roughly 45-minute talk between host Edouard Tahmizian and long-time biblical scholar Robert M. Price on Price's take on Dennis R. MacDonald's view that it's a misunderstanding to characterize the Book of Luke as a history (as Richard Carrier does in his 2006 Secular Web online book Was Christianity Too Improbable to be False?), the conflation of what some Jesus mythicists have said with what Carrier, Price, and others specifically have said, how mainstream biblical scholarship might become more open to mythicism in the future (as Thomas L. Thompson's stance that Moses and Abraham were not historical persons eventually became the consensus view), and the reality of the Q source. The discussion then turns to the mythical personage of Judas and Peter, what we can know about how long an oral tradition inventing a mythical Jesus would need to develop, ancient Jesus mythicists like Celsus, Robyn Faith Walsh's view that the empty tomb story was a legendary trope borrowed from pagan works, Dennis R. MacDonald's view that none of the Gospels were written to evangelize/convert people to Christianity, and much more! Tune in for a wide-ranging interview with a legendary biblical scholar!

Interview with Dennis R. MacDonald on Mimesis & the Q Hypothesis

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this roughly 45-minute returning interview with New Testament scholar Dennis R. MacDonald on mimesis (literary imitation mythologizing Jesus), the Q hypothesis (that a lost document dubbed "Q" was the common source for borrowed material found in both Matthew and Luke, but not found in the earlier Gospel of Mark), and the role of Christianity in America's culture wars. In MacDonald's experience, readers' reaction to his recently published three-part work on the Synoptic Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the three Gospels of John has been largely positive with respect to mimesis, but negative toward the the Q material largely because, as a lost document, it has to be reconstructed. The interlocutors discuss why this attitude is unjustified (and anti-intellectual), how taking mimesis all the way to Jesus himself is intellectually irresponsible, and how external evidence for the existence of Q renders such skepticism extreme (e.g., there are earlier references to a Q document than Luke and John, like the elder John's belief in a lost document of Matthew). MacDonald and Robyn Faith Walsh have argued that early Christians were trying to establish a social identity for the emerging Christian movement, not inventing a nonexistent Jesus. MacDonald argues that mimesis is part of early Christians' intellectual project, not a haphazard attempt by early Christians to simply borrow amenable stories from earlier literary sources (e.g., pseudo-Luke is trying to craft a Christian identity in the Roman Empire and in contemporaneous Judaism by using fiction to construct a founding mythology of the early Church, not craft a history). After illustrating the story of a woman anointing Jesus for his burial in the Gospel of Mark as a simple and representative example of mimesis, the interlocutors go on to address Robyn Faith Walsh's view that the empty tomb story is a pagan trope to symbolize a mortal man attaining divinity and how both atheists and Christian apologists misread Luke as providing a history rather exemplifying literary models. Check out this enlightening interview with a prolific expert on mimesis and hermetics!

Interview with Aron Ra on Noah’s Ark

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this half-hour long talk with regional director for American Atheists Aron Ra. The interlocutors discuss fallacious appeals to authority, how young-Earth creationist arguments equivocate on the definition of "kinds" of animals, how macroevolution would (if anything) need to be accelerated if the story of the Flood were literally true, how feeding animals (and providing them with fresh water) during the Great Flood would not have been possible in the real world, how saltwater infiltration would poison any plant life post-Flood and cause Noah's saved animals to starve to death once they left the Ark, and other innumerable problems with taking the Genesis flood story as a literal account of a historical event. Instead, Ra argues that it is best seen as nothing more than a childhood fairy tale used by creationists today to assuage their fear of eternal oblivion after death. Check out where taking creationist beliefs seriously leads us in this broad-ranging interview!

