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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.

Musical Creations

SoundCloud Page (2024) (Off Site)

Internet Infidels Vice President Edouard Tahmizian has uploaded some additional musical creations on his SoundCloud account. Check it out!

Internet Infidels Sheet Music for Flute | Noteflight (2024) (Off Site)

Internet Infidels Vice President Edouard Tahmizian has created an official theme track for Internet Infidels on Noteflight. Take a listen and let us know what you think on Noteflight!

Sweet Prelude. Sheet Music for Piano/Keyboard | Noteflight (2024) (Off Site)

Internet Infidels Vice President Edouard Tahmizian has written a nice piano track that he’s titled Sweet Prelude. Check it out!

Happy Holidays! Sheet Music for Piano/Keyboard | Noteflight (2023) (Off Site)

Our Board Vice President, Edouard Tahmizian, has wrote a nice track to celebrate the coming Holidays! Tune in!


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 Richard Schoenig on Where Christianity Errs

Join Freethinker Podcast host Edouard Tahmizian and, for the second time, long-time Secular Web author Richard Schoenig for about half an hour on Schoenig's (just published!) accessible yet wide-ranging Where Christianity Errs: A Fair and Clear Philosophical Assessment. The interlocutors canvass Schoenig's research in the philosophy of religion, his deconversion from Catholicism, and the wide variety of topics covered in his new book, such as original sin, petitionary prayer, faith in the absence of evidence, how a loving God could send people to Hell, a secular take on the meaning of life, the relationship between Christianity and atheism, and even the relationship between Christianity and politics. Schoenig then outlines his argument that the denial of opportunities for salvation to large numbers of human beings amounts to compelling evidence against the existence of such a God before Tahmizian turns to his argument that if biblical hard determinism is true, God would be the efficient cause of the sin that all humans supposedly inherited from Adam and Eve, and that if biblical hard determinism is not true, God would still be the final cause of that sin, making God the ultimate source of all evil. Next Schoenig outlines his Heaven World argument that he has previously defended in more detail on the Secular Web. Tune in for just a small taste of the inconsistencies that arise when merely combining indispensable Christian doctrines!

Interview with Adam Taylor on Abortion Apologetics

Join Freethinker Podcast host Edouard Tahmizian and first-time Kiosk author (hot off the press!) Adam Taylor for a 20-minute interview on the anti-abortion apologetics of long-renowned Christian apologists like Norman Geisler and Paul Copan. Taylor shares what motivated him to take on this topic, whether the Bible actually describes the unborn as persons protected under the sixth commandment, and whether—imagining that the Bible does consider the unborn as persons with a right to life—nevertheless abortion might be biblically permitted as one of many exceptions to the 'Thou Shalt not Kill' commandment. After chewing on the free will-determinism debate for a bit, the interlocutors turn to reconciling the belief that life begins at conception with the high miscarriage rate within the first trimester and Taylor's willingness to engage with criticisms of his critique. Check out this quick overview of the key issues that come up in Christian anti-abortion apologetics!

Interview with Bill Gaede & Jason Thibodeau on the Rope Hypothesis

Join Freethinker Podcast host Edouard Tahmizian, Rational Science podcaster and ex-Cuban-spy Bill Gaede, and Cypress College philosophy professor Jason Thibodeau for over an hour as they debate the scientific tenability of Gaede’s rope hypothesis. Many multifaceted issues come up in the discussion, such as the special circumstances under which the atoms that are usually connected by the electromagnetic threads (according to the hypothesis) pass through each other, the failure of standard mathematical physics to provide any mechanism through which a magnet or gravity acts, what the concepts of black holes, dark matter, and dark energy actually refer to in physical reality, what happens to anything that enters a black hole, what the hypothesis’ electromagnetic threads and ropes are composed of, how magnetic attraction actually works, and many other technical details of the hypothesis. Tune in for a far-ranging interview on a number of core, fundamental issues with contemporary physics!

Interview with Robert M. Price on Paul, Lying Spirits, and Acts

Check out Edouard Tahmizian's latest just over an hour interview with long-time biblical scholar Robert M. Price on Price's reasons for thinking that St. Paul was actually Simon Magnus and why Price does not believe that Paul wrote any of the thirteen letters attributed to him, among other things. After Price outlines his grounds for these conclusions, the interlocutors turn the discussion to how far back Price dates the Pre-Pauline Creed in 1 Corinthians 15, how he interprets 1 Kings 22's apparent reference to God working with evil spirits, why God allows demonic possession to occur at all if he wants to eliminate sin, which account provides the clearest example of New Testament mimesis, whether we should date 2 Peter to the 2nd century CE, whether it makes any sense to think that Jesus would've "abolished" the 650 laws of the Jewish Torah, and much more. Tune in for an in-depth discussion of Price's insights into what contemporary biblical scholarship tells us about these fascinating issues!

