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Interview with Massimo Pigliucci

Join Edouard Tahmizian in this half-hour interview with Massimo Pigliucci, K. D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science with doctorates in evolutionary biology, genetics, and philosophy. Pigliucci canvasses the philosophy of science since Karl Popper, particularly on the issue of how best to distinguish science from pseudoscience (where many pseudosciences are falsified in practice, and thus falsifiable in principle), before turning to his main criticisms of the so-called "New Atheists," Aristotle's three components of persuasion (arguments/reasons/facts, credibility, and getting your audience to care about what you're saying), his debates with creationists, his criticisms of Bernardo Kastrup's view that consciousness is fundamental, why he thinks that posing the hard problem of consciousness involves committing a category mistake, and the biologically indefensible implications of taking the Noah's Ark story as literal history. Check out this intriguing discussion of such a wide assortment of topics!

February 7, 2022

Added the thirty-third Freethinker Podcast YouTube interview with Monica L. Miller (2022) to the Freethinker Podcast page under Resources on the Secular Web. Tune in to a discussion between host Edouard Tahmizian and Monica L. Miller, the Vice President of the Humanist Global Charity and Executive Director of the Humanist Legal Society who has litigated […]

Interview with Monica L. Miller

Tune in to a discussion between host Edouard Tahmizian and Monica L. Miller, the Vice President of the Humanist Global Charity and Executive Director of the Humanist Legal Society who has litigated for the American Humanist Association and the Nonhuman Rights Project, the only civil rights organization in the United States dedicated solely to securing rights for nonhuman animals. Miller has litigated nearly 30 First Amendment cases before the US Supreme Court and the Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits, as well as historic animal personhood cases, and has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, The Young Turks, and other media outlets. In this discussion, Miller notes how busy the new Supreme Court has kept civil rights lawyers lately on church-state separation issues that they would have easily won in the recent past, the church-state violation cases that she's currently working on, and cases that she's worked on in the recent past. She also talks about some of the recent articles that she's written as an OnlySky columnist, such as an article on how Christians actually have to most to lose when the principle of separation of church and state is not upheld in practice and Christian religious ideals get watered down in the public square or become subject to more public scorn or ridicule than would occur otherwise. Check out this quick yet informative interview on the more pressing issues facing nonbelievers in the coming years!

January 31, 2022

Added Review of The God Debates (2022) by Taylor Carr to to the Theistic Cosmological Arguments, Argument to Design, and Religious Experience pages under Arguments for the Existence of a God, as well as the the Evidential Arguments from Evil page under Arguments for Atheism, in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library. It isn’t too difficult to get lost […]

Review of The God Debates

It isn't too difficult to get lost in the language of the God debates. Navigating the landscape can quickly turn frustrating when so many of the foundational texts of theology rival the Bible itself in terms of length. Thankfully, there are books like John Shook's The God Debates that accurately and elegantly break down these sorts of subjects for a lay audience. Shook distinguishes five categories of theology that form the bedrock of discussion in the book. The chapters on these categories constitute an impressive and fairly comprehensive survey of the major approaches to theology in the last several centuries, cataloging important differences that help Shook construct a powerful case for doubt utilizing some of the very same issues that provoke these separations in theological thought. There is much to enjoy and learn from in The God Debates, even for those already acquainted with its major areas of focus. The overview given throughout the book is thought-provoking and insightful on multiple fronts. The author's awareness of so many domains of intersection with religion, and his attention to them, sets a high standard for discourse that needs to be emulated in more of the God debates.

Interview with Dale McGowan

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this roughly 10-minute interview with Dale McGowan, chief content officer for the secular media platform OnlySky and author of the classic Parenting Beyond Belief. Dale and Ed's breezy chat kicks off with an overview of McGowan's checkered past teaching music, promoting science advocacy, podcasting, and serving as the managing editor of the nonreligious blogs at Patheos before most of their content creators migrated over to OnlySky in 2022. The discussion turns to OnlySky's vision for reaching out to the larger bell curve of people who have no religious affiliation, but don't explicitly identify as atheists or agnostics, and how OnlySky has a wider vision for media production compared to Patheos' exclusive function as a multiblog. Check it out!

January 27, 2022

Added the thirty-first Freethinker Podcast YouTube interview with David Fitzgerald and Dana Fredsti (2022) to the Freethinker Podcast page under Resources on the Secular Web. Tune in to this half-hour discussion between host Edouard Tahmizian and Jesus mythicist David Fitzgerald, a former member of the now defunct Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion, and […]

Interview with David Fitzgerald & Dana Fredsti

Tune in to this half-hour discussion between host Edouard Tahmizian and Jesus mythicist David Fitzgerald, a former member of the now defunct Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion, and his wife Dana Fredsti, a sci-fi author and actress who has appeared in such films as Army of Darkness. Edouard's guests survey the plot lines of their cowritten Time Shards trilogy, their favorite draft beers, and whether Jesus mythicism is going to go mainstream. Check out this wide-ranging interview on a variety of interesting topics!