Interview with Dennis R. MacDonald on Epic, Tragedy, and the Gospels

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this half-hour long interview with New Testament scholar Dennis R. MacDonald on his magnum opus Synopses of Epic, Tragedy, and the Gospels, a groundbreaking hermetic commentary on the Synoptic Gospels and the narratives of the Acts of the Apostles. In this reference work all of the New Testament Gospels are translated side by side in adjacent columns for comparison with their (sometimes obscure) parallels in classical Greek poetry, especially the Homeric epics and Virgil's Aeneid. The interlocutors discuss how Pappias provides us with external evidence to the Gospels with a circa 110 CE text that predates the Gospels of Luke or John and reveals evidence of Pappias' knowledge of Johannine—but not Pauline—Christianity, and of Matthew and Mark. MacDonald goes on to explain why he hypothesizes from reverse priority that the lost document of Matthew referred to by Pappias was the Q source document before turning to what happened to the historical Jesus' body after his crucifixion, how the historical Jesus is hardly different from the historical Socrates, and two statements attributed to Jesus that are likely representative of the historical Jesus' views. Check out this intriguing interview with the world's foremost expert on hermetics—and check out his recent book while it's still on sale!

Interview with Justin Tang About Religious Experiences

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this roughly hour-long interview with Justin Tang, an "ex-vangelical" trauma-informed coach and hypnotist who specializes in the deconstruction of religious trauma, particularly how to break free of the subconscious cycle of guilt/shame and anxiety/fear that evangelical Christians are kept under. The first half of the interview starts with a discussion of how neo-Calvinist apologetics often hinge on double standards (e.g., where if we do something evil, it's evil—unless God happened to command us to do it). The first half continues with a discussion of how Calvinists like John Kearney try to explain away why God would have created human beings with a positive disposition to do evil things in the first place. The second half then turns to Tang's research into religious trauma, particularly the recurring themes that Justin has noticed from coaching people who are recovering from religious trauma, such as the fear of hellfire or divine judgment, the fear that having natural religious doubts is somehow immoral, and the loss of one's social networks and sense of identity that accompanies inevitably having such doubts. Tang then mentions some evidence-based, trauma-informed things that one can do to calm one's nervous system using bottom-up or top-down approaches before offering his take on near-death experiences, past-life hypnotic regressions, and the like. Check out this wide-ranging and intriguing interview!

Interview with Edward Tabash on the Conservative Turn in the Supreme Court

Tune in to Edouard Tahmizian's one-hour-and-twenty-minute interview with Los Angeles constitutional lawyer Edward Tabash as he surveys how the religious right-wing majority on the US Supreme Court is imposing religious tyranny and discarding science in the United States. The Court has demonstrated its disrespect for civil liberties precedent and overtly tried to impose a theocracy by, for example, ordering the state of Maine to make available its public education funds for the purpose of funding tuition specifically earmarked for religious indoctrination. In his dissent to Carson v. Makin, Justice Stephen Breyer pointed out that there's no meaningful difference between the state paying the salary of a religious minister and that of a teacher who proselytizes to children. Justice Sonia Sotomayor pointed out in her dissent that in the last five years, the Court has systematically dismantled the separation between church and state by shifting from a rule that permits states to decline to fund religious education to one that requires them to subsidize it. This, she notes, is leading us in the direction of treating those who uphold the separation of church and state as having engaged in a constitutional violation. The current Court's attack on Enlightenment values gives power to inherently unreliable voices to have sway in court and even permits the inadmissibility of scientific evidence under the guise of the "free exercise of religion," using the free exercise clause as a sword to wield against groups, rather than as a shield to protect them. Tune in as Tabash canvases growing threats to government neutrality in matters of religion, such as cases authorizing prayer at public school events, whether atheists could be excluded from testifying in court, whether states could have an official church under the new Court, the religious footing for anti-choice laws on abortion, and how voters' choice of the members of the US Senate directly affects who sits on the Court.