Interview with Richard Carrier & John MacDonald on Mark, Galatians, & Apotheosis

Tune in to Freethinker Podcast as host Edouard Tahmizian is joined by Internet Infidels President John MacDonald in this 45-minute interview with historian and freethinker Richard C. Carrier. Carrier fields several questions from his interlocutors concerning how he harmonizes certain New Testament passages with his Christ myth theory, whether there's textual evidence that the Book of Mark predates that of Matthew (and, if so, how that sits with the resurrection appearance accounts), whether the Q source existed (and if so, whether Mark used it), whether seemingly anti-Jewish interpolations might really be references to another instance where God's chosen people fail to meet God's expectations, whether there was a grave site 'disappearing bodies' problem spurring the Nazareth inscription, and much more! Check out this gripping interview with our returning historian on facts that some suggest don't sit well with the nonexistence of a historical Jesus.

Interview with Jason Thibodeau on the Rationality of Bill Gaede’s Critique of Mathematical Physics

Join Freethinker Podcast host Edouard Tahmizian for under an hour in an interview with Cypress College philosophy professor Jason Thibodeau about whether Rational Science podcaster Bill Gaede's rope hypothesis and critique of contemporary mathematical physics constitutes a fair and rational critique of mainstream physics. In particular, Ed and Jason canvass how lay audiences should approach scientific questions requiring specialized training to understand, Gaede's knowledge of biology and attitude toward mainstream science, how Gaede's rope hypothesis appears to be more metaphysical than scientific in a way that mirrors the metaphysical status of Philip Goff's panpsychism, what it means for a theory to count as a scientific explanation, elements of Gaede's hypothesis that are in tension with each other, how "spooky action at a distance" differs from Gaede's characterization of it as "black magic," and more! Tune in for a critical analysis of Gaede's more emphatic claims, as well as some of those almost made in passing.

Interview with Robert M. Price on Old Testament Prophesying, Qur’anic Variations, & Josephusian Miracles

Check out Edouard Tahmizian's about roughly hour-long interview with Christ myth biblical scholar Robert M. Price on Old Testament prophecy, variations in Qur'anic translations, I Clement, and early historical accounts of miraculous events. In this twelfth interview the interlocutors discuss whether Psalm 22:16 is genuinely prophetic of a coming messiah, why Muslims believe that the Devil acted as if Jesus was resurrected while simultaneously believing that Jesus never prophesized that he would rise from the dead, how textual variance in the Qur'an compares to that in the canonical Gospels, when the letter to the Corinthians in the First Epistle of Clement was written and whether we have any clue as to its authorship, and naturalistic explanations for Flavius Josephus' accounts of miraculous events. Tune in for a far-reaching interview with a noted biblical scholar!

Interview with Bill Gaede & Keith Augustine on Unconventional Physics

Join Freethinker Podcast host Edouard Tahmizian in this just over one-hour interview with Rational Science podcaster and Why God Doesn’t Exist author Bill Gaede and Internet Infidels Executive Director Keith Augustine. The participants canvass Gaede’s account of magnetic attraction and repulsion, why the “ropes” and “threads” of Gaede’s rope hypothesis don’t get tangled with each other, how his rope hypothesis differs from string theory, why he thinks that relativistic effects like time dilation are not evidence for either general or special relativity, his take on “black magic” accounts of quantum entanglement or “spooky action at a distance,” and what happens when you turn on a flashlight under his rope hypothesis. Tune in for an alternative take to the received wisdom of mathematical physics!

Interview with Robert M. Price on Christian & Islamic Apologetics

Tune in to Edouard Tahmizian's over half-an-hour interview with returning biblical scholar Robert M. Price about Christian and Islamic apologetics. In this interview the interlocutors canvass the Christian apologetic claim that St. Paul would have been dismissed by his contemporaries had he made up the existence of 500 witnesses to the resurrected Jesus, how Christian apologists square Gospel claims that Jesus wanted to be baptized by John the Baptist with Jesus' status as the sinless son of God, whether the alleged reference to John the Baptist by Josephus is genuine, why Jesus would curse a fig tree when it was not in season for bearing figs, whether the appearance of the angel Gabriel to Muhammad was a genuine historical event, and why the Hebrews in the first five books of the Old Testament referred to the Abrahamic God as Yahweh rather than Allah if Allah was the true name of God. Check out the rapid fire discussion in just over 30 minutes!