Interview with Jeffery Jay Lowder

Join Edouard Tahmizian in this over-an-hour interview/presentation with the legend himself, Jeffery Jay Lowder, co-founder of Internet Infidels, as they canvas approaching philosophical topics with a scouting rather than soldiering mindset, cognitive bias in the philosophy of religion, the definition of atheism, the Euthyphro dilemma to classic divine command theory, how inference to the best explanation and Bayesian approaches to evaluating evidence work, whether theism is a better explanation for the existence of objective moral facts than naturalism, William Lane Craig's moral argument for the existence of God, and much more!

January 25, 2022

New in the Kiosk: What’s Wrong with Using Bayes’ Theorem on Miracles? (2022) by John Loftus In this essay John Loftus defends Hitchens’ razor: “What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.” Christopher Hitchens’ point was that miracle claims without any evidence should be dismissed without a further thought. Bayes’ theorem requires the existence […]

What’s Wrong with Using Bayes’ Theorem on Miracles?

In this essay John Loftus defends Hitchens’ razor: "What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." Christopher Hitchens' point was that miracle claims without any evidence should be dismissed without a further thought. Bayes' theorem requires the existence of some credible evidence/data before it can be correctly used in evaluating miracle claims. So to be Bayes-worthy, a miracle claim must first survive Hitchens' razor, which dismisses all miracle claims asserted without any evidence. If this first step doesn't take place, Bayes is being used inappropriately and must be opposed as irrelevant, unnecessary, and even counterproductive in our honest quest for truth.

January 23, 2022

Added the twenty-ninth Freethinker Podcast YouTube interview with Paul Richards (2022) to the Freethinker Podcast page under Resources on the Secular Web. Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this 5-minute interview with fellow board member Paul Richards, the top administrator of and board liason for Internet Infidels Discussion Board (IIDB). In this friendly chat, Paul briefly […]

Interview with Paul Richards

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this 5-minute interview with fellow board member Paul Richards, the top administrator of and board liason for Internet Infidels Discussion Board (IIDB). In this friendly chat, Paul briefly notes the recent history of IIDB and welcomes newbies looking for an online hub to take a look and sign up if they'd like to participate in the lively discussions on a wide range of topics there. The IIDB community has served as a kind of online family for many long-time IIDBrs, and is just a fun place to be for those looking to participate in humor contests or video game strategy rundowns in addition to the more heady discussions of science, skepticism, religion, and politics. There's a bit of something for everybody in the appropriate subforums, so if you're into chatting on discussion forums, check out the new and improved Internet Infidels Discussion Board!

January 19, 2022

Added the twenty-eighth Freethinker Podcast YouTube interview with Grant Kirkhope (2022) to the Freethinker Podcast page under Resources on the Secular Web. Check out this roughly 10-minute talk between Internet Infidels social media manager Edouard Tahmizian and Grant Kirkhope, a BAFTA-nominated (by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts) composer who composed the soundtrack […]

Interview with Grant Kirkhope

Check out this roughly 10-minute talk between Internet Infidels social media manager Edouard Tahmizian and Grant Kirkhope, a BAFTA-nominated (by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts) composer who composed the soundtrack for the video game series 007 Golden Eye, Perfect Dark, Ghostbusters, Mario Plus, Donkey Kong, and many others selling in excess of 30 millions copies, to say nothing of his movie soundtracks (including movies coming out January and March 2022). Kirkhope outlines his current musical projects, what it's like working with a large team on such projects, how he decides what musical score would be appropriate for a given video game, and the digital composition tools he uses to compose music for video games and movies and whether these have made his compositions easier to produce than before they were available. Tune in for this fascinating interview with an industry insider!

January 16, 2022

Added the twenty-seventh Freethinker Podcast YouTube interview with Justin Ykema (2022) to the Freethinker Podcast page under Resources on the Secular Web. Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this roughly 15-minute interview with Justin Ykema, author of “A Critique of the Free Will Defense: A Comprehensive Look at Alvin Plantinga’s Solution to the Problem of Evil.” […]

Interview with Justin Ykema

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this roughly 15-minute interview with Justin Ykema, author of "A Critique of the Free Will Defense: A Comprehensive Look at Alvin Plantinga's Solution to the Problem of Evil." The discussion canvasses Ykema's main points of critique and motivation for writing his paper, such as the problem of evil casting doubt on any God being worthy of worship (since you would have to give up at least one of God's perfect power, knowledge, or goodness in light of the amount and kinds of suffering in the world). The discussion then turns to whether psychology is really a science, or whether it's closer to mathematics, given how heavily psychology relies on statistics, and given that the uniqueness of each individual makes it difficult, if not impossible, to replicate experiments across individuals. Ykema goes on to discuss what he's been doing since he got his philosophy degree before diving into what have been effective teaching styles in Ykema's experience. Check out this wide-ranging interview!