Interview with Myriam Valenzuela on Spirituality

Check out this over half an hour long interview with Myriam Valenzuela, the fitness, Yoga, and Hawaiian dance instructor who owns Aloha Yoga and Hula and founded the skin care company Organic Skin Care. In this interview she schools host Edouard Tahmizian on reprogramming our subconscious thoughts concerning how we see life by "affirming" (speaking out loud) various items, her belief that individuals can "manifest" whatever they want because they are creating their experiences in life via their thoughts, how the powers that be purportedly control others by keeping this sort of information from them, her belief that everything is constituted by light, vibration, and frequency, her experiences with "energetic" astral surgery during meditation, the existence of spirit guides, star seeds, and light workers, hypnotic past-life regressions, intelligent extraterrestrial life, and humanity's massive Awakening. Tune in to learn about some of the ideas that have been permeating New Age subculture for quite some time, but that most viewers are likely unfamiliar with!

Interview with Robert M. Price on Scriptural Inerrancy

Tune in to this roughly one-hour discussion between host Edouard Tahmizian and esteemed biblical scholar Robert M. Price as they discuss how biblical inerrantists try to deal with textual evidence of New Testament contradictions. The interlocutors canvas how inerrantists deal with an apparent misquote of Jeremiah by supposedly God-inspired Matthew in Matthew 27:7-10 (whose actual source seems to be Zacharias)—with Calvinists attributing it to copyist error, and others sometimes claiming that it refers to an unwritten prophecy by Jeremiah and so is not erroneous—solid evidence that the longer ending of Mark after Mark 16:1-8 was interpolated by someone other than Mark (someone who wanted to compile details from other Gospels about the risen Jesus to avoid an awkward ending to Mark's empty tomb narrative and give more "evidence" of the resurrected Christ via his resurrection appearances), and Price's take on whether Robyn Faith Walsh's reasons for thinking that Jesus mythicism is implausible stand up to scrutiny. Check out this novel interview with an indefatigable biblical scholar!

Interview with Bill Gaede & Jason Thibodeau on Mathematical Physics

Join Freethinker Podcast host Edouard Tahmizian in this one-and-a-quarter hour interview with Rational Science podcaster Bill Gaede and Cypress College philosophy professor Jason Thibodeau as they explore what physical meaning, if any, can be derived from idealized mathematical physics. Gaede first outlines the difference between qualitative physics, whose three spatial dimensions (e.g., length, width, and height) are underwritten by genuine physical concepts like directions at 90° degree angles to each other, and mathematical physics, whose dimensions are underwritten purely by numerical magnitudes like the number of points necessary to locate an object within a coordinate system (e.g., latitude, longitude, and altitude). While genuine physics deals with perpendicularly defined dimensions (direction and orthogonality), mathematical physics only deals with number lines (with magnitudes) defined in relation to some locational reference point. The discussion then turns to whether it's possible for there to be additional spatial dimensions to the length, width, and height dimensions that we're all familiar with, what exists inside a black hole, whether the universe started with a Big Bang, how we should understand the nature of light and the nature of time, and much more! Check out this fascinating discussion about conceptual misunderstandings within even a hard science like physics!

Interview with Jonathan Sheffield on the Reliability of the Bible

Join host Edouard Tahmizian for over an hour with Anglican and Christian apologist Jonathan Sheffield as Jonathan overviews his case for the reliability of both the Old and New Testaments and Edouard questions that case. The interlocutors canvass the chain-of-custody evidence for the traditional (or attributed) authorship of the four Gospels, which books of the Bible were allegedly inspired by God given the differences between the Catholic and Protestant Old Testament canons (where Catholics recognize seven more "inspired" or Deuterocanonical books than Protestants do), how Sheffield accounts for claimed historical errors noted by Protestants in the Deuteronomical Book of Judith, why the Gospel Jesus never makes reference to the Deuterocanonical books, the understanding of the Deuterocanonical books within the Greek Old Testament (Septuagint) or official works of the Jewish synagogues, whether we should take Jesus to have a divine will and/or human will, and much more! Check out this in-depth interview with a seasoned apologist on this long-debated topic!