Interview with Robert M. Price on Old Testament Canon & Miracles

Check out Edouard Tahmizian's roughly hour-and-fifteen-minute interview with legendary biblical scholar Robert M. Price about Price's ongoing participation in Bishop Ray Taylor's Wise as a Serpent! podcast and his forthcoming The Heresy of Paraphrase and Houses of the Holy: A Higher-Critical Survey of World Religions before the interlocutors turn to Price's view on how much (or how little) we can know about what Old Testament books would have been considered part of the Old Testament canon to Jews living during the period in which Jesus would've lived, how the apocrypha were never intended to be understood as disavowed books, the non-Old-Testament origin of the exorcism tradition from contemporaneous faith healers and magicians, whether Jesus was asked to perform miracles (provide signs from God) on demand by nonbelievers to embarrass him in an instance of nonbelievers' confirmation bias, whether there was really a hypothesized oral tradition connecting the time of Jesus to the much later time when the Gospels were written, and more! Tune in for an enlightening discussion of the bewildering relationship between sacred texts and the "history" that is supposed to ground them!

Interview with Robert M. Price on New Testament Questions

Tune in for about an hour as host Edouard Tahmizian queries biblical scholar and Jesus mythicist Robert M. Price about topics ranging from how the Trinity doctrine's identification of Jesus and the Holy Spirit with God sits with the New Testament corpus, to whether or not Erasmus' Textus Receptus—or the 1611 King James Version of the Bible based on it—comes closest to the original biblical writings in light of subsequent historical discoveries. The discussion canvasses a number of different issues, such as Price's take on whether the story of Samson in the Book of Judges merely copies and recontextualizes the myth of Hercules for a Jewish audience, why the Gospel of Mark has four different endings (and whether any of these are faithful to the original Mark), the reasons for the contradictions in the different accounts of the death of Judas, why Matthew says that no one (apart from God) knows the day or hour of Jesus' second coming, and whether the author of Acts intentionally made a memetic parallel between a demon and the spirit of divination within the ancient Greek oracle at Delphi. Check out this wide-ranging interview with an long-time synthesizer of biblical scholarship!

Interview with Edward Tabash on the Court Dismantling Separation of Church & State

Check out this about an hour return interview between host Edouard Tahmizian and Los Angeles constitutional lawyer Edward Tabash about two US Supreme Court cases decided at the end of June 2023 impacting the separation of church and state. In Groff v. DeJoy, the Court decided that a federal civil rights law requires employers to make substantial accommodations to federal workers’ religious views, forcing nonreligious workers to work on otherwise off days to cover religious workers observing the Sabbath. In 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, the Court decided that a Christian graphic designer has a special right to avoid complying with Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws by refusing requests to design websites for the weddings of same-sex couples. The new Court has developed a two-pronged strategy in dealing with First Amendment religious exercise cases, with Groff v. DeJoy exemplifying openly allowing government promotion of religious ideals, and 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis allowing religious exemptions to laws (such as anti-discrimination laws) that apply to institutions that serve purposes that are not religious. But as Tabash conclusively shows, the Founding Fathers clearly intended that nonbelievers be treated equal under the law to believers, undermining Religious Right claims that either the United States is a Christian Nation, or else that the First Amendment permits legal favoritism for religious belief generally over nonbelief. Tabash then turns to upcoming free exercise cases on their way to the Supreme Court and more pressing threats to nonbelievers’ constitutional rights.

Particularly disturbing are signs that the Religious Right is attempting to replace the existing US Constitution with a version that would undermine First Amendment rights by invoking Article 5, in which two-thirds of States (all Houses of 38 legislatures) can call for a Constitutional Convention. 19 States have already fully voted on this in all their legislative Houses, and 7 additional States already have one legislative House that has voted for this convention. The former include Nebraska, Georgia, Alaska, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Indiana, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arizona, North Dakota, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Utah, Nebraska, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and South Carolina, and the latter include New Mexico, Iowa, South Dakota, Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Wyoming. Tabash believes that those in Nebraska or States where both houses have passed the Convention should contact their legislatures in both Houses (or the one House in Nebraska) asking them reverse the decision and repeal the convention call, while those in the latter should contact their representatives in the one legislature that has already voted for it and ask them to consider reversing their decision, and contact the representatives in the other, yet-to-ratify House and urge them not to ratify it. Those in remaining states, Tabash urges, should call members of both Houses of their state legislatures and urge them to vote against the resolution or decline to consider it.