January 15, 2022

Added the twenty-sixth Freethinker Podcast YouTube interview with Jeana Jorgensen (2022) to the Freethinker Podcast page under Resources on the Secular Web. Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this 10-minute interview with Jeana Jorgensen, a lecturer at Butler University (Indiana) with degrees in folklore and gender studies. In this interview their discussion ranges from her goal […]

Interview with Jeana Jorgensen

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this 10-minute interview with Jeana Jorgensen, a lecturer at Butler University (Indiana) with degrees in folklore and gender studies. In this interview their discussion ranges from her goal to make intellectual histories more accessible to everyone (in her new book Folklore 101: An Accessible Introduction to Folklore Studies, for example), her accessible and inclusive teaching style, her blogging about Middle Eastern dance (including belly dancing), current events, and politics at Patheos on the Foxy Folklorist blog since 2017, her future collaborative pieces forthcoming at OnlySky, cooking, and her work on gender, sexuality, sexual education, folklore, fairy tales, and urban legends more generally. Check out this eclectic interview!

January 14, 2022

Added the twenty-fifth Freethinker Podcast YouTube interview with Josephine Jacob (2022) to the Freethinker Podcast page under Resources on the Secular Web. Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this quick interview with Josephine Jacob, a biochemistry and molecular biology major and president of the Secular Student Alliance chapter at Trinity University in Texas. Their discussion spans […]

Interview with Josephine Jacob

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this quick interview with Josephine Jacob, a biochemistry and molecular biology major and president of the Secular Student Alliance chapter at Trinity University in Texas. Their discussion spans her role on the board of directors of the Secular Student Alliance, the goals, projects, and charitable activities of the Trinity University SSA chapter, and the performance of the Trinity University choir. She even mentions how much she enjoyed reading Edouard’s 2020 Secular Web paper "God is Either the Efficient or Final Cause of Evil.” Check it out!

January 8, 2022

Added the twenty-fourth Freethinker Podcast YouTube interview with Darren M. Slade (2022) to the Freethinker Podcast page under Resources on the Secular Web. Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this half-hour interview with Darren M. Slade, a theological historian, systematician, and critical rationalist philosopher who serves as president of the Global Center for Religious Research (GCRR) […]

Interview with Darren M. Slade

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this half-hour interview with Darren M. Slade, a theological historian, systematician, and critical rationalist philosopher who serves as president of the Global Center for Religious Research (GCRR) and serves as editor of its flagship publication, SHERM Journal. Slade summarizes GCRR's groundbreaking work in the first and largest sociological study of the causes, manifestation, and treatment of religious trauma as a real mental health condition before turning to whether the supposed early witnesses to Christianity, like Pappias or Polycarp, actually knew any of Jesus' apostles, or whether claims of a lineage back to Jesus were more of a political means to establish the authority of the early Church. The discussion then turns to whether 2 Peter (and similar scriptures) were ad hoc scriptures written to preserve the second-century Church when the dominant theologies of the time began to fall into doubt (because John failed to live to see the Second Coming of Christ in his lifetime, for example), and which New Testament books should be in the official Church cannon (or whether the question itself is misguided).

The Threat of the Religious Right-Wing Majority on the Supreme Court

Tune in to Edouard Tahmizian’s two-hour-long interview with atheist debater Edward Tabash, a constitutional lawyer in Los Angeles who chairs the board of directors of the Center for Inquiry and has amicus briefs with the US Supreme Court and the California Supreme Court to preserve the separation of church and state. Tabash lays out how the new religious right-wing majority on the US Supreme Court (and other right-wing judges) are threatening government neutrality on matters of religion. The dangers posed to atheists' legal rights (such as religious organizations gaining the right to endorse candidates for public office while secular ones cannot) are compounded by those that flow from giving special legal privileges to religious special interests and no one else (such as churches being exempt from COVID restrictions placed upon all other establishments, or being able to bar same-sex couples from becoming foster parents who would otherwise be protected by antidiscrimination laws). What is particularly under threat today is the long-established principle that no branch of government can favor religion over irreligion, or aid all religions against nonbelievers, but there is also no shortage of attempts to allow religious individuals (and no others) to jeopardize the health and safety of the public or prevent government from meeting its obligations. In the second half of the hour the discussion turns to religious opposition to abortion rights, which if fully successful would represent the first time in history that the US Supreme Court has retracted a constitutional right that it had once granted.