Interview with Robyn Faith Walsh & Dennis R. MacDonald on their Differences

Tune in with Edouard Tahmizian in this over one-hour interview with New Testament scholars Robyn Faith Walsh and Dennis R. MacDonald for a novel first-of-its-kind conversation on the literary imitation of ancient Greek poetry and philosophy in the canonical Gospels. Does Mark imitate Virgil (who in turn imitates Homer)? Or is there a stronger case for imitation of Virgil in Luke-Acts? How do Mark and Paul deploy ideas in similar ways? In what ways do Achilles—and especially Hector—find their parallels in the Gospels? These and other questions are addressed before the discussion turns to the bigger-picture view of literary networks and mimetic chains where authors imitate other imitations. Given the common background agreement between Walsh and MacDonald about the 'game' that the ancients were playing in their writings, where do their perspectives diverge on Q source material? One must separate the question of whether there ever existed a Q document from the question of whether such a document, assuming that it did exist, can ever be reconstructed into a meaningfully readable document today (especially since there are several plausible reconstructions of Q). Can Q reasonably be viewed as a collection of the sayings of John the Baptist? And what should we make of Jesus mythicism? Do Jesus mythicists selectively cherry-pick the historical evidence, or not? Does it even matter whether a historical Jesus existed since the Gospel Jesus is clearly not the historical Jesus anyway? Check out this fantastic interview with world-class philologians finally getting together to discuss the interpretation of literature while highlighting their areas of interest and respectful disagreement!

Interview with Keith Augustine on Afterlife Research

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this 45-minute interview with Keith Augustine as they canvass Augustine's recent exchange with prominent psychical researchers in the Journal of Scientific Exploration (JSE). On Thanksgiving 2021, the Bigelow Institute for Consciousness Studies (BICS) published 29 essays that it had deemed provided "hard evidence 'beyond a reasonable doubt'" for the survival of human consciousness after death. In the Summer 2022 JSE, Augustine critiqued the best of the lot, with the selected authors defending their contest-winning essays against Augustine's critique, and Augustine in turn responding to their defense before participating in a collaboration to design a preregistered experimental design that might advance the scientific debate if implemented. In this interview, Augustine delves into scientific versus legal standards of evidence and how they amount to the same thing for the purposes of this competition, what simple historical tests of survival after death have found, how researchers have used proxy sittings to make it more difficult for mediums to read cues from sitters (séance participants), how one might test paranormal powers scientifically in general, and the neuroscientific case against life after death. Tune in for a discussion that moves these issues outside of the parapsychological echo chamber and into the wider world for everyone to contemplate!

Interview with Robert M. Price on Mythicism as Scholarship

In a June 2022 interview with Edouard Tahmizian, New Testament scholar Dennis R. MacDonald admonished Richard Carrier for misappropriating his work in the service of Jesus mythicism. In a responding interview on August 1, Carrier disputed MacDonald's characterization, and published a longer missive titled "Dennis MacDonald's Change of Position" on his website on August 23. In this 40-minute interview with esteemed biblical scholar Robert M. Price on the same day, Price argues that while MacDonald himself is certainly no mythicist, nevertheless MacDonald's work is not merely compatible with Jesus mythicism, but suggestive of it. The discussion then turns to whether Jesus' disciples really had any understanding that Jesus would be resurrected from the dead on the third day, and if not, whether there could be any historicity to the account of guards being stationed to look after Jesus' tomb (as argued by D. A. Carson). Further issues concern the evolution of the understanding of whether Jesus is said to have had a spiritual or physical resurrection, how mythicists explain 1 Corinthians 2:6-8 (in part by interpreting to the archons of this age to refer to spiritual entities, not human leaders), and what central point Justin Martyr is trying to drive home, among other things. Tune in for this wide-ranging interview with a scholar of scholars!