Interview with Robert M. Price on Mimesis & the Gospels

Tune in to this roughly hour-long discussion between host Edouard Tahmizian and biblical scholar Robert M. Price as they discuss Robyn Faith Walsh's suggestion that the Gospels were written by elite cultural producers working within a dynamic cadre of literate specialists, specialists who may not even have been Christians, in light of Richard Carrier's response that the Gospel authors were clearly concerned missionaries. The discussion then turns to why the Gospel authors would do mimesis (mythologizing Jesus) if a significant proportion of their non-literary audience would not pick up on what they were doing, whether Price finds it plausible that early Christians believed (as Carrier maintains) that Jesus was crucified by sky demons in other realms (or that Jesus was a celestial mythical being that was eventually historicized for polemical purposes, as perhaps suggested in the Book of Revelation), whether Church Father Irenaeus was correct that the Book of Revelation was written circa 90-100 CE, whether Papias' account can be trusted as a historically accurate account of the early Gospel authors, whether first-century Israelites would've needed permission from Roman authorities to kill a suspected false prophet (typically by stoning, not Roman crucifixion), and why Gospel miracle accounts would be done in private among people who knew Jesus rather than out in public for everyone to see. Check out this novel overview of some of these debates with a seasoned biblical scholar!

Second Interview with Robyn Faith Walsh & Dennis R. MacDonald

Check out the second Freethinker Podcast interview between host Edouard Tahmizian and New Testament scholars Robyn Faith Walsh and Dennis R. MacDonald for about an hour as they review reactions to MacDonald's recent Synopses of Epic, Tragedy, and the Gospels from academics and Christian apologists, particularly on his account of mimesis (literary imitation mythologizing Jesus) and his alternative Q (the Logoi of Jesus), and then preview MacDonald's forthcoming Homer and the Quest for the Earliest Gospel on understanding the Gospels as mimetic projects that are contesting the canonical past of the Greeks, which in turn helps us understand how early Christians contested the canonical past of the Hebrew Bible (and brings us closer to understanding the world in which Jesus lived). The discussion then turns to why MacDonald dates the Q document back to the early 60s CE (such that no part of Q dates to the post-Temple period), the narrative differences that suggest to him that Papias predates Luke, how scholars reconstruct lost books from antiquity, where the attribution of names like Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to the canonical Gospels came from (given that the early Q was simply anonymous sayings of Jesus), how promoting sacred texts as anonymous gives them more authority as revelations from God rather than simply the perspectives of particular people, how MacDonald applies social identity theory from sociology to generate a kind of social identity literary criticism to identify and stereotype the villain and the insider/protagonist in literature from antiquity, and much more. MacDonald ultimately explains why he doesn't feel comfortable attributing any sayings attributed to Jesus, in either the canonical Gospels or the earlier Q document, to the historical Jesus, though he does think that New Testament scholars can understand the alternative Jewish voice that the historical Jesus represented, which had an alternative understanding of Jewish laws than the predominant one at the time. The discussion ends on areas where MacDonald partially agrees, and partially disagrees, with Walsh. Tune in for a wide-ranging interview on a number of topics of great interest within biblical scholarship between top-notch experts in the field!

Interview with Stephen Sullivan on Divine Command Theory

Check out the latest Freethinker Podcast interview with host Edouard Tahmizian for his roughly hour-long discussion with philosopher Stephen J. Sullivan about whether the position that God made us—and therefore he owns us—is a viable response to objections to classic (Plato-inspired) divine command theory, whether atheists can ground 'ought' statements (or at least moral duties) in the power of moral reasoning without need for a divine moral lawgiver, the role on biblical inconsistencies in countering ad hoc responses to objections to classic divine command theory, existentialist atheists like Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre, how fundamentalist Christians deal with the free will vs. determinism (or predestination) issue, and whether less conservative Christians are able to concede that the Bible is not inerrant without generating logical inconsistencies. Tune in for some deep insights from a moral philosopher who has thought about these topics for decades!

