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From 9/11 to the continuing invasion and occupation of Iraq to the saber rattling of a possible war against Iran, Americans have been inundated by the so-called “war on terror;” and at least as some see it, the war against Fundamentalist Islam. On the Right, we hear of “Islamo-fascism” and are warned that if we don’t stifle the great evil of Islamic terrorism, we are heading for another world war. In liberal circles, while the rhetoric is different, we are still told that the U.S. will hunt down terrorists wherever they may be, and that militaristic – even nuclear – measures against the Middle East are very much “on the table.”

In contrast, the Left has recognized that the ‘war on terror’ is really a pseudo-war against that which the U.S. itself helped create, and that our actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, and perhaps soon in Iran – which are making the world less safe regarding terrorist actions – are about controlling the precious, if deadly, energy resource of oil, and thus controlling the market so as to benefit the rich power elite.
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In God and The State, anarchist Mikkail Bakunin asserts that people under the power of religion and superstition suffer not so much from “an aberration of mind as a deep discontent at Heart.”

Does popular humanist outreach focus too much on intellectual Puritanism at the expense of emotional transcendence? How can humanism help people address the emotional and psychological stress of living in a society fraught with war, aggressive advertising, and cultural flux? Is there room for ecstasy in humanism?

This week, guest host Michael O’Neil will explore these questions and more!

Does the awe and wonder generated by our scientific endeavors provide a sufficient alternative for the role which religion plays in people’s lives?Our guest this Sunday will be Dr. Carolyn Porco, Senior Research Scientist at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and Director of the Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations. The Cassini space mission has enabled us to see images of Saturn and it’s moons which are breath taking and elevates the question of the possible existence of extraterrestrial life to new heights.

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