Interview with Jason Thibodeau on Biblical Determinism

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this over one-hour interview with Cypress College philosophy professor Jason Thibodeau as they deconstruct John Kearney’s defense of Adam’s accountability for the first sin (rather than God’s). Kearney’s defense centers around the idea that although Adam was not born with an ingrained disposition to sin, he nevertheless developed such a disposition when tempted by the serpent in the Garden of Eden. For according to Kearney, God was under no obligation to create creatures for which committing sin was impossible, and indeed it would be better for them to have to earn moral righteousness by being tempted to sin and not succumb to that temptation. Kearney provides little in the way of an actual argument for this claim, and regardless, the interlocutors show that this maneuver would entail that God had actually created Adam with a positive inclination to sin, bringing us back to the question of why in the world a morally perfect God would ever do that. Check out this in-depth analysis of another failed attempt to resolve an irresolvable theological contradiction!

Interview with Dennis R. MacDonald on Mimesis and More

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this 45-minute interview with New Testament scholar Dennis R. MacDonald on his September 2022 3-volume reference work Synopses of Epic Tragedy in the Gospels on the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John, and the narratives of the Acts of the Apostles. The interlocutors go on to discuss a central theme of that upcoming verse-by-verse commentary, mimesis (literary imitation), not only of Old Testament themes, but even more so of ancient Greek poetry and philosophy. Their discussion then turns to how the forced arguments of Jesus mythicists unscientifically retrofit the historical data to suit their pre-existing views in the same way as conspiracy theorists, and how the Jewish authorities' response to the empty tomb story supports the existence of a historical Jesus (regardless of the validity of the empty tomb story itself). They then turn to the plausibility of John Dominic Crossan's thesis that Mark is simply an extended parable, which MacDonald believes makes little sense since we need mimesis to understand how Mark rewrites the earlier Q document to be a modest biography infused by Mark with Greek mythology to render it more of an epic than a parable. Finally, MacDonald explains his view of a historical Jesus as a radical Jewish reformer who paid the price for trying to make Jewish law more humane. Check out this intriguing interview with the author of the most important book ever written on the Gospels!

Interview with Richard Carrier on Jesus Mythicism

Join Freethinker Podcast host Edouard Tahmizian in this nearly 40-minute interview with historian and freethinker Richard C. Carrier as Carrier responds to New Testament scholar Dennis R. MacDonald's statement that fellow atheists like Carrier have misappropriated his work, MacDonald's forthcoming definitive reference on the metahistory on the mythologized Gospels, the scholarship of Robyn Faith Walsh on mythologizing Jesus, the penal substitution model of atonement (where Jesus 'sits in' to brutally bear the punishment for our sins), how to square Paul the Apostle's words with a mythicist picture of Jesus as just another mythologized iteration of dying and rising gods, whether the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas is early or late compared to the canonical Gospels, and how Jesus Seminarian John Dominic Crossan's take on that issue compares to that of Mark Goodacre. Check out this fascinating interview with a historian as he shows his wide-ranging command of the historical record!

Interview with Bill Gaede on the Train Paradox and Counterespionage

Join Freethinker Podcast host Edouard Tahmizian in this 40-minute interview with Rational Science podcaster Bill Gaede about what Albert Einstein's train paradox reveals (or doesn't reveal) about the nature of time and the measurement of it, how the standard physical concept of spacetime (e.g., in concepts like simultaneity, time dilation, time travel, and warping spacetime) reifies time, and how the mathematization of physics is divorced from physical reality. In the final three-quarters of the interview, Gaede turns to how his counterintelligence work against Cuba created a spy-versus-spy dynamic that the Cuban government unsuccessfully tried to exploit. Tune-in for any always-fascinating interview with a contender for the most interesting man in the world (with or without the Dos Equis)!