Interview with Philip Goff on Panpsychism

Tune in to Freethinker Podcast with host Edouard Tahmizian for an about an hour-and-fifteen-minute interview with panpsychist philosopher of mind Philip Goff as Tahmizian, Keith Augustine, and Jason Thibodeau query Goff about his reasons for embracing panpsychism, the view that all matter has some degree of a conscious or experiential element to it. Goff expertly fields questions from all three interlocuters about how his panpsychist views differ from those of other philosophers of mind and his rationale for taking this position. He suggests that "physicalist" Galen Strawson holds substantially the same view that he does, their differences largely being semantic ones about the meaning of the term physicalism (or materialism). Goff also responds to criticisms (like those of Massimo Pigliucci) that his picture of the mind is unscientific. He canvasses the hard problem of consciousness, structuralism about physics, why he favors taking the Russellian monist theory of mind in a specifically panpsychist direction, and what it might even mean to say that something like an electron has experiences. Goff also discusses whether arguing from a "top down" cosmopsychism (i.e., that the universe as a whole has experiential aspects, and divides down into our individual consciousnesses) is less problematic than arguing from the "bottom up" that the most fundamental constituents of matter have simple experiential aspects that somehow combine into our more complex, but unified, individual consciousnesses. The discussion then turns to Goff's take on the (classic, Plato-inspired) divine command theory of ethics, fine-tuning arguments, whether there's a middle way between traditional omni-God theism and traditional atheism that may be more attractive than either of those binary choices, whether libertarian free will exists given the possibility of determinism, and how his broader philosophical views impact the question of life's meaning. Check out this wide-ranging interview with a renowned philosopher of mind who has become increasingly prominent in public debates about these issues over the last several years!

Interview with Vincent Torley on Recent Apologetics

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this roughly 40-minute return interview with skeptical Catholic Vincent Torley, opening with his critique of recent defenses of long-popular Christian apologetics, such as his recent Skeptical Zone post on Gavin Ortlund's (unsuccessful) defense of C. S. Lewis' liar, lunatic, or lord trilemma on Cameron Bertuzzi's Capturing Christianity podcast in August 2022, an argument that actually goes back to its first formulation in the late 19th century by Scots preacher John Duncan ("Christ either deceived mankind by conscious fraud, or He was Himself deluded and self-deceived, or He was Divine"). Torley notes that there are, in fact, seven or so alternatives, including that Jesus' divine status was merely a legend, that Jesus was mistaken without being insane, that Jesus was simply a mystic, or that Jesus never even existed as a historical figure at all, among other possibilities. Torley summarizes Ortlund's responses to these alternatives, which claim that they are not genuine possibilities for Jesus, and Ortlund's reasons for maintaining that Jesus was neither a "liar" nor a "lunatic," either. Torley then outlines the unintelligibility of the theological concepts of incarnation or the Trinity, despite recent attempts to make sense of them, before returning to the point that neither the traditional "lord, liar, or lunatic" nor modified "cosmic judge, liar, or lunatic" trilemma will be convincing in light of scriptural sources. Tahmizian then turns the discussion back to the unintelligibility of the incarnation and the Trinity, and how the human disposition to sin could possibly fit into such concepts, before closing on lighter topics like what life is like for Torley in Japan. Tune in for this fascinating discussion of an often-repeated but not particularly compelling apologetic argument!

Ultimate Weight Loss Plan

Tune in to a short video clip where Internet Infidels Vice President Edouard Tahmizian talks about his unique diet plan, as well as some of his achievements for Internet Infidels. He believes that some diet plans fail to mention what is actually the central concern that keeps people from being successful, and plans to share information on those tips once he loses weight. He is currently 202.6 lbs and plans to reach 140 lbs by September at latest.

Interview with Keith Augustine on Doing Afterlife Research

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this over half-an-hour interview with Keith Augustine, Executive Director & Editor-in-Chief of Internet Infidels, as they discuss what parapsychologists or psychical researchers have presented as the "best" parapsychological evidence for life after death, the largely neuroscientific evidence against life after death, and problematic religious or spiritual conceptions of the purpose of earthly life. The interlocutors then canvass how those who research life after death from an ostensibly scientific starting-point often mirror the same sorts of fallacious reasoning found in Christian apologetics. Check out this quick interview for such a wide range of topics with a long-time afterlife skeptic (and Digital Millennium Copyright Act Agent)!