January 4, 2022

Added the twenty-second Freethinker Podcast YouTube interview with Robert M. Price (2022) to the Freethinker Podcast page under Resources on the Secular Web. Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this hour-long interview with esteemed biblical scholar Robert M. Price as they discuss Price’s early realization that the amount of effort needed to fill in the gaps […]

Interview with Robert M. Price

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this hour-long interview with esteemed biblical scholar Robert M. Price as they discuss Price's early realization that the amount of effort needed to fill in the gaps between the ancient concerns of the biblical writers and the unaddressed modern concerns of today would not be expected of a straightforward revelation from God. Their discussion goes on to consider how the Haggadic midrash, a way to interpret the Old Testament used in the parables attributed to Jesus, undermines the historicity of any Gospel story (as virtually all of them just repurpose an Old Testament story), before finally turning to the ahistoricity of the New Testament characterization of Paul (even if the literary Paul had been inspired by the historical person Simon Magus), the case for Jesus mythicism and the absence of contemporaneous references to Jesus, the implausibility of the penal substitutionary model of atonement, and much more. Check out this fascinating interview with a biblical scholar who became a legend himself!

Interview with Jonathan M. S. Pearce

Tune in to host Edouard Tahmizian's nearly hour-long interview with Jonathan M. S. Pearce, a founding member of the Tippling Philosophers, a friendly group of believers and nonbelievers who regularly meet over a pint of ale to discuss life's big questions. Pearce is the author of several books and a speaker on philosophy, religion, and skepticism best known for his old popular blog A Tippling Philosopher. In this interview, Pearce outlines how William Lane Craig's rendition of the kalam cosmological argument presupposes an implausible Platonism about abstract objects and a particular notion of causation that, if rejected, deflates the force of the argument. The interlocuters also canvass how the only remaining phenomena challenging naturalism are the beginning of the universe and consciousness, whether Jesus would have ever been buried in a tomb at all, why there are contradictions between the Gospels on basic details about the empty tomb story, the flaws in Mike Licona's argument that Paul wouldn't have hallucinated a risen Jesus if he had then seen Jesus as an enemy, the rationality of belief in miracles, the role of motivated reasoning in apologetic arguments, much more! Check out this fascinating interview with a prolific author on the Gospels as more propaganda than history.

December 31, 2021

Added Inference to the Best Explanation and Rejecting the Resurrection (2021) by David Kyle Johnson to the Argument from Miracles, Resurrection, and Christian Apologetics and Apologists pages in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library. Christian apologists, like Willian Lane Craig and Stephen T. Davis, argue that belief in Jesus’ resurrection is reasonable […]

Inference to the Best Explanation and Rejecting the Resurrection

Christian apologists, like Willian Lane Craig and Stephen T. Davis, argue that belief in Jesus' resurrection is reasonable because it provides the best explanation of the available evidence. In this article, David Kyle Johnson refutes that thesis by laying out how the logic of inference to the best explanation (IBE) operates and what good explanations must be and do by definition, and then applying IBE to the issue at hand. Multiple explanations—including the resurrection hypothesis, the lie hypothesis, the coma hypothesis, the imposter hypothesis, and the legend hypothesis—will be considered. While Johnson does not attempt to rank them all from worst to best, he reveals how and why the legend hypothesis is unquestionably the best explanation, while the resurrection hypothesis is undeniably the worst. Consequently, not only is Craig and Davis' conclusion mistaken, but belief in the literal resurrection of Jesus is irrational. In presenting this argument, Johnson does intent to break new ground, as Robert Cavin and Carlos Colombetti have already presented a Bayesian refutation of Craig and Davis' arguments. But he does take himself to be presenting an argument that the average person (and philosopher) can follow. The average person (and philosopher) should be able to clearly understand how and why the hypothesis "God supernaturally raised Jesus from the dead" fails utterly as an explanation of the evidence that Christian apologist cite for Jesus' resurrection.

December 27, 2021

Added the twentieth Freethinker Podcast YouTube interview with Michael J. Alter (2021) to the Freethinker Podcast page under Resources on the Secular Web. Check out Edouard Tahmizian’s interview with Michael J. Alter, author of What is the Purpose of Creation? (1991), The Resurrection: A Critical Inquiry (2015), and A Thematic Access-Oriented Bibliography of Jesus’s Resurrection […]