Interview with Bill Gaede on 4-D Cubes and Tradecraft

Join Freethinker Podcast host Edouard Tahmizian in this 45-minute interview with Rational Science podcaster Bill Gaede about the conceivability of 4-dimensional spatial cubes—hypercubes or tesseracts—and his fascinating former life as a Cuban spy. After noting his intellectual "falling out" with Carl Sagan over his atheism, his reliance on mathematical physics and the modern conception of the scientific method, and his Polyannish vision of humanity's future, Gaede explains how the mathematical concept of dimensions differs from the physicist's concept of them. Sagan, for example, conceptualizes a 2-D square as a shadow of a 3-D cube, and goes on to conceptualize a tesseract as the 3-D shadow of a 4-D hypercube. But is such a hypothetical entity physically conceivable? If time is conceived of as the fourth dimension that connects the perpendicular lines in our visual representations of a tesseract, then the tesseract actually involves nested times (when rotated or moving), such that you really have two dimensions of time added (for 5 dimensions, not 4), rendering it conceptually impossible. In the second half of the interview, Gaede talks about his life in Argentina before he worked as a manager for Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) in California, passing trade secrets on to the Cuban government from the mid-1960s until 1979, before turning himself in to the CIA in 1992 and then doing counterintelligence as a double agent for the FBI at Intel, passing on disinformation back to the Cubans thereafter. Gaede recounts the fascinating story of how AMD's discovery of his betrayal ultimately led to his cover being blown. Check out this fascinating dive into the conceivability of purely mathematical concepts that dovetails into the perils of life as an industrial spy!

Interview with Jason Thibodeau on 4-D Cubes

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this about 30-minute interview with returning Cypress College philosophy professor Jason Thibodeau as they outline the fascinating properties of a 4-dimensional spatial cube, or tesseract, by first considering how a creature living in Flatland, a 2-dimensional universe consisting of only length and width, would react to an intersection with that universe by a 3rd-dimensional object or entity. With this analogy to higher-dimensional space in mind, the interlocutors consider how we 3-Drs would react to the intervention of an 4-D being into our 3-D universe. Carl Sagan had suggested that although a Flatlander would not be able to perceive the 3-dimensional height of a 3-D creature, Flatlanders might be able to perceive its 2-dimensional shadow. The discussion turns to whether or not Sagan was right about this: would a 2-D creature actually be able to perceive anything from a 3-D object or entity? If so, what would it be able to perceive? Would it even be conceptually possible for a 3-Dr to exist in a 2-D space, or for a 4-Dr to exist in a 3-D space? If not a 4th spatial dimension, what is it that massive objects curve when they curve spacetime, according to Einstein's theory of general relativity Check out this mind-blowing discussion of modality, conceivability, and possibility!

Interview with Richard Schoenig on Original Sin

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this 40-minute interview with Richard Schoenig, a retired philosophy professor at San Antonio College who's published unique contributions to the philosophy of religion on original sin, the unfairness of Heaven, the objectivity of ethics in a naturalistic universe, and arguments from evil against the existence of God. In the first half of the interview, the interlocutors tackle whether God is the origin of evil per Edouard's "God is Either the Efficient or Final Cause of Evil" (and why—a là French Enlightenment encyclopedist Denis Diderot—God seems to care more about his apples than his children). Then the interlocutors turn to how the Garden of Eden story (and the original sin moral of it) is the edifice of Christianity since without it, salvation from Hell is not necessary in the first place (i.e., Christianity posits the disease so that it can sell you the cure). Finally, Schoenig canvasses the many human beings who, according to Western monotheism, were unable to achieve salvation through no fault of their own—such as those who died in utero, before the age of accountability, with mental handicaps, before Jesus (or other human messengers who delivered the purported requirements of salvation) even existed, or without ever having heard those requirements—whom Schoenig points out constitute the vast majority of human beings that have ever existed. Schoenig notes that attempts to ensure the fairness of salvation by loosening the requirements for the otherwise "unabled" to obtain it simply shift the unfairness of salvation on to the "abled." Unorthodox alternatives like universalism and postmortem-opportunity proposals raise their own vexing problems. Check out this in-depth interview on a fascinating "big picture" critique of Western monotheism!