Interview with Dan Barker on Future Directions

Tune in to Freethinker Podcast with host Edouard Tahmizian in this roughly 20-minute interview with Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) co-director Dan Barker about his recent trip to India and the Atheist Centre there, FFRF's legal victory to display a secular nativity scene with a manger holding a copy of the Bill of Rights in Texas' state capitol, the FFRF's involvement in the formation of the Thomas Paine Memorial Association to establish a permanent Thomas Paine memorial statue in Washington, DC, and Barker's latest books, including the (Richard-Dawkins-inspired) title God: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction (available in paperback in May 2023). In Dawkins' The God Delusion, the first sentence of chapter two characterized the biblical God as "the most unpleasant character in all fiction; jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving, control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully." In Barker's forthcoming (and expanded) paperback edition of God: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction, each of the 19 chapters in part 1 ("Dawkins was Right") lays out the biblical verses (especially those in the Old Testament) backing up each of Dawkins' characterizations of Yahweh. In part 2 ("Dawkins was Too Kind"), Barker adds eight additional chapters on the personality flaws of the biblical God that Dawkins could have mentioned: pyromaniacal, angry, merciless, curse-hurling, vaccicidal, aborticidal, cannibalistic, and slavemongering. On an FFRF companion website to the book, Barker lists a sampling of verses on all of these characteristics, adding three more still: homicidal, evil, and terrorist. Barker also dives into what to expect from his longer-term book project (slated for 2024), The End of Worship, which in part 1 ("What is Worship?") just allows religious believers to speak for themselves long enough to incriminate themselves (so that Barker can't be accused of straw manning them). In part 2 ("Why Do We Worship?"), Barker lays out his hypothesis that some human beings voluntarily subjugate themselves to a "master" or king-like higher power for biological reasons instilled in us over the generations by those in power. In part 3 ("Should We Worship?"), Barker adds his personal take on whether worship is a desirable behavior for us to engage in. Check out this quick overview of the shape and direction to look forward to in Barker's future projects!

Interview with Bill Gaede & Jason Thibodeau on Human Extinction

Join Freethinker Podcast host Edouard Tahmizian in this hour-and-a-quarter interview with Rational Science podcaster and ex-Cuban-spy Bill Gaede and Cypress College philosophy professor Jason Thibodeau on the future of humankind. First they canvas the possibility that all mass extinctions on Earth have been the result of an ecological pyramid overturning (the population pyramid overturning for plants and the ecological pyramid overturning for animals), and the extrapolation from this pattern that human beings are unable to stop this overturning in their own case. Human beings were put on track in 1963 for zero population growth by mid-21st-century, Gaede argues, and rely on an artificial construct of money to secure the food that we need to survive, but that construct is divorced from the actual growth of resources necessary for the sort of economic system that human civilization has developed. A critical discussion ensues about the so-called "Alvarez hypothesis" that an asteroid impact wiped out the dinosaurs, if unprecedented economic collapse leading to the arrest of food production entails full-blown human extinction rather than simply a precipitous drop in population, the upper bounds of when human extinction might take place, and much more. Tune in for a fascinating—if sobering—discussion about the future of our own species!

Interview with Jason Thibodeau on Whether Theism is Necessary for Morality

Check out this nearly 90-minute debate preparation between host Edouard Tahmizian and Cypress College philosophy professor Jason Thibodeau about the ways in which some apologists might argue that belief in God is necessary for morality, and how opponents might respond to those arguments. Thibodeau proposes that they first break down the issue into smaller, more digestible slices on central concerns, starting with the meaning of should/ought in the sense raised in David Hume's is/ought distinction (i.e., that one ought to do what one is morally obligated to do). Moral philosophers widely agree that its meaning has something to do with at least having reasons for acting, and more importantly for morality, having an all-things-considered reason for acting in particular instances. Thibodeau proposes starting with a simple version of a moral argument for the existence of God: that moral obligation could only exist if God existed, it does, and therefore so does God. If the argument were reasonable, then there would have to be some specific aspect of moral obligation that's difficult to account for on the assumption that God doesn't exist—but then what aspect could be proffered that has that feature? There would also have to be some way in which positing God's existence would clearly account for the existence of this feature. After recounting a list of features that Christian apologist Matt Flanagan has said are central to the concept of moral obligation (like reasons for acting being authoritative and categorical, or failing to act in a certain way being blameworthy), Thibodeau goes on to consider how any of them could be problematic on the assumption that God not exist, or how positing God's existence could even possibly explain their existence. To get a feel for the angles that a Christian apologist might try to exploit to force some sort of necessary connection between morality and religion, look no further than this multiperspectival discussion!

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!