Interview with Bruno V on Video Game Music

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this 25-minute interview with Bruno V., the world-renowned video game music remixer known for his use of diverse musical styles across artists and musical eras. Edouard and Bruno canvass Bruno's influences, his Metalltool project on social media, his guitar work and use of synthesizers, his remixing process, how composers can improve the quality of their music, the tracks that he covers, how he does the longer tracks, how he pays tribute to the soundtracks that he grew up with, and more. Take a peek into the behind-the-scenes world of video game music and keep an ear out for Bruno V.'s upcoming original compositions soon to be posted on his YouTube channel!

Interview with Vincent Torley on Free Will

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this twenty-five-minute return interview with Vincent Torley, the skeptical Catholic and former intelligent design proponent who wrote the blog series An A-Z of Unanswered Objections to Christianity, on the issue of whether or not the theological problems that arise from the existence of an inclination to sin under either compatibilist or libertarian notions of free will are insurmountable. The interlocutors canvass various unsuccessful attempts to solve the problem before focusing on whether introducing the notion of first- and second-order desires could give a theological out for why human beings have an inclination to sin in the first place. The discussion then turns to whether or not the way that we conceive of ourselves, or the inferiority of God’s creatures compared to himself, could dissolve the problem. Tune in for this in-depth analysis of attempts to get out of a central theological conundrum!

Interview with Keith Augustine on Life after Death

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this twenty-minute return interview with Keith Augustine, Executive Director & Editor-in-Chief of Internet Infidels, as they review the five main kinds of parapsychological evidence for life after death, the most persuasive of those sources and their weaknesses, and the chiefly (but not wholly) neuroscientific evidence against life after death. The interlocutors then canvass the importance of weighing the total available evidence rather than just some particular subset of it. Check out this succinct interview with our illustrious DMCA Agent!

Interview with John Dominic Crossan on Source Criticism

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this half-hour return interview with esteemed Jesus Seminar scholar John Dominic Crossan as they canvass Crossan's thoughts on the 50s-60s CE Q source, why Crossan thinks that the later apocryphal Gospel of Thomas is reflective of an earlier oral tradition (e.g., the fact that roughly one-third of the sayings of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas are also in Q, in different orders, suggesting a common 40s CE oral tradition informing both), how this hypothesized oral tradition approaches the earliest writings of Paul (30s CE), and what Crossan takes to be a good example of an authentic saying of Jesus (namely, the parable that God's kingdom on Earth is like a mustard seed, which is found in Q, Mark, and Thomas). Tune in for this fantastic interview with a leading biblical scholar about historians' attempts to reconstruct the origins of the Gospels!

Interview with Aron Ra on Creationism

Tune in to Edouard Tahmizian's 20-minute interview with Aron Ra about three common creationist objections to Darwinian evolution. First, Aron Ra surveys concepts of abiogenesis from the 1860s to present as they show up in creationist arguments. Next, he responds to creationist arguments from information/complexity (e.g., that there is digital information recorded in our DNA that could not have arisen by natural causes). He then criticizes the claim that there are missing transitional fossils, or 'gaps' in the fossil record, as simply factually inaccurate, before turning to the biological implausibility of the Noah's Ark story. Check out this brief but informative interview!

Interview with Dennis R. MacDonald on the Gospels

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this twenty-minute follow-up interview with New Testament scholar Dennis R. MacDonald on his forthcoming 2-volume reference work Epic Tragedy and the Gospels (on the literary background to gospels that were never intended to be read as histories), the scholarship of Robyn Faith Walsh on mimesis (mythologizing Jesus), the misappropriation of his work by fellow atheists, the Q source and the synoptic problem, and much more. Tune in for this engaging interview with a long-established man of letters!

Interview with Jason Thibodeau on the Moral Argument

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this half-hour follow-up interview with Cypress College philosophy professor Jason Thibodeau as they survey various moral arguments for the existence of God and explain how arguments that chief features of morality point to the divine fall flat. First, Thibodeau notes that the argument that the existence of moral value presupposes the existence of God misfires. Next, he points out out that arguments that we cannot have knowledge of (presumed nonnatural) moral properties without divine assistance simply do not stand up to scrutiny. Finally, he considers a kind of Kantian moral argument that behaving morally only makes sense if good people are rewarded and evil ones are punished in a divinely organized afterlife. Both interlocutors agree that there has to be some independent standard of goodness, otherwise anyone could just define whatever one's nature happens to be as good, no matter how harmful that nature. Thibodeau then tries to flesh out this first kind of moral argument by suggesting that the 'odd' feature of morality that it exploits is that moral obligations are in authoritative, but notes that inserting God anywhere in the discussion does not provide the needed authoritativeness of morality. Both interlocutors then go on to note the ways in which all roads lead to moral subjectivism if God taken to be the source of morality. Tune in for this wide-ranging interview on the nature of morality!

Interview with Robert M. Price on Jesus Mythicism (Part II)

Pick up where you left off at the end of Part I and return to host Edouard Tahmizian in the second 20-minute part of his two-part follow-up interview with esteemed biblical scholar Robert M. Price. The interlocutors go on to discuss whether the earliest Christians also believed in something like Calvinist predestination and which New Testament typologies (correspondences between Old Testament figures and New Testament one), if any, Price prefers. The discussion then turns to Price's forthcoming book The Gospels Behind the Gospels, his response to C. S. Lewis titled Merely Christianity, his When Gospels Collide on contradictions between the Gospel accounts, his Judaizing Jesus, his forthcoming Not Peace, But a Sword, his dabbling in writing fiction, and much more!

Interview with Robert M. Price on Jesus Mythicism (Part I)

In this first half-hour of a two-part follow-up interview with esteemed biblical scholar Robert M. Price, host Edouard Tahmizian queries Price about his recent anthology edited with John W. Loftus, Varieties of Jesus Mythicism: Did He Even Exist? They canvass the role of Jungian mythical archetypes as a kind of script for rituals/rites of passage, Price's take on the scholarship of Robyn Faith Walsh and the historical plausibility of her thesis that educated Hellenistic writers composed the New Testament, whether there were pre-Gospel narratives that were more consistent than the canonical Gospels and exploited by them (in themes like Jesus as the returned Elijah, Jesus as the new Moses, Jesus as a magician, and so on, and by portraying competitors to Jesus as servants of him), and the Gnostic understanding of salvation. Tune in to this animated conversation about fascinating ideas, and then be sure to tune in to Part II, too!

Interview with John MacDonald on the Gospels

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this half-hour follow-up interview with Internet Infidels President John MacDonald about why he thinks that the canonical Gospels do not support the idea that Jesus died as a kind of stand-in for us sinners (most clearly evidenced in the Gospel of Luke), what the historical Jesus would've thought about removing circumcision as a requirement for becoming a Christian, the alternative Gnostic understanding of salvation, how the gospel of Mark suggests that the historical Jesus would've had no inkling of the concept that his eventual death might serve as a substitute punishment for the sins of all humankind, and how the historical Jesus' understanding of love differed from the ancient Greek concept of it. MacDonald also compares the societal fall-out following Socrates' execution in Plato's dialogues to that anticipated by the historical Jesus, explains how the idea that Jesus died for our sins makes little sense not only because substituting one person for another's crimes is morally absurd, but because most of us haven't committed any sins that warrant capital punishment, and offers his take on Richard Carrier's defense of Jesus mythicism. Check out this historical and philosophical exploration of one of the core claims of modern Christianity (and the partial transcript of it on the Secular Frontier).